Prawn crackers (Vietnamese: Bánh Phồng Tôm, Indonesian: krupuk udang) are a popular snack that has won the hearts of food lovers across Southeast Asia. Made using authentic ingredients, these umami delights are a true representation of Vietnamese flavors you’ll undoubtedly want to savor.
Moreover, prawn crackers are not only perfect for snacking but also serve as a fantastic accompaniment to various Vietnamese dishes. So don’t hesitate; dive into the enchanting realm of Vietnamese prawn crackers and let their irresistible appeal tantalize your senses.
What Is Vietnamese Prawn Crackers
Prawn crackers are a specialty of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region and are usually sold uncooked. The famous Sa Giang brand hails from Sa Dec, a city in Dong Thap province, known for the largest production of prawn crackers in Vietnam.
When you’re ready to enjoy these unique Vietnamese snacks, just fry them in hot oil and watch as they puff up to three or four times their original size. This is how they get their name “Phong,” which means “to puff up.”
The process of making these crackers involves a mixture of flour (starch or tapioca flour with a hint of baking soda), ground shrimp, and crushed pepper. This mixture is then stuffed into long, sausage-like fabric bags, steamed, and sliced into thin rounds before drying.
Some variations replace shrimp with crab or other seafood, and vegetarian alternatives primarily use flour and potatoes.
Ready to make some delicious Vietnamese prawn crackers? Let’s explore the essential tools you’ll need for a successful snack-making session.
- Air fryer: A kitchen appliance that cooks by circulating hot air around the crackers using a convection mechanism.
- Microwave: An appliance that helps cook your Banh Phong Tom quickly and efficiently.
- Pan: A flat metal container, typically having a handle, used for cooking prawn crackers directly in oil.
- Tongs: In this recipe, you’ll use the tongs to grip and turn the prawn crackers as they fry, as well as pick them up.
- In addition, you may also use other support tools such as:
- Ceramic plate: Or a plate made from other microwave-safe material.
- Food prep gloves: For hygiene and protection while handling food.
- Oven mitts: For safety when handling hot cooking equipment or food.
The magic behind Vietnamese prawn crackers lies in their simple yet flavorful ingredients. Let’s dive into the key components that make this snack so irresistible.
- Vietnamese prawn crackers: You can choose whatever type of Banh Phong Tom that you like. I often fry 10 to 15 crackers.
- Olive oil: For tossing the prawn crackers before cooking them in the air fryer.
- Cooking oil: For deep-frying the crackers.
Turning your ingredients into scrumptious Vietnamese prawn crackers is easier than you might think. Let’s walk through the directions to create this tempting treat in no time.
Start by pouring your cooking oil into a pan and heating it up. The quantity should be sufficient to fry 12 – 15 prawn crackers at a time, ensuring they expand evenly and cook to perfection.
Once the oil reaches the right temperature, add your prawn crackers to the pan. It’s important to distribute them evenly in the hot oil to allow each one to cook uniformly.
Keep a close eye on the crackers and make sure to flip them regularly. This helps them to absorb the oil equally and puff up uniformly. Remember to maintain medium heat during this process to avoid over-browning or hardening the crackers.
Let the crackers fry for around 2 – 3 minutes or until they’ve fully expanded and are evenly puffed up. Once done, use a pair of tongs to remove the crackers one by one, placing them onto a plate lined with paper towels to help absorb any excess oil.
Arrange the crackers on a microwave-safe plate. Remember to space them out and keep some distance between each piece. Doing this will allow the heat to distribute better, ensuring that all your crackers expand evenly.
Microwave the crackers for 2 minutes on high power.
Then, allow the crackers and the plate to cool off a little before taking them out. You should use tongs or wear an oven mitt to prevent burning your hands accidentally.
Toss the prawn crackers with a little olive oil. The oil will help them expand faster.
Arrange the crackers onto the air fryer’s basket, spacing them out. Then, air fry them for 3 minutes at 400 degrees F (about 200 degrees C).
Crafting flawless Vietnamese prawn crackers is even easier with these helpful tips. Incorporate these insights into your cooking for the best possible results.
- Do not use a stainless steel plate or other metal plates to cook the crackers in the microwave. Instead, use microwave-safe materials, such as ceramic.
- During the microwaving process, you can check the crackers through the window and shorten the cooking time if they have expanded to the ideal size to prevent them from being burned.
- Each microwave and air fryer has its own temperature mechanism. Yours might be different from mine, so you should experiment to find the best cooking time and temperature.
- When it comes to frying in oil, it’s important to use a generous amount to guarantee even puffing of the crackers. While this method is the most traditional one, it can result in a richer, oilier taste, which might be too heavy for some palates.
- Additionally, you’ll need to be quick on your feet, constantly flipping the crackers for a uniform cook. So, do weigh these considerations before deciding on this cooking approach.
What To Serve With Vietnamese Banh Phong Tom
Banh Phong Tom is not only a fantastic stand-alone snack but also the perfect sidekick for many mouth-watering Vietnamese appetizers, making them a must-have for parties and gatherings. Here are my best picks!
- Lotus stem and shrimp salad (Goi Ngo Sen): This refreshing Vietnamese salad features crunchy lotus stems, tender shrimp, and a medley of fresh herbs. It has a vibrant flavor profile enhanced by a zesty dressing.
- Green mango salad with shrimp (Goi Tom Xoai): A delightful combination of tangy green mango, succulent shrimp, and aromatic herbs creates a fantastic salad that pairs wonderfully with the crispy prawn crackers.
- Chicken salad (Goi Ga): Tender shredded chicken is tossed with a mix of fresh herbs, crunchy vegetables, and a tangy dressing in this traditional Vietnamese salad. It perfectly complements the seafood notes and satisfying crunch of Banh Phong Tom.
Storage Tips For Banh Phong Tom
For uncooked prawn crackers, keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, such as a pantry or cupboard.
Remember to seal them in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. You want to prevent moisture from affecting their texture. Stored this way, uncooked prawn crackers can last for several months.
When it comes to cooked prawn crackers, it’s crucial to store them in an airtight container as well, keeping out any moisture or air that could make them lose their signature crunch. You can store the cooked crackers at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Personally, I usually eat up my Banh Phong within a day, as the longer you store them, the more likely they will turn chewy and soft. The good thing is that cooking up a new batch is super quick and easy!
Besides the classic shrimp Banh Phong Tom, there are some pretty awesome variations of this snack, too. It’s fantastic how these different types cater to so many tastes and preferences, making this snack a favorite for everyone!
- Crab-flavored Banh Phong Tom: Imagine swapping shrimp with crab meat – it brings a slightly different but delicious seafood twist.
- Fish-flavored Banh Phong Tom: With ground fish meat instead of shrimp, you’ll find this one has a gentler, more delicate seafood taste.
- Squid-flavored Banh Phong Tom: Replace shrimp with ground squid, and you’ll get a unique, slightly chewier texture and that unmistakable squid flavor.
- Vegetarian Banh Phong Tom: For my plant-based friends, there’s a version made with flour and potatoes – perfect for vegetarians and vegans.
Explore Your New Snack Obsession!
These crispy, airy, and delectably flavored crackers have not only conquered Southeast Asia but have also gained fans all around the world. With various types catering to different tastes and countless ways to savor them, it’s no wonder they’ve become such a big hit!
Now, I’m eager to hear from you! If you’ve tried these crackers or have any thoughts, experiences, or feedback to share, feel free to write them in the comment section.
Also, please spread your love for this irresistible Vietnamese gem by liking and sharing this post!
2 servings per container
- Amount Per ServingCalories132
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Saturated Fat 2.8g 10%
- Sodium 225mg 10%
- Total Carbohydrate
- Dietary Fiber 0.3g 0%
- Sugars 1.8g
- Protein 0.6g 0%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Table of Contents
- What Is Vietnamese Prawn Crackers
- Tips And Tricks
- What To Serve With Vietnamese Banh Phong Tom
- Storage Tips For Banh Phong Tom
- Other Types Of Vietnamese Banh Phong Tom To Try
- Explore Your New Snack Obsession!
- Banh Phong Tom Recipe – Vietnamese Prawn Crackers
- Nutrition Facts