Devein the prawns and marinate with the salt and sugar. Heat the oil over a medium flame in a wok and fry the prawns for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove a little of the oil remaining in the wok before adding the ground spice paste. Fry until fragrant, stirring continuously to prevent burning. Add the prawns, water, salt and sugar. Simmer until prawns are cooked and mixture is dry. Adjust seasonings to taste.
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