Food For Four

Chạo Tôm (Vietnamese Grilled Prawn on Sugar Cane)

Posted on | August 8, 2010 | Asian Recipes, Delicious Vietnam, Vietnamese Recipes | 15 Comments

chao tom - vietnamese sugar cane prawns

I was very surprised to see fresh sugar cane selling at my local fruit shop recently. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the fresh sugar cane was making chạo tôm. Chạo tôm is seasoned prawn paste wrapped around sugar cane stick, then steamed to set it’s shape and finished off with grilled or deep fried. The prawn meat is cut off the sugar cane and wrapped in lettuce with fresh herbs and dipped with fish sauce. I thought I could resist chewing on the sugar cane afterwards, but the sweet juice of the sugar cane is hard to resist.

chao tom

Chạo Tôm – (Vietnamese Prawn on Sugar Cane)

Makes 12


Prawn paste
1kg prawn, peeled and deveined (net 600 grams prawn meat)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons shallot, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoosn ground white pepper
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 egg
1.5 tablespoons cornflour

12 sugar cane skewers (skin removed and quartered into 15 cm lengths)

1 small lettuce (soft leaves)
2 cups Vietnamese herb leaves (mint leaves, perilla leaves)
1 cucumber, sliced in half and cut into wedges
1/2 cup fish sauce dipping sauce


Roughly chopped the prawn meat and put into bowl. Add garlic, salt, sugar, white pepper, fish sauce, egg and cornflour and combine well. Transfer mixture to a food processor and process until smooth. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Prepare a steamer with water ready for steaming. Line the tray with baking paper and oil the baking paper.

Apply oil to one hand, then use the other hand to put 1.5 tablespoons of prawn paste in the palm of your hand, spreading it out to an even layer. Put a sugarcane stick on top and in the centre of the paste leaving the two ends sticking out. Then close your hand to wrap around the stick and continue shaping it by rotating the stick. Set on the prepared steamer tray.

Steam the prawn sticks over boiling water for 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.

Preheat grill. Brush some oil onto the prawn skewers and chargrill until golden brown.

To serve, remove the prawn meat from the sugar can stick and cut into 4 strips. Wrap each in a small piece of lettuce with herbs and dip in the sauce. The prawn meat can also be wrapped with rice paper with vermicelli noodles and herbs.

sugcar cane prawns

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15 Responses to “Chạo Tôm (Vietnamese Grilled Prawn on Sugar Cane)”

  1. ANH
    August 9th, 2010 @ 11:06 am

    That looks absolutely yummy, Yen!

  2. Conor @ HoldtheBeef
    August 9th, 2010 @ 9:53 pm

    It is not possible to resist the call of the sugarcane. It must be chewed!

    Lovely dish, especially with the sunshine pouring over it :)

  3. J
    August 10th, 2010 @ 12:34 am

    Just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog! I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet (and I will) but just looking at the pictures make me drool :) I am a huge lover of Vietnamese cuisine!

  4. Helen (grabyourfork)
    August 10th, 2010 @ 1:57 am

    I love chao tom but have never attempted to make these myself. Yours look so professional! I love chewing on the sugarcane for “dessert”

  5. Bonnibella
    August 10th, 2010 @ 6:07 am

    Looks really good, I love chewing on the sugar cane after.

  6. Ana Powell
    August 10th, 2010 @ 7:53 am

    Great contribution to Delicious Vietnam #4.
    Lovely and very well captured dish.
    Awesome recipe, well done ♥

  7. penny aka jeroxie
    August 10th, 2010 @ 11:00 am

    Fantastic presentation! Love it :)

  8. OohLookBel
    August 25th, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

    Excellent effort! Your dish looks so much better than the ones at my local place.

  9. Kyle
    September 10th, 2010 @ 10:23 am

    I really LOVE your blog, gorgeous photos, yummy food, great recipes. Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. Brittany
    September 12th, 2010 @ 8:51 pm

    Wow, well done. This is a delicious recipe. We have it often at vietnamese restaurants but I’ve never seen anyone attempt it themselves :)

  11. Marjon
    September 15th, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

    This all looks amazing Yen. When are you going to open up your own restaurant?? :)

  12. Vivian - vxdollface
    October 12th, 2010 @ 6:52 pm

    that looks super delicious!

  13. Marjon
    November 6th, 2010 @ 10:57 pm

    Looks great Yen. I’ve already had dinner, but feel hungry all over again!! :)

  14. Peggy
    November 21st, 2010 @ 8:28 am

    This looks so yummy!

  15. Foodie
    April 2nd, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

    I was searching for this recipe and it looks easy and delicious. I can’t wait to try it. I am also looking through your other recipes and I am marking as a fav. Thanks for the recipe and keep it up!

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