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Vietnamese prawn cakes

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for Vietnamese prawn cakes.

By Rodney Dunn
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking plus resting
  • Serves 4
  • Print
Vietnamese prawn cakes
A classic street-food dish in Vietnam, these tasty treats wrapped in lettuce and dipped in nuoc cham are perfect summer fare.


  • 75 gm plain flour (½ cup)
  • 50 gm rice flour (1/3 cup)
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 300 gm uncooked small prawns, peeled and deveined, or uncooked large prawns, peeled, deveined and coarsely chopped
  • 200 gm sweet potato, cut into julienne
  • For deep-frying: vegetable oil
  • To serve: green oak lettuce leaves and 1 cup each (loosely packed) coriander, mint and Thai basil, coarsely chopped
Nuoc cham
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ long red chilli, finely chopped


  • 1
    Stir flours, spring onion, sugar, baking powder and ½ tsp each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl with 250ml water to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes, then fold through prawns and sweet potato.
  • 2
    Preheat oil in a deep saucepan or deep-fryer to 180C. Spoon quarter-cupfuls of mixture into oil and deep-fry, turning occasionally, until golden (2 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit). Drain on absorbent paper, set aside and keep warm.
  • 3
    For nuoc cham, crush garlic and sugar in a mortar and pestle until a coarse paste forms, then stir in fish sauce, juice and 2 tbsp water. Add chilli and stir to combine.
  • 4
    Serve prawn cakes warm, wrapped in lettuce leaves with herbs and with nuoc cham for dipping.


Drink Suggestion: Cold lager. Drink suggestion by Max Allen