Sugarcane Prawn

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First of all, Happy Lunar New Year to all of you! I hope this year will bring you love, happiness and joy…

I did not really celebrate Lunar New Year to the full extent here in Australia. Reasons? Many, but one of them is the very hot weather this week. The heat really turned me off, thus no baking or deep-fried food allowed! Instead, we celebrated the New Year with a light and aromatic dish called Chao Tom (Prawn Paste on Sugarcane Stick). The prawn paste mixture was molded onto sugarcane stick before being steamed and lightly grilled. Here the sugarcane gave the prawn a juicy and lightly sweet flavour. You could even chew on the sugarcane to taste the wonderful sweetness after finishing off the prawn (note: strong teeth required 😀 !).

The fun part was actually on the dining table! What each person did was placing the prawn together with lettuce leaf, varieties of fresh herbs and some rice vermicelli onto a rice paper then rolling it up. To eat, dip the whole thing into nuoc cham (dipping sauce) and enjoy the flavour to the fullest! It was so fun watching people busy rolling up the rice paper and eating. Some were very messy with their rolls, some were neat. But the main point was to be really quick otherwise nothing would be left for you.

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As a host, this dish is quite quick to whip up. The prawn stick can be steamed earlier and grilled close to serving. The rest is just preparing some rice vermicelli, the dipping sauce and a lot of fresh herbs on the table. The herbs I used were lettuce, coriander, Vietnamese mint and Thai Basil. In Vietnam, more herbs are used but just use whatever available. The key point is the herbs should be fresh. And that´s all. You can sit down and relax until your guests arrive and let them practice their rolling skills!

Just some notes on the ingredients. I know fresh sugarcane is hard to get. I actually find that canned sugarcane from Thailand (pictured) works really well. The rice paper should be available at all Asian stores. However, if you can get the brand in the photo, it will be great. This particular type imported from Hanoi doesn´t need soaking before rolling. You can use it straight from the package to wrap things up.


19 Responses to Sugarcane Prawn

  1. Gattina says:

    Anh, happy new year!!!

  2. Lydia says:

    Happy new year, and thanks for this wonderful post. I’ve never seen the no-soak rice paper, but will look for them in my market! I remember having prawn sticks on the first day we arrived in Vietnam, but I’ve never tried making them at home.

  3. Kalyn says:

    I’ve eaten something similar to this in a Vietnamese restaurant here, but no sugar cane that I remember. I don’t know how authentic it was, but I loved that dipping sauce. This sounds just delicious. I will look for that type of rice paper too; there are actually a few good Asian markets in Salt Lake, but not close to where I live.

  4. Kalyn says:

    Forgot to say Happy New Year! I’ve enjoyed reading about this on your blog and a few others.

  5. Brilynn says:

    That’s a really fun presentation, and it looks delicious!

  6. Rachel says:

    Yum. I was just thinking about buying some sugar cane. i might just have to now.

  7. the chocolate lady says:

    Wow, I have never seen anything like this before! I love the idea of the sugarcane providing the armature for this dish.

  8. Anh says:

    Gattina, the weather today is a bit milder. Feel so much better after the 38C weekend. :)

  9. Chawanmushi says:

    Anh … this is an interesting dish to begin with cos I’ve never came across anything like this :-)

  10. sher says:

    Happy New Year Anh! I seriously love this recipe. As a child we were given stalks of sugar cane to chew. The pictures of this dish you made are simply beautiful and I would love to eat them very much!

  11. Angie says:

    Happy Chinese New Year, Anh! Today is the fourth day of CNY, so not too late to send my wishes :p

  12. Anh says:

    Cecily, happy new year to you, too!

  13. Precious Moments says:

    Haven’t been checking into your blog and now I am overwhelmed with all these goodies. Yipee…..

  14. free ps3 says:

    Thanks for the nice post!

  15. LaDivaCucina says:

    Made it last night with fresh sugarcane (I live in southern Florida) and it was divine! I didn’t have any rice paper to wrap so used lettuce cups instead which added to the crunchy lightness of the dish. I think I prefer the lettuce cups now! Thanks for the recipe!

  16. quanton says:

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  17. angie says:

    yum, i love these sugarcane prawns! a lot of vietnamese restaurants cant make the prawns well so that always ruin the whole thing.

  18. MiNa says:

    Hi Anh, thank you so much for posting this recipe. This is one of my favourite dishes and thanks to you I have been able to re-create it and all my friends love it. MiNa

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