(Sugarcane Prawns)

Kim and Suong's Sugarcane Prawns

Prep time: 30 mins (+1 hour marinating)
Cook time: 30 mins
Serves: 6


250ml (1 cup) white vinegar

250g sugar

2 carrots, cut into julienne

½ small daikon, cut into julienne

3 sticks canned sugar cane, cut into 15cm lengths, quartered lengthways

Vegetable oil, to deep-fry

300g fine rice vermicelli noodles, to serve 

Butter lettuce leaves and Asian herbs, to serve

Chao Tom

500g large prawns, peeled, deveined, cleaned

50g firm white fish fillets

50g pork mince

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 tbs caster sugar

60ml (¼ cup) fish sauce, plus extra, to dip

½ tsp garlic powder

1 tsp baking powder

3 coriander stalks, chopped

3 spring onion stalks, chopped

Nuoc Cham

110g (½ cup) caster sugar

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 red bird’s-eye chilli, finely chopped

1 lime, zested

125ml (½ cup) lime juice

125ml (½ cup) fish sauce

60ml (¼ cup) orange juice


1. Place vinegar and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot. Remove from heat and stir in carrot and daikon. Set aside for 1 hour to pickle. 

2. Meanwhile to make chao tom, place all ingredients in a food processor and process until a chunky paste forms. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Dip a pestle in extra fish sauce and pound paste for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

3. Divide paste into 12 portions. Using an oiled hand, wrap each portion around a quarter-stick of sugar cane. Place an oven tray in a single layer. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate.

4. To make nuoc cham, using a mortar and pestle, pound sugar, garlic and chilli until a smooth paste forms. Stir in remaining ingredients and 60ml (¼ cup) hot water to combine. Set aside to infuse.

5. Cook rice noodles sheets, two at a time, in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 1 minute or until just flexible. Remove and transfer to a bowl of cold water. Drain.

6. Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat to 180C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Working in batches, gently drop chao tom into the oil and fry, turning, for 6 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Trim flesh from cane.

7. Place a lettuce leaf on each serving plate and top with noodles, herbs and prawn meat. Drain pickled vegetables and place on top. Wrap to enclose and dip in sauce to serve.