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spicy shrimp cakes and cilantro sauce

September 2, 2010

What I loved about eating out in Sydney was finding strong Asian influences on virtually every menu I came across.  So, I was excited to see these influences reflected again in Bill’s Sydney Food, my Sydney souvenir.

Admittedly, I was really nervous making this recipe.  Fish sauce is one of those ingredients that I find has such a strong smell that when I add it to foods I think “oh boy, am I really going to eat this?!”.  But it works its magic, adds a depth of flavor you couldn’t really get anywhere else and ultimately is what brings this dish together.  The consistency reminded me almost of a spongy shu-mai from dim sum and the spicy cilantro dipping sauce rocked my world.  The one thing I might change is paring back on the fish sauce in the dipping sauce (maybe even cut in half?).  It’s a potent flavor and I felt dominated the sauce a tad too much.

This makes a great appetizer and is a super easy finger food.  Enjoy it on a sunny patio with an icy beer (or lemonade).

spicy prawn cakes with cilantro dipping sauce
from Bill’s Sydney Food


  • 500g/1.5lb raw shrimp, peeled
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 green chili
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped corinader, cilantro roots and leaves
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • white flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

dipping sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 large green chilies, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar (I used agave nectar)
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 cup chopped coriander


  1. Blend all dipping sauce ingredients with 3 tbsp water until combined.
  2. To make shrimp cakes, place shrimp, fish sauce, chili, garlic, turmeric, pepper and coriander in a food processor and process to a paste.
  3. Fold in the spring onions.
  4. Shape shrimp mixture into little balls, about 3cm and 1 1/4 inch in diameter and roll in flour to coat lightly.
  5. Heat oil in a deep frying pan until hot.
  6. Add prawn balls and shallow fry until golden about 5-6 minutes).
  7. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  8. Serve with dipping sauce.
One Comment leave one →
  1. September 3, 2010 9:26 am

    This is definitely my kind of recipe! I love shrimp and I love coriander. I cannot wait to get my teeth into these. I think I will take your advice and reduce the amount of fish sauce in the coriander/cilantro sauce.
    Thanks for a great recipe.
    🙂 Mandy

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