Chinese restaurants in Spain are quite different from Chinese restaurants in the US; which makes you wonder, of course, which, if either, is the most authentic. While certain dishes, like my favorite almond chicken, can be found in the restaurants of both countries, other dishes, appetizers, and desserts are non-existant in one country or the other.
Prawn crackers are one of those. I have never been to a Chinese restaurant in Spain that doesn’t greet you with a plate of prawn crackers before your meal, nor have I ever seen them at any Chinese restaurant that I’ve been to in the US.
My son is obsessed with them, and I have a bit of a love hate relationship with them.
Why do I love them?
Well, they are usually made with tapioca flour and no wheat, so they are gluten and grain free. Plus, I like the texture and find them addictive.
What don’t I love?
At restaurants, I don’t know what oil has been chosen to fry them, or for how long it’s been used. They are often dyed strange colors, like an unnatural pink, to mimic the amount of shrimp that they likely don’t have. Lastly, without being able to see the ingredient list of the particular prawn crackers in each place, I don’t know which ones use wheat or other ingredients I’m avoiding, and which do not.
Making them at home isn’t difficult, but most people’s idea of making them at home is buying a box of prawn cracker disks and frying them at home. That method does help with some of the problems with prawn crackers from restaurants. By frying them myself, I can use any fresh oil that I choose, and can check the ingredients of the prawn crackers I buy.
Sadly, though, none of the available prawn crackers seem to have much prawn in them at all. So, I decided to make some prawn crackers from scratch. Yes, you read that right; completely from scratch!!
People here will probably think that tI’m crazy for using fresh, red, Denia shrimp for my prawn crackers, since they are considered an expensive, gourmet food saved for special occasions; but seeing as my husband is a shrimp fisherman, I tend to have some to spare. 😉 (Jealous?)
This a great way for me to use up leftover shrimp. The shrimp my husband catches are naturally red, so my crackers end up with a natural coral pink color. The flavor and color of your crackers will depend on the shrimp you use, of course.
Seeing as how this week my son has been celebrating the Chinese New Year at school, this is the perfect time to share this recipe with you!
For those who love Asian food, I also have a few other Asian inspired recipes up like my grain free fortune cookies, my pickled ginger, or my fried zucchini noodles.
This post is also available in Español.