Annie Bell’s five-spiced prawn skewers with cucumber salad

Chinese five-spice is so intriguing, it immediately has you guessing ‘what’s that spice?’ Star anise, Sichuan peppers, fennel, cassia and cloves certainly make a delicious combination.

prawn skewers
Ellis Parrinder


2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp runny honey
1 tbsp rice or cider vinegar
1 tsp five-spice powder
300g raw shelled king prawns
Sesame oil, for grilling
Coarsely chopped coriander and finely sliced red chilli, to serve

2 tbsp rice or cider vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
1 tsp flaky sea salt
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 cucumbers, ends trimmed, halved lengthways and deseeded

  1. Make the marinade for the prawns by combining the soy, honey, vinegar and five-spice in a large bowl. Stir in the prawns until well coated. (The prawns can be prepared up to an hour in advance, in which case cover and chill.)
  2. Thread the prawns on to 4 skewers at least 25cm long so they sit flat in a row, and arrange these on a plate. Spoon over any excess marinade.
  3. For the salad, whisk the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Thinly slice the cucumber into half-moons and stir into the dressing, then transfer to a serving bowl.
  4. Drizzle the prawns with sesame oil on both sides and barbecue over hot coals for about 2 minutes each side until golden and sticky. Scatter with coriander and chilli, accompany with the cucumber salad.

Food styling: Myles Williamson. Styling: Max Robinson. Creative direction: Chloe Sharp