Prawn toast is a Cantonese tea-time favourite. A crispy snack that appears often at most Chinese families’ mealtimes. This Chinese dish is easy to cook and fun to eat.
In this article, we’ll find out more about the dish and use a traditional recipe to cook it. While this dish usually has sesame seeds, we’ll find out how to cook it without sesame seeds as well as using cooked prawns.
What is it?
Prawn toast is a deep-fried Hongkong-Cantonese dim sum dish. Made from small triangles of bread, the Cantonese then buttered it with a juicy prawn filling before throwing it into the frying pan to sizzle to golden brown perfection.
We sometimes see it coated with sesame seeds and served with sweet chilli sauce. A commonly ordered takeaway dish, shrimp toast is an awesome appetizer for parties, or just a light snack for movie nights.
Prawn toast is considered a unique Hong Kong origin dish. It traces its origins to the Cantonese people, who were fond of using prawn paste in their cooking.
The name itself suggests it is a fusion dish, combining prawn paste and toast. The paste is commonly used in Hong Kong cuisine, and bread is, of course, introduced by the West.
The first known appearance of this tasty dish is in Guangdong, China over 100 years ago. As the Chinese migrated to other Asian countries, prawn toast also travelled with them. The Japanese know the dish as ‘hatoshi’ (ハトシ) and they serve it in Chinese restaurants. The Thais serve a version of it known as ‘krupuk’ which has a close resemblance to Chinese prawn crackers.
Over time, Chinese chefs cooked up a storm in the West. Just like how dishes such as sweet and sour chicken balls and salt and pepper chicken wings evolved with creative experimentations over time, this seafood snack had the same experience.
More gradual tweaks to this shellfish dish rendered variations like sesame shrimp toast, which became a popular delight in Australia and the United Kingdom.
One piece of sesame prawn toast is 327 calories. It has 22.9g of carbohydrates, 11g of protein, and 22g of fat.
In this section, we’ll find out what are ingredients you need for making shrimp toast.
First, the bread matters. Try to purchase high-quality, thick, and dense white bread.
It will not absorb much oil during the deep-frying so the dish does not become an oily soggy mess. White bread also tastes mild, so the taste of flour will not overpower the final product.
Second, buy raw shrimps with the shells still on. It adds texture and flavour to the snack, compared to unshelled types. It might be tempting to buy unshelled ones to make sesame prawn toast but they usually turn out less juicy.
Seasoning and sauce ingredients
Other ingredients that should be in your kitchen already or else you can always find them in any Asian supermarket:
- Light soy sauce
- Fresh spring onions
- Sesame seeds.
Ginger reduces the fishiness of the prawn, so it is recommended to get some. Light soy sauce is the only seasoning you need for the prawn toast recipe. If you dislike sesame seeds, you can use panko bread crumbs for a nice sharp bite.
Before you fry up a storm, read these cooking tips first.
- When you have shelled your shrimps, make sure they are utterly dry before mincing them in the blender. Too much moisture softens the toast later. If you’re using frozen shrimps, then defrost overnight and pat it dry.
- As you get ready to use the bread, make sure it is dry too. That way, the prawn toast does not overcook when you are frying, and the bread does not soak up oil before it is ready.
- If you’re adding sesame seeds, as a good habit be sure to discard leftover sesame seeds. Because they are so tiny, it’s possible to mix them with the raw shrimps. This can cause food poisoning.
- While frying, the prawn meat, and sesame seeds go directly into the oil without any batter.
- If you have thoroughly dried the bread, then you do not need to turn it over so often. To check if the prawn filling is cooked, open one. If there are no translucent bits inside, then the frying time is adequate.
- Once cooked, the dish is best enjoyed with sweet chilli sauce or jam.
- You can also use an oven for baking prawn toast. It turns out less oily but less crispy. With an oven, use a temperature of 210°C (approximately 410°F), with a fan-forced setting. Then, bake for about 10 minutes.
With Cooked Prawns
Let’s find out how to stuff your toast with a mixture of cooked shrimps, in this summarised prawn toast recipe with cooked prawns. While raw ones are better, sometimes we just like to save time by buying cooked shrimp.
While we recommend raw shrimps as it tastes better, fresh shrimps can get contaminated once exposed to air and so require more efficient handling. You won’t have to worry about that if you get a packet of cooked prawns.
- If you use frosted cooked shrimps, defrost them for a night and pat them dry then peel them.
- In a food processor bowl, puree the shrimps, spring onion, ginger, salt, and some white pepper to taste.
- If you prefer more bite, you can also add some cornflour.
- Mix it until a thick paste is formed.
- Then spread this puree over the slices and press spoonfuls of sesame seeds onto it.
Without sesame seeds
While most recipes recommend coating the bread with sesame seeds, it is a preference. To enjoy it without sesame seeds and still get that crispy, nutty layer, you can be creative and use other ingredients.
One recommended prawn toast recipe without sesame seeds is to use panko bread crumbs to turn the toast nice and crispy. You can also be creative and try maple syrup, honey, or even mayonnaise.
Some people also serve it with fresh herb salad. The juiciness of the crispy seafood snack with the fresh, clean taste of salad is a refreshing combination, much like prawn cocktails, but with an Asian twist.
Frozen Prawn Toast
When life gets busy, you just want to cook up a batch of frozen shrimp toast for later. You can definitely do that after preparing the ingredients.
Freeze the bread first on a flat tray. Then, prepare the prawn mixture 3-4 hours beforehand, cover, and refrigerate it. You can spread the prawn mixture later and then return it to the freezer if you are cooking it later.
Do not leave the mixture on the bread too long or it will turn soggy. Transfer to an airtight container later.
However, keep in mind that if you bought frozen prawns, it is better not to refreeze them. Buy fresh prawns if you intend to keep the prawn toasts for cooking later. Once ready to cook, defrost it fully overnight in the refrigerator.
You can also fry first, then, store them for consumption later. If so, after they are cooked, quickly cool and cover them before placing them in the refrigerator in a sealed container. This must be within 30-60 minutes. Reheat frozen dishes in the oven uncovered for 7-8 minutes until piping hot.
Sesame Prawn Toast Recipe | Chinese Takeaway
- 200 g raw prawns
- 1 tsp ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pc egg white
- 2 pc scallions, chopped
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 pcs thick-sliced white bread
- 6 tbsp sesame seeds
- vegetable oil for frying
- sweet chilli sauce
- Combine the raw prawns, ginger, garlic, egg white, scallions, light soy sauce, salt, and white pepper in a mini food processor. Blend until it becomes a paste.
- Slice the white bread with 2 straight cuts across each piece from corner to corner for 12 triangles of bread. Spread the above paste evenly across one side of each prawn toast triangle.
- Place the sesame seeds onto a plate. Using the side of the triangles with the paste, gently dip until you get a nice even covering of seeds on one side. Then heat your wok. Add oil. Place the first triangle paste-side into the oil. If it sizzles, your wok is ready.
- Add the triangles into the oil, paste side down, and cook. Turn as needed until the bread is golden and the paste is well cooked. Line a plate with a kitchen roll and place the sesame prawn toast on it. Serve with the chilli jam dip while hot.
- Do note that the prawns used here are stripped of veins and shelled.
- Remember not to overcrowd the frying pan with the triangle toasts. Fry them in batches to ensure they come out crispy golden.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
Wondering how all the steps look like? Watch the following Youtube by Happy Hungry Hijabi who perfectly shows how to prepare this scrumptious dish from start to finish!
And we are done! Prawn toast is definitely an easy-to-cook snack for anyone who has some time and a frying pan.
If you’ve tried this crispy dish and loved it, why not follow us on Instagram @honestfoodtalks for more of such Asian inspired dishes?