What are Prawn Crackers Made Of: Understanding the Ingredients

What are prawn crackers made of, you ask? Well, these little appetizers are commonly found on the menus of Chinese and Southeast Asian restaurants, and are a staple snack in many households. But what exactly goes into these crispy and addictively munchy crackers?

First of all, it’s important to note that despite the name, prawn crackers are not solely made of prawns. In fact, they are often made with a combination of starch, prawn-flavored essence, and water. The starch, which can be derived from various sources such as tapioca, potato, or corn, is mixed with water to form a sticky dough. This dough is then flattened and cut into the thin squares or rounds that we are all familiar with.

But where do the prawns come in, you ask? Well, the prawn-flavored essence is added to the dough to give it that signature taste. This essence is typically made by boiling prawn heads and shells, then condensing and reducing the resulting liquid until a thick paste is formed. The paste is then added to the dough mixture and mixed in thoroughly. The dough is then left to dry in the sun, where it turns into those crunchy, crackly crackers we all love to snack on.

Ingredients used in making prawn crackers

What are prawn crackers made of? This beloved snack, also known as shrimp chips, shrimp crackers, or krupuk udang in Indonesian, is a popular treat in many Asian countries. As the name suggests, prawn crackers are predominantly made from prawns (shrimp), but what else goes into making this crunchy delight? Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients.

  • Whole shrimp or prawns – The key ingredient of prawn crackers is fresh or dried shrimp or prawns. The prawns are usually boiled, pureed, and mixed with tapioca starch to create a paste.
  • Tapioca starch – Tapioca starch is also known as cassava flour. It is a fine powder made by extracting starch from the roots of the cassava plant. Tapioca starch holds the prawn paste together and gives the crackers their crispy texture once fried.
  • Salt – A small amount of salt is usually added to the prawn paste mixture to enhance the flavor of the crackers.
  • Sugar – Sugar is also added to the prawn batter to add a hint of sweetness to the crackers.
  • Garlic or onion powder – Some manufacturers add garlic or onion powder to the prawn paste mixture to give the crackers a subtle aroma.
  • Water – Water is used to make the prawn paste into a dough-like consistency that can be shaped into crackers.

Once the ingredients are mixed, the prawn paste is rolled out and cut into small circles or squares. The crackers are then deep-fried in hot oil until they puff up and turn golden brown. The crackers are usually served as a snack or as a side dish to noodle or rice dishes.

The History and Origin of Prawn Crackers

Prawn crackers, also known as prawn chips, are a popular snack in many Asian countries and have gained popularity worldwide in recent years. These crispy, tasty crackers are made from a mixture of ingredients, with prawn being the main component, and are deep-fried to give them their characteristic texture. However, the origin of prawn crackers is not clear, and their history is shrouded in mystery.

One theory suggests that prawn crackers were first invented in Indonesia, where they are known as krupuk udang. According to this theory, the crackers were created by a Chinese merchant who was living in Indonesia in the early 20th century. He was looking for a way to preserve prawns that were abundant in the region and came up with the idea of drying them and then frying them to create a crispy snack. Another theory is that prawn crackers were first invented in China and then brought to Indonesia.

The Ingredients of Prawn Crackers

  • Prawn: The main ingredient in prawn crackers is prawn, which is blended into a paste and then mixed with other ingredients to form a dough.
  • Starch: Starch is added to the prawn paste to help bind the ingredients together. Tapioca starch is commonly used, but cornstarch and potato starch can also be used.
  • Salt: Salt is added to enhance the flavor of the crackers.
  • Sugar: Some recipes call for sugar to be added to the dough to balance out the savory flavor of the prawns.
  • Water: Water is added to the dough to achieve the right consistency.
  • Oil: Vegetable oil is used for deep frying the dough.

The Production Process of Prawn Crackers

The production process of prawn crackers involves several steps. Firstly, prawns are cleaned, processed, and made into a paste. Then the starch, salt, and sugar are added to the paste. Water is gradually added to the mixture, and the dough is kneaded until it becomes elastic. The dough is then rolled out into thin sheets and left to dry in the sun, or in a dehydrator. Once the sheets have dried, they are cut into small pieces and deep-fried in hot oil until crispy and golden brown. The crackers are then drained on paper towels to remove any excess oil and served.

The Nutritional Value of Prawn Crackers

While prawn crackers are delicious, they are not considered a healthy snack since they are high in calories, fat, and sodium. A serving of prawn crackers contains around 150 calories and 8 grams of fat. They are also high in sodium, with a serving of prawn crackers containing around 500mg of sodium, more than 20% of the recommended daily intake of sodium. Additionally, prawn crackers are low in fiber and protein, making them an unhealthy snack choice.

Nutrient Amount per Serving (100g)
Calories 545
Total fat 32.5g
Saturated fat 8.2g
Sodium 205mg
Carbohydrates 56.4g
Fiber 0.5g
Protein 4.2g

In conclusion, prawn crackers have a fascinating history and are a popular snack that can be enjoyed in several countries. Although they are high in calories and sodium, they remain a beloved snack for many, and their crispy, savory flavor is hard to resist.

The Nutritional Value of Prawn Crackers

Prawn crackers are a popular snack made from a mixture of prawn meat, starch, and water that is then fried until crispy. They are commonly found in Asian cuisine, but their popularity has spread to other parts of the world too. While prawn crackers may be delicious, they are not the most nutritious snack option available. Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional value of prawn crackers.

  • Calories: Prawn crackers are high in calories, with one serving (about 30 grams or 10 crackers) containing approximately 160 calories.
  • Carbohydrates: Prawn crackers are also high in carbohydrates, with one serving containing around 20 grams of carbs.
  • Fat: Prawn crackers are relatively low in fat, with one serving containing about 8 grams of fat, of which only 1 gram is saturated fat.

Despite being low in fat, prawn crackers are not the healthiest snack option due to their high calorie and carbohydrate content. They are also typically high in sodium, which can lead to water retention and increased blood pressure.

If you are looking for a healthier snack option, consider swapping out prawn crackers for fresh vegetables with hummus or salsa, or air-popped popcorn. These alternatives are lower in calories, carbohydrates, and sodium, making them a better choice for those looking to maintain a healthy diet.

Overall, while prawn crackers may be a tasty snack option, it’s important to enjoy them in moderation and consider healthier alternatives for snacking.

The different varieties of prawn crackers available

While prawn crackers are primarily made of starch and prawn flavor, the variations of these crackers are extensive and may include other ingredients for added flavor. These different varieties often vary based on the region they come from or the ingredients used. Here are some of the most popular varieties of prawn crackers available:

  • Shrimp crackers – These crackers are made by mixing prawn flavor and starch and then deep-frying it. They are often found in Asian cuisine as a snack or an accompaniment to a dish.
  • Spicy shrimp crackers – These crackers are infused with chili powder to give them a little kick of heat. Spicy shrimp crackers are a popular snack in Asian countries like China and Korea.
  • Garlic shrimp crackers – Garlic is added to these crackers to give them an extra zing. They are often served in Asian restaurants as a complementary snack.

In addition to the various types of prawn crackers made with different flavors, there are also other ways these crackers vary:

First, the amount of prawns used in the recipe can vary based on the manufacturer’s preference, with some using a higher concentration of prawns to offer a richer flavor.

Second, prawn crackers can vary in color, ranging from a light beige to orange or pink, depending on the type and amount of prawn used. The Deep-frying process, as well as any additional seasoning, also affects the color.

The texture of prawn crackers can also differ. Some may have a light, crisp texture, while others may be thicker and crunchier to provide a heartier snacking experience.

Name of prawn crackers Origin Description
Haechandle Shrimp Crackers South Korea A popular brand of shrimp crackers with a spicy taste.
Uru Uru shrimp crackers Japan A thicker, puffier type of shrimp crackers with a salty and savory taste.
Sonik Cheese Prawn Cracker Malaysia A variant of shrimp cracker with cheese and prawn flavor, often served as a snack in Southeast Asia.

Overall, the variations of prawn crackers available make them a popular snack all over the world, whether as a standalone snack or an accompaniment to a larger dish. With the variety of flavors, textures, and colors, it’s easy to find a prawn cracker that you love.

How to prepare prawn crackers at home

Although prawn crackers can easily be found in most grocery stores, making them at home is a fun and rewarding experience. Not only will you know exactly what goes into your prawn crackers, but you’ll also get to enjoy the satisfaction of creating a snack from scratch.

If you’re looking to make prawn crackers at home, here are the steps to follow:

  • Gather your ingredients. You’ll need prawn powder, tapioca starch, salt, sugar, water, and oil for frying.
  • Mix together the prawn powder, tapioca starch, salt, and sugar in a bowl.
  • Add water to the mixture and knead it into a dough.
  • Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and cut it into small pieces.
  • Heat up some oil in a pan and fry the prawn crackers until they puff up and turn golden brown.

That’s it! With just a few simple ingredients and steps, you’ll have your very own homemade prawn crackers.

If you want to add some extra flavor to your prawn crackers, you can try adding garlic powder, chili flakes, or other spices to the dough mixture. Experiment and see what flavors you like best!

Tips for perfect prawn crackers

Making prawn crackers at home can be a little tricky, but there are some tips and tricks you can follow to ensure success:

  • Make sure your oil is at the right temperature – too hot and the crackers will burn, too cold and they won’t puff up properly.
  • Slice your crackers thinly for maximum crispiness.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan when frying – this will lower the oil temperature and make the crackers less crispy.
  • Let your crackers cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.


Homemade prawn crackers are a delicious and fun snack to make at home. With just a few simple ingredients and techniques, you can enjoy this popular Asian snack in the comfort of your own kitchen. Just remember to be patient, follow the tips above, and experiment with different flavors for an unforgettable snacking experience!

Ingredients: Instructions:
Prawn powder 1 cup
Tapioca starch 1/2 cup
Salt 1 tsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Water 1/2 cup
Oil for frying

The cultural significance of prawn crackers in Asian cuisine

Prawn crackers are a staple in Asian cuisine, especially in China, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The cracker has a cultural significance that goes beyond its taste and texture. It is often served during festivals, weddings, and other celebrations as a symbol of good luck and prosperity.

In Chinese culture, prawns symbolize liveliness and happiness. Eating prawn crackers during important events is believed to invite abundance and joy into one’s life. The sound of the crust cracking when biting into a prawn cracker is also considered auspicious, as it is reminiscent of the sound of firecrackers, which are traditionally used during Chinese New Year celebrations.

  • Indonesia and Malaysia also have cultural significance for prawn crackers:
  • In Indonesia, prawn crackers are known as krupuk and are a popular snack that is often served with meals. They are made using a similar recipe to Chinese prawn crackers, but they are usually larger in size and have a different texture.
  • In Malaysia, prawn crackers are known as keropok and are often served with chili sauce or peanut sauce as a dip. They are a snack that is enjoyed by people of all ages and are especially popular during festive seasons like Hari Raya and Chinese New Year.
  • In both Indonesia and Malaysia, prawn crackers are also a symbol of good luck and abundance. They are often served during weddings and other important events to bring prosperity to the couple or the host of the event.

The making of prawn crackers is also steeped in tradition and culture. In Indonesia, the production of krupuk is considered a cottage industry that provides employment opportunities for many people. It is also a skill that is passed down from generation to generation.

Country Prawn Cracker Name Cultural Significance
China Ha Waiian (虾饼) Symbol of good luck and prosperity
Indonesia Krupuk Popular snack and symbol of good luck and abundance
Malaysia Keropok Often served during festivals and symbol of good luck and abundance

Overall, prawn crackers hold a special place in Asian cuisine and culture. They are more than just a snack – they are a symbol of good luck, prosperity, and tradition.

The Best Dips and Sauces to Serve with Prawn Crackers

Prawn crackers are a tasty snack that can be enhanced with delicious dips and sauces. Whether you’re serving them as an appetizer or as a snack at a party, adding the right dip or sauce can elevate the flavor of your prawn crackers to new heights. Here are some of the best dips and sauces to serve with prawn crackers:

  • Sweet Chili Sauce: This is a sweet and slightly spicy sauce that pairs perfectly with prawn crackers. It’s made with chili peppers, sugar, vinegar, and garlic, and is especially popular in Thai cuisine.
  • Peanut Sauce: If you’re looking for a more savory dip, peanut sauce is a great choice. It’s made with roasted peanuts, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, and has a creamy texture that complements the crunch of the prawn crackers.
  • Soy Sauce and Lime: For a simple yet delicious dip, try mixing together soy sauce and lime juice. The tanginess of the lime cuts through the saltiness of the soy sauce and creates a well-balanced flavor.

If you want to get creative with your prawn crackers, you can also try making your own dips and sauces. Here are some ideas:

  • Wasabi and Mayonnaise: Mix together wasabi paste and mayonnaise for a spicy dip that’s perfect for prawn crackers.
  • Mango Salsa: Combine diced mango, red onion, jalapeño, lime juice, and cilantro for a fresh and fruity salsa that pairs well with prawn crackers.
  • Hoisin Sauce: This sweet and savory sauce is made with soybeans, garlic, vinegar, and spices, and is a popular dip for Chinese cuisine.

Choosing the Right Dip or Sauce

When selecting a dip or sauce for your prawn crackers, it’s important to consider the flavor and texture of the crackers. Prawn crackers have a light and airy texture that can be easily overwhelmed by heavy dips or sauces. The best dips and sauces are those that complement the delicate flavor and crispy texture of the prawn crackers without overpowering them.

Dip/Sauce Flavor Profile Texture Best Pairings
Sweet Chili Sauce Sweet and slightly spicy Thin, pourable Thai cuisine
Peanut Sauce Savory and nutty Creamy Asian cuisine
Soy Sauce and Lime Tangy and salty Thin, pourable Simple and versatile
Wasabi and Mayonnaise Spicy and creamy Thick Sushi and Japanese cuisine
Mango Salsa Fresh and fruity Chunky Tropical or Mexican cuisine
Hoisin Sauce Sweet and savory Thick and sticky Chinese cuisine

Consider trying out different dips and sauces to find your favorite combination. With so many flavors and textures to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect dip or sauce to enhance the flavor of your prawn crackers.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Are Prawn Crackers Made Of

Q: What are prawn crackers made of?
A: Prawn crackers are made from a mixture of prawn meat, tapioca flour, and water. The mixture is shaped, sun-dried, and then deep-fried until it puffs up.

Q: Are prawn crackers healthy?
A: Prawn crackers are high in calories, sodium, and carbs, and low in protein and fiber. Therefore, they should be consumed in moderation.

Q: Do prawn crackers contain MSG?
A: Some prawn crackers contain MSG, a flavor enhancer that may cause adverse reactions in some people, such as headache, nausea, and heart palpitations.

Q: Are prawn crackers gluten-free?
A: Prawn crackers are naturally gluten-free because they are made from tapioca flour, which is derived from cassava root and does not contain gluten. However, some prawn crackers may be cross-contaminated with gluten during the manufacturing process.

Q: What flavors do prawn crackers come in?
A: Prawn crackers come in various flavors, such as original, spicy, garlic, barbeque, and cheese.

Q: Where did prawn crackers originate?
A: Prawn crackers originated in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, where they are often served as a snack or side dish.

Q: How do you store prawn crackers?
A: Prawn crackers should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. They can last for several weeks if stored properly.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned what prawn crackers are made of and some interesting facts about them, you can enjoy them responsibly. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to visit us again for more informative articles.