Prawn Toast (also known as Shrimp Toast) is a yummy Chinese dim sum dish. Asian flavours and prawns on toast, then coated in sesame seeds and deep fried to crisp perfection.
As a nod to Chinese New Year 2017 I decided to throw together one of my favourite entrees – Golden Sesame Prawn Toast.
I remember growing up, whenever mum and dad would take us to a Chinese restaurant, I always loved to order prawn toast. I still do. We’d always dine in, never take away. Take away was too far, which meant a cold dinner by the time we got it home. Not that we lived in the sticks, but the closest fast food or restaurant of any kind was a 15-20 minute drive.
There were some exceptions to the rule. On a Thursday night, mum would do the weekly grocery shopping and take us kids along. This was the one time we’d get real take away. I’d eat mine in the car on they way home while it was nice and hot, but Dad would patiently wait at home for his. I’m sure it must have been stone cold by then but he always seemed happy enough 🙂
Going out for Chinese was a special treat. Prawn toast has always been my favourite dish and whenever I go out for Chinese, it’s the first thing I look for on the menu (quickly followed by Crab and Sweet Corn Soup and Special Fried Rice).
For it’s relatively few ingredients, Prawn toast is big on flavour and it’s fairly simple to put together. The one step I never skip is letting the bread sit overnight to really dry out. I can’t remember where I learnt this. From a magazine years ago but I do not skips this step, ever! It makes for a really crispy base to your prawn toasts without having to fry the bottom of them. And there’s a good reason. This way the prawn meat doesn’t overcook and the bread doesn’t soak up lashings of oil before it’s ready, meaning it’s perfectly cooked and not greasy.
The topping is a mixture of prawn meat, garlic, ginger, spring onions, egg and soy sauce. That’s it! This lot is blended together until just a few chunks remain. You then top your dried out bread sticks with this mix and I always marvel at how it sits obediently on top and doesn’t fall off. Even when you roll the top in sesame seeds. Then you fry them and job done.
I always serve these with a store bought sweet chilli sauce, which complements them perfectly. I also love a good homemade, cucumber and chilli dipping sauce that I’ll share with you soon.
Any way, these are a delicious party food, Chinese New Year or not. Enjoy in large quantities 🙂
This Week Last Year
Sesame Prawn Toast (Shrimp Toast)
- 10 slices white bread
- 750 g prawns in the shell, raw (1.6lb)
- 2 large spring onions (scallions), roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons ginger, freshly grated
- 2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 egg
- ½ cup Sesame seeds
- 4 cups Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Sweet chilli sauce for dipping or see post for a homemade sauce
Day before serving
- Cut the crusts off of the bread, then cut each slice in half. Lay them flat on a wire rack and cover with a clean tea towel. Allow to sit overnight to dry out.
Day before OR on day of serving
- Shell and devein the prawns and roughly chop, then put them in a food processor.
- Add the onion, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and egg. Pulse until everything is chopped and combined well but still a few prawn chunks. Store in an airtight container if doing this the day before.
Day of serving
- Top each bread stick with a layer of prawn mixture, roughly 1cm thick. Level it out so that it cooks evenly.
- Roll the side with prawn mix in sesame seeds then place sesame seed side up on a wire rack.
- Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large saucepan to 180C. Add a thermometer on the side so that you can keep an eye on the temperature throughout. Line a baking tray with 2-3 layers of roughed up paper towel.
- Gently place 5-6 prawn toast pieces into the oil, sesame seed side down and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until nicely golden.
- Remove from the oil and place them (seed side down) on the paper towel while you cook the rest.
- Serve immediately with sweet chilli sauce for dipping
- Drying the bread in the oven: If you don't have time to do it overnight, cook it in a 160C / 320F / 140C fan forced oven for 10-15 minutes.
- This recipe can be halved easily: Everything halves pretty simply but instead of a whole egg, just use an egg white.
- Discard leftover sesame seeds.
- Test one: once you’ve cooked a batch, cut one open, straight through the centre, to make sure the prawn filling is opaque and there are no translucent parts anymore. This will give you a good indication of the cooking time you need with your particular setup.
- Don’t crowd the pan: When you add the toasts to the oil, it will immediately drop the temperature a little which can cause it to absorb more oil and cook more slowly. I find 4-5 in a regular dutch oven works well.
- Use a thermometer in the oil: this way you can keep it at a constant temperature.
- Dipping sauce: see the post for a great recipe for dipping sauce.
- Make ahead: You can make the prawn mixture ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours before spreading on the bread.
- Reheating: While best served fresh, you can reheat leftover for about 10 minutes at 180C / 350F / 160C in the oven.
- Freezing; They can be frozen and it's best done uncooked. See the post for the best method.
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