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Prawn crackers are deep fried crackers made from starch and other ingredients that usually give the taste.

They are a popular snack in parts of Southeast and East Asia. The crackers originate from Indonesia where they are known as krupuk or kerupuk; keropok in Malaysia; and kropek in the Philippines. They are also known as kroepoek in the Netherlands, due to its colonial link with Indonesia, and in Suriname, another former Dutch colony. Such crackers are known as xiapian (虾片 "prawn chips") in Chinese and bánh phồng tôm in Vietnam.

Prawn crackers or shrimp puffs are a common snack food throughout South East Asia, but most closely associated with Indonesia and Malaysia.[1][2] These are called krupuk udang in Indonesian, prawn crackers in British English, prawn chips in Australian English, and shrimp chips or shrimp crackers in American English. In Europe they are known as Krabbenchips (crab chips) in German, chips de crevettes in French nuvole di drago (dragon clouds) in Italian.



Indonesia has perhaps the largest variety of krupuk. In Indonesia, the term krupuk refers to the type of relatively large crackers, while the term kripik or keripik refers to smaller bite-size crackers; the counterpart of chips (or crisps) in western cuisine. For example potato chips are called kripik kentang in Indonesia. Usually krupuk is made from the dried paste from the mixture of starch with other ingredients, while kripik is usually made entirely from thinly sliced, sun-dried, and fried products without any mixture of starch. Another flour-based cracker with brittle of peanuts, anchovies or shrimp is called rempeyek. The leftover rice can be made crackers through sun-dried and deep fried to make rengginang or intip (Javanese) rice cracker. Krupuk and kripik can be consumed solely as a snack, or cracked and sprinkled on top of certain food as a complement to add crispy texture. Certain Indonesian dishes such as gado-gado, karedok, rujak, asinan, bubur ayam and certain kinds of soto were known to require certain type of krupuk for toppings.

There are many variations on krupuk, many of which are made from a mixture of starch with seafood (shrimp, fish, or squid), but occasionally with rice, fruits, nuts or vegetables; these variations are more usual in southeast Asia. Krupuk udang (shrimp cracker), krupuk bawang (onion cracker), krupuk kampung (cassava starch cracker) and krupuk gendar (ground rice cracker) is ubiquitous in Indonesia. The examples of popular krupuk udang brands in Indonesia is Finna[3] 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.[4]

Sidoarjo in East Java, also Cirebon and Garut in West Java, are major producers of krupuk, and many recipes originate from there. A common variation, called emping is made from melinjo (Gnetum gnemon) nuts. Fish cracker krupuk kemplang and krupuk ikan is particularly popular in Southern Sumatran city of Palembang and also on the island of Bangka. Another popular type is krupuk jangek or krupuk kulit, cracker made from dried cattle skin, particularly popular in Minangkabau area West Sumatra. Krupuk mie (noodle cracker) is yellowish krupuk made from noodle-like paste usually used for asinan topping, particularly popular in Jakarta and most of markets in Java.


Prawn crackers are also one of the popular snack in Malaysia, this type of cracker can be found on many groceries stores, one of the most popular type of prawn cracker in Malaysia are the Keropok Udang Geragau Melaka.[5][6]


Sa Dec 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.[7] 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 favors 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 flavored with nấm hương (shiitake) or nấm rơm (straw mushroom).[8]


In Chinese cuisine, prawn crackers may use food coloring (including shades of white, pale pink, green and blue), and tend to be lighter and non-spicy. Prawn crackers are considered a snack, 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.

The Netherlands

Through their historical colonial ties with Indonesia, the Dutch are familiar with Indonesian foodstuffs including kroepoek. Assorted types of 'Krupuk' (Dutch: Kroepoek), deep fried crackers made from starch and taste giving ingredients, such as prawn or crab, are available in many Indo (Dutch-Indonesian) Tokos in the Netherlands as well as in many of the major supermarkets


They are also known as prawn crackers in Australia. It is popular in many buffet restaurants such as Sizzler, as well as Asian restaurants. They are usually coloured pink with a salty flavour. They are usually treated as a side dish, entrée or snack.


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 and the United Kingdom they are also widely available in general supermarkets.

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 cracker do not become as oily. However, this may cause the cracker to retain a stronger aroma of raw shrimp which may not necessarily be pleasant.


External links

Food portal
  • Recipe for making home-made Prawn Crackers.


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