Vietnamese prawn pancake

Styling: Carlie Monasso. Photography: Samara Clifford


If I had to choose one type of cuisine to eat for the rest of my life it would be Asian food.  I was born in Singapore (my Dad is half Singaporean) and I go ga ga for anything that reminds me of it – frangipanis, heat, humidity, but more than anything, the food.  The smells and flavours bring back memories of childhood visits to visit family and friends.

An Asian dish I love is the Vietnamese prawn pancake.  It’s always the first thing we order at family dinner’s in Victoria Street (in Melbourne).

I’ve used chickpea flour instead of rice flour in this recipe because I prefer the flavour and texture.  Chickpea flour is gluten free and higher in protein than other flours.  It can also be used as a substitute for eggs when mixed with liquid so this is a great recipe if you need to cater to vegans or anyone with egg intolerances.  I’ve also used rice malt syrup in the dressing instead of sugar because it’s fructose free and low GI.

This dish is traditionally served as one big pancake, which is then broken off and put into lettuce cups, but I’ve gone for a deconstructed version with smaller pancakes people can make for themselves.  It can get messy, but that’s half the fun!


You will need:

Pancake batter
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup coconut milk (I use Ayam)
1/4 cup water
Pinch of sea salt or himalayan rock salt
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
Sesame oil,  for frying

1 cup Bean shoots
1 carrot, julienne or grated
1 cucumber, julienne or thinly sliced
500 grams cooked medium prawns

For serving:
Iceberg lettuce
Mint (or basil)

1 tbs brown rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 tbs rice malt syrup (I use Pure Harvest)
2 tbs sesame oil (I use Melrose cold pressed organic)
1 lime, juiced
1 small red chilli, finely chopped

What to do:

1. Whisk the chickpea flour, coconut milk, turmeric, water and salt until smooth.  Allow to stand for at least 30 minutes.

2. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar, pour into a dipping bowl and set aside.

2. Heat sesame oil in a fry pan over a medium to high heat.  Pour approx. 1/2 ladles of pancake batter into the pan, swirling to form thin mini pancakes (or pickles). Allow to cook until golden and crisp before flipping.  Repeat process to make remaining pancakes.

3.  Serve on a platter with all the filling ingredients, lettuce cups and herbs.  Fill lettuce cups with pancakes, prawns, veggies and herbs, roll up, dip into the sauce and hear the crunch as you take your first mouthful!

Serves 3-4 people.



Zara is a healthy home consultant, author and keynote speaker on a mission to empower 1 million people to takes steps towards a healthier home. Zara learned about the link between our homes and our health after going through two different types of cancer. Zara is passionate about shining the spotlight on what she believes to be the least understood health challenges of our time, and sharing the things she wishes she had known, that could have prevented the illnesses she has been through. Recognised as one of Australia’s leading health influencers, Zara was a finalist in the 2014 Bupa Health Influencer of the Year Awards. She has appeared on TEN News, Today Show and The Project, been featured in the Herald Sun, I Quit Sugar, and contributed Medibank’s Be. Magazine and Fairfax health online publications. Zara contributed to the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s first comprehensive report on breast cancer in young women in Australia.

  • Reply May 2, 2015

    dili optim

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch since I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch! “Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.” by Sir Arthur Eddington.

  • Reply January 9, 2016


    Of course, what a splendid site and educative posts, I definitely will bookmark your blog.All the Best!

  • Reply February 8, 2016


    These sound amazing! Do you think it would work with coconut flour instead of chickpea flour? I have an abundance of coconut flour at the moment…

    • Reply February 8, 2016

      Zara D'Cotta

      I’m so pleased you like the sound of them, Rebecca! You could absolutely use coconut flour but you’d need to adjust the quantity as it absorbs a lot more water – here’s a recipe I found: They may not stay in tact as well, but the mess is half the fun! Enjoy and let me know how you go. 🙂

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