Shrimp chips or prawn crackers are a delicious gluten-free snack that is loved by many due to their crispy texture and natural seafood sweetness. In this article, you will learn about the background of this delicious Asian snack, its different varieties, and how to prepare it perfectly at home.
From the As to the Zs of this tasty treat, here is our guide to everything you need to know about shrimp chips.
What is a shrimp chip made of?
Traditionally, Chinese prawn crackers are made of a mixture of dried shrimp and tapioca flour. The mixture is ground to a fine powder, then mixed with water to create dough. Next, it is pressed into thin sheets, cut into individual crackers, and then dried.
These dried crackers are packaged and sold, to be deep-fried by the individual consumers. Most brands of shrimp chips also contain seasonings such as MSG and black and white pepper. They are also often dyed in various exotic colours, such as purple and hot pink. This is in order to appear more attractive to consumers.
Prawn crackers probably originated in Sumatra, Indonesia in the late 16th century and have since remained a popular, traditional snack in Southeast Asia. They can be eaten at any time of day. The most usual times to consume them are as a teatime snack in the evening and late morning.
With the commercialization of many traditional Asian snacks, shrimp chips are more widely available. Many companies sell them in plastic packaging, as a substitute for potato chips.
Because of their relatively healthier nature, they are extremely popular in Asian convenience stores. Even Western consumers can enjoy this snack as it is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than potato chips.
Additionally, the distinctly Asian flavour profile provides an element of novelty to the usual banality of packaged snacks. This repackaging of old favourite dishes has also been a huge part of the culinary renaissance of Asia, boosting the popularity of this cuisine worldwide.
There are various different varieties of shrimp chips. Some of the most prominent and widely available ones are listed below.
In case you want to know where to buy these varieties, check your local Asian grocery market. In some cases, as specified below, they can be bought online.
Chinese Prawn Crackers
These are usually dyed solid colours and contain cornstarch as a binder and thickener. This means that this Chinese snack tastes more like noodles than potato chips.
These shrimp chips are sold uncooked. Thus, they store well and thus can be bought online and shipped overseas.
This light snack is also particularly a crowd-pleaser in social gatherings in Asia. Not only for their tastiness but also cause they usually come in a variety of colours such as pink, yellow, green and white!
One serving is 81 calories when cooked without fat. It also has 21 grams of carbohydrates. You can find them on Amazon to be delivered to your home.
Uncooked Prawn Crackers 8 oz, (Pack of 2)
Japanese Shrimp Chips
Similar to many Japanese treats like mochi, the Japanese style of prawn crackers uses rice flour or puffed rice as a binding agent. This means its texture is generally less hard and its taste is less strong than the Chinese variety.
One serving is 130 calories, with 5 grams of fat, 20g of carbohydrates, and no sugar. So, if you prefer rice to noodles, or if you want to buy precooked shrimp chips, try this variety.
A popular Japanese brand that we highly recommend is Calbee. You can buy them online here.
Calbee Shrimp Chips Original, 4 oz (Pack of 3)
Korean Shrimp Crackers
These crackers contain wheat flour and soy sauce to add an extra umami tang. Moreover, if you prefer crisp, bready crackers, these are for you.
One serving contains 140 calories, with 5 grams of fat, 18g of carbohydrates, and 6 grams of sugar.
Nongshim is a popular one in Korea which we highly recommend you try. You can order online for it to be delivered to your home.
Nongshim Shrimp Cracker, 5.28 oz (Pack of 2)
Thai Prawn Cracker
These shrimp chips contain sweet Thai chilli and traditional tapioca flour. Each serving is a mere 108 calories when cooked without fat, with 22 grams of carbohydrates.
You should decide which preparation is right for you based on your flavour and textural preferences as well as your nutrition requirements.
Before we teach you how to use dried crackers to make your very own shrimp chips at home, here are some tips on how to cook them.
- Use a neutral flavoured oil, such as grapeseed, vegetable, or canola.
- In case you don’t want to incorporate fat, feel free to use a microwave, oven, or air fryer. However, we found that deep frying gave the best results so we will not be covering these methods in this recipe.
- The oil used to deep-fry these dishes can be reused for many other purposes. Let it cool and then strain it into a storage container for later.
- Consider investing in an oil splatter guard if you deep-fry often. Once you get this, your frying-in-the-kitchen experience will no longer be a frightful one! One can be ordered here;
Gorilla Grip Oil Splatter Guard, Helps Shield Grease and Oil Splashes
Shrimp Chips | Chinese Prawn Crackers
- 1 pack shrimp chips
- 2 cups neutral-flavoured oil
- Heat up the oil in a pot or wok up to 165 degrees Celsius or 330 degrees Fahrenheit. If you do not have a suitable thermometer, wait for 5 to 6 minutes until the oil is hot enough.
- Carefully add in and fry 8 to 10 prawn crackers at a time, ensuring that each piece can completely soak and submerge into the hot oil. This is to make sure that each piece is cooked thoroughly and evenly.
- After they expand and float to the top of the pot, remove them with a metal spider. Drain them on a plate lined with paper towels to remove any excess oil. Repeat step 2 and 3 until the whole pack of prawn crackers has been cooked. Serve while hot.
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.
In addition, you can also refer to 101barbie Rona's minikitchen’s video on how she prepared her own hand-made Asian treat in her kitchen.
How long do shrimp chips last?
Uncooked, the sealed package can last for years. However, we note that the opened package of uncooked crackers can last for up to a year. This is if it is kept away from air, moisture, and sunlight.
Once fried, the chips should be ideally consumed within 2 hours. That is when the snack retains most of its crispiness and sweetness.
If you would like to keep the fried crackers for longer, then we recommend storing them in a vacuum-sealed container. That should keep its texture crispy for the next one or two days.
In this article, we told you everything a discerning foodie needs to know about prawn crackers. Shrimp chips are an easily available and customizable addition to anyone’s snack arsenal.
If you are looking to expand your culinary horizons without expanding the strain on your wallet, this article should have helped you. Even those just looking for a new easy, favourite crowd-pleasing party dish can learn something from the information provided in this article.
Here’s to many more culinary journeys. Bon appetit!