Deep Fried Prawn Balls (干炸虾枣)



This is my childhood dish and my late mum used to prepare this occasionally.  During bigger festivals, ngoh hiang or meat rolls were prepared but for smaller praying ceremony, these were prepared instead.


The differences between the two are meat rolls was wrapped in tofu skin whereas prawn balls were not wrapped. Instead, it was squeezed out from the hand in a ball form and deep fried. Another difference is prawn balls generally have more prawns than minced meat.


Obviously, this is a very common delicacy in the Chaozhou and Shantou area of which Chawan (Zhaoan) dialect’s cuisines were greatly influenced by Teochew cuisines. It was also served in  traditional Teochew restaurants. But at times, it was wrapped with bean curd skin and cut into small pieces before the serving.


What I am sharing is our household recipe. Nothing difficult. Then it was more laborious as there are no food processor. All the chopping and mincing have to be done manually. I remember my mum will use the knife to smash and chopped the prawns. All other ingredients were done by hand including chopping of onion, minced meat etc.


For those who understand Mandarin, as per Baike, it was written :

“ 干炸虾枣是广东省传统的汉族名菜,属于粤菜系潮州菜。此菜虾肉鲜甜,外皮酥香,荸荠爽脆可口。用虾仁泥为主料,配以面粉等辅料,油炸成大枣形而成的。它与炸虾丸近似,但辅料有八种之多,为一般虾丸所不及;此菜因形似枣,故名。四季皆宜。”(Source:




Servings: About 30-40 small prawn balls of about 2 cm in diameter


  • 800 grams of shrimps
  • 200 grams of minced meat
  • 1 medium size big onion
  • 8 water chestnuts
  • 2 cm long carrot , sliced
  • 1 egg
  • Few sprigs of coriander or Chinese celery stalks or spring onion
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour or corn flour (For springy texture, use corn flour)


  • 1 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce
  • Pinches of salt (remember fish sauce is salty)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sugar




  • Blend big onion, water chestnuts, coriander and carrots in a food processor in coarse form. Coarse form means that it is overly fine such that you are able to feel the crunchiness of the chestnuts in the prawn balls. Transfer out to a big mixing bowl. Set aside.

  • Put the prawns and minced meat into the food processor and blend until fine.  Transfer out to the big mixing bowl with the blended water chestnuts and others.


  • Add all the seasoning to the big bowl, crack eggs, add flour and use a chopstick to stir in one direction until well mixed. Set aside.

  • Heat up a pot of hot oil and use the chopstick to test the readiness of the heat. If a wooden chopstick is placed in the hot oil and bubble emitted, the oil is consider as ready.

  • Turn the oil to medium. Take a handful of the batter, use hand to squeeze it out like in the picture, use a tablespoon to scoop out the prawn ball and drop the prawn ball into the hot oil. Deep fry using medium heat until the prawn balls floated upwards and turn light golden brown colour. Turn the heat to high and let it deep fry for another half minute. Dish up and drain. Suggested to serve the prawn balls with Teochew style Golden Orange Oil (金桔油).



If you find the name xia zao or hae chou familiar but the look is different from those served in restaurant, it is essentially the same thing. The restaurant wrapped the prawn batter in a piece of bean curd skin , steam, cut into big chunks and deep fried it again before serving. It will save the restaurant a lot of time. However, as a respect of traditional cuisine and to honour what my mum had did, I have decided to stick to this shape. Taste is the exactly the same except the preparation is lightly messier as you have to deep fry the balls directly.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.



7 thoughts on “Deep Fried Prawn Balls (干炸虾枣)

  1. Hi, thank you for sharing the recipe. Where can the golden orange oil be bought? I have been looking for it but was unsuccessful….

  2. Pingback: Special Compilation of Teochew Cuisines (潮州美食食谱汇编) | GUAI SHU SHU

    • Hmmm, I am unsure as this has meat and flour in it.. I doubt you can make it very crunchy unless it is purely made of prawn meat..where baking soda made it added.. A firmer texture can be obtained by adding some tapioca flour instead of plain flour..

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