Sesame Prawn Toast

From Ken Hom and 100 Easy Chinese Suppers, this recipe makes for a popular side dish or starter. The prawn and pork mix is flavoured with ginger and soy.

My Kitchen Table: 100 Easy Chinese Suppers


Sesame prawn toast is often served as an appetiser in Chinese restaurants. Its origins are rather obscure, but I suspect it is a variation on the prawn paste used widely in southern China as a stuffing or for deep-frying into crispy balls.

Makes about 30 pieces


10 thin slices of white bread
3 tbsp white sesame seeds
450ml (15fl oz) groundnut oil
For the prawn paste:
450g (1lb) raw prawns, shelled and de-veined
100g (4oz) fresh or tinned water chestnuts, peeled if fresh, finely chopped
100g (4oz) minced fatty pork
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 egg white
3 tbsp finely chopped spring onions (white part only)
1½ tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sugar

Essential kit

You will need a cleaver or sharp knife, and a wok or deep-fat fryer.


Using a cleaver or sharp knife, chop the prawns coarsely and then mince them finely into a paste. Put them into a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients for the prawn paste. (Alternatively, you could do all this in a food-processor.) The paste can be made several hours in advance and kept, covered, in the fridge.

Remove the crusts from the bread and cut it into rectangles about 7.5 x 2.5cm (3 x 1in) – you should have about 3 pieces per slice. If the bread is fresh, place it in a warm oven to dry out a little. Dry bread will absorb less oil.

Spread the prawn paste thickly on each piece of bread. The paste should form a mound about 3mm ( 1⁄8 in) deep, although you can spread it more thinly if you prefer. Sprinkle the toasts with the sesame seeds.

Heat the oil to a moderate heat in a wok or deep-fat fryer. Deep-fry several prawn toasts at a time, paste-side down, for 2–3 minutes. Then turn them over and deep-fry for another 2 minutes, until they are golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and serve.


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