Prawn cracker

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Prawn cracker
Fried Krupuk Udang.JPG
Krupuk udang, Indonesian prawn cracker
Course Snack
Place of origin Indonesia
Region or state Southeast Asia and East Asia, also widely available in the Netherlands, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Created by Traditional food
Serving temperature Room temperature
Main ingredients Deep fried dried starch and other ingredients, the most popular is prawn
Variations Different variations according to ingredients
  • Cookbook: Prawn cracker
  •   Media: Prawn cracker

Prawn crackers, also known as prawn chips and shrimp puffs are deep fried crackers made from starch and prawn that serve as flavoring.

They are a popular snack in parts of Southeast and East Asia. Prawn crackers are a common snack food throughout Southeast Asia, but most closely associated with Indonesia and Malaysia.[1][2] These are called krupuk udang in Indonesian, prawn crackers in British English and shrimp chips or Prawn crackers in American English. They are known as kroepoek (old Indonesian spelling for krupuk, based on Dutch spelling rules) in Dutch, Krabbenchips (crab chips) in German, chips à la crevette in French, nuvole di drago (dragon clouds) in Italian, and pan de gambas (shrimp bread) in Spanish. There are also Japanese (かっぱえびせん) and Korean (새우깡) shrimp chips which are a popular snack in both countries.



Prawn cracker is called krupuk udang in Indonesian, and is merely one variant of many sorts of krupuk recognised in Indonesian cuisine. In Indonesia the term krupuk or kerupuk is used as umbrella term to refer to this kind of cracker. Indonesia has perhaps the largest variety of krupuk.[3]

Krupuk udang (prawn cracker) and other types of krupuk are ubiquitous in Indonesia. Examples of popular krupuk udang brands in Indonesia include Finna[4] and Komodo brand. To achieve maximum crunchiness, most of this pre-packed raw krupuk udang must be sun-dried first before being deep fried at home. To cook krupuk, a wok and plenty of very hot cooking oil is needed. Raw krupuk is quite small, hard, and darker in color than cooked one.[5] Fishing towns of Sidoarjo in East Java, also Cirebon in West Java, are major producers of krupuk udang.


Prawn crackers are one of the most popular snacks in Malaysia and are particularly served at homes of many during festive celebrations (such as Chinese New Year and Hari Raya). One of the most popular type of prawn cracker in Malaysia are the Keropok Udang Geragau Melaka.[6][7]


Sa Đéc in southern Vietnam is the home of bánh phồng tôm. The traditional snack is made of ground shrimp, sometimes mixed with cuttlefish, arrowroot flour, tapioca flour, onion, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, cracked black pepper and salt.[8] Traditionally the dough is steamed, rolled out, cut into round chips then dried. Another method is to form rolls, steam and then slice into thin rounds before being dried. Modern production favours the oval shapes such that the chips form a "scooper" as an accompaniment to salads (gỏi and nộm). The brand Sa Giang is well known.

A variant is bánh phồng nấm flavoured with nấm hương (shiitake) or nấm rơm (straw mushroom).[9]

Assorted types of Kroepoek sold in Indo Toko in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Chinese cuisine

In Chinese cuisine, prawn crackers may use food colouring (including shades of white, pale pink, green and blue), and tend to be lighter and non-spicy. However, in China they are easy to find in supermarkets, yet not popular or common in restaurants or when serving food for friends.

Prawn crackers are considered a snack food, but may accompany takeaway Chinese food in Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. Shrimp chips are usually served with roasted chicken dishes in Chinese restaurants overseas (such as white cut chicken and crispy fried chicken).[citation needed] There is also a vegan version available that does not contain seafood.

The Netherlands

Through their historical colonial ties with Indonesia, the Dutch are familiar with Indonesian foodstuffs including the Indonesian prawn crackers. Assorted types of krupuk (Dutch: kroepoek), deep fried crackers made from starch and flavourings, such as prawn or crab, are available in many Indische, or Indo, (Dutch-Indonesian) shops in the Netherlands, which locally are called toko. Prawn crackers are also available in many of the major supermarkets. Kroepoek is a standard part of the repertoire of "Indische" (a word referring to the former Dutch East Indies, present day Indonesia; not to be confused with the Dutch word Indiaas, meaning "from India") restaurants in the Netherlands. It is also served in Chinese restaurants in Belgium and in the Netherlands.


They are also known as prawn crackers or prawn chips in Australia, where they are popular in many Asian restaurants. They are usually coloured pink with a salty flavour and are usually treated as a side dish, entrée or snack.


Raw prawn cracker being sun-dried before frying.

Prawn crackers are made by mixing prawns, tapioca flour and water. The mixture is rolled out, steamed, sliced and sun-dried. In the traditional way, to achieve maximum crispiness, raw crackers are usually sun-dried first before frying, to eliminate the moisture. Once dry, they are deep-fried in oil (which must be at high heat before cooking). In only a few seconds they expand from thumb-sized semi-transparent chips to white fluffy crackers, much like popcorn, as water bound to the starch expands as it turns into steam. If left in the open air for more than a few hours (depending on humidity), they start to soften and become chewy and are therefore ideally consumed within a few hours of being fried. Storing the crackers in a low humidity environment or an airtight container will preserve the crispness. Packets of unfried prawn crackers may be purchased in oriental stores, or stores that specialise in Asian cuisine. In the Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname, France, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom they are also widely available in general supermarkets.

Prawn crackers of premium quality are aromatic even without additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and artificial prawn flavourings to enhance the smell and taste. The fried prawn crackers may be stored in airtight container for up to 3 months without preservatives and up to 9 months or so depending on the amount of preservatives added.

Most varieties of prawn crackers can also be prepared in a microwave oven, in which a few discs can be cooked in less than a minute. This will usually cause them to cook and expand in a way similar to when they are deep fried. For small quantities, this method is faster and less messy, as the crackers do not become as oily. However, this may cause the cracker to retain a stronger aroma of raw shrimp and the cracker has to be consumed within hours before it softens and loses its crispness.

See also


  1. ^ Alan Davidson The Penguin companion to food 2002 Page 759 "PRAWN CRACKERS .. described by Charmaine Solomon (1996): Large, crisp, deep-fried crackers popular in Indonesia and Malaysia, where they are called krupuk udang and Vietnam, banh phong tom. Sold in packets in dried form, they are made from starch... The same author goes on to say that the best prawn crackers are large ones from Indonesia, containing more prawn than their less expensive rivals. She regards those from China as a possible substitute; flavour and texture are less good but"
  2. ^ "Charmaine Solomon's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Asian Food" Charmaine Solomon, Nina Solomon 1996
  3. ^ Yohan Handoyo. "Christmas Crackers". Jakarta Java kini. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  4. ^ Krupuk Udang Finna
  5. ^ Indonesian Regional Food and Cookery: Prawn cracker
  6. ^ "Penghasilan keropok udang geragau Labridae Scaridae" (in Malay). Universiti Malaysia Sabah. 7 December 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  7. ^ Lin Zhen Yuan (22 February 2013). "Drive in and get your burnt cendol". Selangor Times. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  8. ^ Giới thiệu qui trình công nghệ sản xuất bánh phồng tôm Archived 31 July 2012 at in Vietnamese
  9. ^ Giới thiệu qui trình công nghệ sản xuất bánh phồng tôm Archived 31 July 2012 at in Vietnamese

External links

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