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Unleash Your Inner Chef: Chinese Prawn Cake Recipe Made Simple

If you're looking for a delicious and easy appetizer to impress your family and friends, look no further than the Chinese prawn cake recipe. These crispy and flavourful cakes are made with fresh prawns and a few essential ingredients, and are perfect for any seafood lover.

A chef mixes prawn, cornstarch, and seasoning in a bowl. They form the mixture into small cakes and fry them in a hot pan

To make Chinese prawn cakes, you'll need to gather a few essential ingredients such as fresh prawns, corn starch, garlic powder, and white pepper. Once you have everything you need, it's time to start preparing your prawns. You'll need to remove the shells and devein them, before smashing the meat into a paste using a chopper or mallet. From there, it's just a matter of mixing the prawn paste with the other ingredients and shaping it into small cakes.

When it comes to cooking your Chinese prawn cakes, you have a few options. You can fry them in hot oil until they're crispy and golden brown, or you can bake them in the oven for a healthier alternative. No matter how you choose to cook them, these prawn cakes are sure to be a hit with your family and friends.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese prawn cakes are an easy and delicious appetizer that can impress your guests.
  • Essential ingredients for making Chinese prawn cakes include fresh prawns, corn starch, garlic powder, and white pepper.
  • Chinese prawn cakes can be fried or baked to achieve a crispy and golden brown texture.

Essential Ingredients

A wok sizzles with prawns, garlic, and ginger. A mixing bowl holds chopped water chestnuts, scallions, and cilantro. Soy sauce and cornstarch sit nearby

When it comes to making Chinese prawn cakes, there are a few essential ingredients that you'll need to have on hand. These include:

Choosing the Right Shrimp

The most important ingredient in Chinese prawn cakes is, of course, the shrimp. It's important to choose fresh, high-quality shrimp that are peeled and deveined. You can either buy pre-peeled shrimp or peel them yourself. Look for shrimp that are firm and have a slightly sweet smell. If you're using frozen shrimp, make sure to thaw them completely before using.

Seasonings and Flavours

To give your Chinese prawn cakes their signature flavour, you'll need a few key seasonings and flavours. These include ginger, garlic powder, green onion, salt, and pepper. You can also add additional seasonings and flavours to suit your taste, such as soy sauce, sesame oil, or chilli flakes.

Binding Agents

In order to hold the prawn cakes together, you'll need a binding agent. The most common binding agents used in Chinese prawn cakes are egg and panko breadcrumbs. The egg helps to bind the ingredients together, while the panko breadcrumbs add a crispy texture to the outside of the cakes.

The key to making delicious Chinese prawn cakes is to use fresh, high-quality ingredients and to balance the flavours and seasonings to suit your taste. With the right ingredients and a little bit of practice, you'll be able to create mouth-watering prawn cakes that are sure to impress.

Preparation Techniques

Shrimp being minced, mixed with seasonings, and formed into patties before being pan-fried until golden brown

Cleaning and Prepping Shrimp

To begin making Chinese prawn cakes, you will need to prepare the shrimp. Start by cleaning and deveining the shrimp. Remove the shells and tails, and rinse them under cold water. Pat them dry with a paper towel. Once the shrimp are prepped, you can either chop them finely with a knife or pulse them in a food processor until they form a sticky paste.

Forming the Patties

Once the shrimp are prepped, it's time to form the patties. Take a small amount of the shrimp mixture and form it into a patty shape with your hands. It's important to make sure the patties are not too thick, as they may not cook evenly. You can also use a cookie cutter to create uniform shapes.

Creating the Perfect Texture

To create the perfect texture for your prawn cakes, you can add additional ingredients to the shrimp mixture. For example, you can mix in cornstarch to help bind the patties together. You can also add finely chopped vegetables such as spring onions or water chestnuts for crunch. Once the patties are formed, you can either pan-fry or deep-fry them until they are golden brown and crispy.

Remember, the key to making delicious Chinese prawn cakes is to use fresh, high-quality shrimp and to ensure that the patties are cooked evenly. With these preparation techniques, you'll be able to create prawn cakes that are both crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Cooking Instructions

Prawns and seasoning mixed in a bowl. Flour being added. Mixture being shaped into patties and fried in a pan

To cook your Chinese prawn cakes, you have two options: pan frying or oven baking. Both methods will result in delicious prawn cakes, so choose the one that suits you best.

Pan Frying to Golden Brown

To pan fry your prawn cakes, heat some cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add your prawn cakes to the pan. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan, as this will lower the temperature of the oil and prevent your cakes from turning golden brown.

Cook your prawn cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown. Once they are cooked, remove them from the pan and place them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

Oven Baking Alternative

If you prefer a healthier alternative to pan frying, you can also bake your prawn cakes in the oven. Preheat your oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Brush your prawn cakes with a little oil on both sides, then place them on the baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they are golden brown and cooked through.

Whether you choose to pan fry or bake your prawn cakes, they will make a delicious addition to any meal. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

A plate of golden-brown Chinese prawn cakes with a side of fresh, vibrant vegetables and a small dish of tangy dipping sauce


Chinese prawn cakes are delicious on their own, but you can also serve them with a variety of accompaniments to enhance their flavour. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Sweet chilli sauce: This sauce is a classic accompaniment to Chinese prawn cakes. It's sweet, tangy and slightly spicy, which complements the flavour of the prawns perfectly.
  • Sesame oil: Drizzle some sesame oil over the prawn cakes just before serving. It will add a nutty flavour and aroma to the dish.
  • Cilantro: Garnish the prawn cakes with some chopped cilantro. It will add a fresh, herbaceous note to the dish.
  • Lemon wedges: Serve some lemon wedges on the side. Squeezing some lemon juice over the prawn cakes will give them a zesty kick.

Presentation Tips

Presentation is key when it comes to appetizers. Here are a few tips to make your Chinese prawn cakes look as good as they taste:

  • Garnish: Garnish the prawn cakes with some chopped cilantro or a sprinkle of sesame seeds. It will add a pop of colour and make the dish look more appetizing.
  • Plating: Use a white plate to serve the prawn cakes. The white background will make the colourful dish stand out.
  • Arrangement: Arrange the prawn cakes in a circular pattern on the plate. It will make the dish look more visually appealing.
  • Dipping sauce: Serve the sweet chilli sauce in a small bowl on the side. It will make it easier for your guests to dip the prawn cakes and will prevent them from getting soggy.

With these accompaniments and presentation tips, your Chinese prawn cakes will be a hit at your next party or gathering.

Nutritional Information

A colorful array of fresh ingredients, including prawns, vegetables, and seasonings, arranged on a clean kitchen countertop

If you're watching your calorie intake, you'll be pleased to know that Chinese prawn cakes are relatively low in calories. A single cake contains around 158kcals. However, it's important to note that this doesn't include any dipping sauces or sides you may choose to serve with your prawn cakes.

When it comes to macronutrients, prawn cakes are a good source of protein and low in carbohydrates. A single cake contains around 6.5g of protein and 8.1g of carbohydrates. If you're looking to increase your protein intake, adding a few prawn cakes to your meal could be a good way to do so.

In terms of fat content, prawn cakes are relatively low in saturated fat, with each cake containing around 0.9g. However, it's worth noting that they do contain some fat, with each cake containing around 11g of fat in total. If you're watching your fat intake, it's important to keep this in mind.

If you're concerned about your sodium intake, it's worth noting that prawn cakes do contain some salt. A single cake contains around 0.8g of salt. While this may not seem like much, it's important to be mindful of your salt intake, especially if you have high blood pressure.

Overall, Chinese prawn cakes can be a tasty and relatively healthy addition to your diet. While they do contain some fat and salt, they're also a good source of protein and relatively low in calories. Just be mindful of your portion sizes and any dipping sauces or sides you choose to serve them with.

Frequently Asked Questions

A table with ingredients and utensils for making Chinese prawn cakes

What ingredients do I need for making prawn cakes?

To make Chinese prawn cakes, you will need prawns, cornflour, plain flour, egg, spring onions, ginger, garlic, salt, and white pepper. You can also add other ingredients such as carrots, celery, or water chestnuts for extra crunch and flavour. Make sure to use fresh prawns for the best results.

How do I get my prawn cakes to be extra crispy?

To get your prawn cakes extra crispy, you can use a combination of cornflour and plain flour in the batter. You can also deep-fry the prawn cakes in hot oil until they are golden brown and crispy. Another tip is to let the prawn cakes rest for a few minutes after frying to allow the excess oil to drain.

Can you suggest a simple method for preparing shrimp cakes at home?

Yes, a simple method for preparing shrimp cakes at home is to mix the prawns with cornflour, plain flour, egg, and seasoning, and then deep-fry them until golden brown. You can also add chopped vegetables such as spring onions, carrots, and celery for added flavour and texture.

What's the difference between Chinese prawn cakes and Japanese shrimp cakes?

Chinese prawn cakes are typically made with prawns, cornflour, plain flour, and seasoning, while Japanese shrimp cakes, or Ebi Fry, are made with breaded and deep-fried shrimp. Chinese prawn cakes are usually served as a snack or appetizer, while Ebi Fry is often served as a main course.

How many calories are typically in a homemade prawn cake?

The number of calories in a homemade prawn cake depends on the ingredients used and the size of the cake. However, a typical prawn cake contains around 100-150 calories per cake.

Are there any good substitutes for prawns in a shrimp cake recipe?

Yes, you can use other types of seafood such as crab meat or lobster meat as a substitute for prawns in a shrimp cake recipe. You can also use vegetables such as grated carrots or zucchini for a vegetarian option.