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In a small bowl, combine the sugar and fish sauce and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Divide the fish sauce mixture into 2 halves, and use 1/2 of the mixture to marinate the prawns for 10 minutes.
Wipe the frying pan clean, return the pan to medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the garlic and shallots; fry for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the coconut milk and reserved fish sauce mixture, and stir.