The root vegetable behind the takeaway snack is TOXIC if it isn’t processed properly
PRAWN crackers are a staple in every Chinese takeaway – but how much seafood does the crunchy treat actually contain?
Channel 4 presenter and farmer Jimmy Doherty ventured out to Thailand to find out exactly what goes into the fast food favourite.
Surprisingly, cassava, a root that’s toxic if consumed raw, is what gives the Chinese snack its unique texture.
Jimmy explained that cassava is “a staple food in many parts of the world”.
The TV host added: “According to the UN, it’s the third most important source of calories in the tropics – providing a basic diet for over half a billion people.”
When consumed in its raw state, the vegetable can give you severe stomach ache.
But the easy-to-grow root, which is known as a supercrop, can be used after it is processed.
Food scientist Doctor Sue Bailey revealed: “Well you’ve got to extract from the cassava what is the tapioca starch…
“You need a really high-starch product – so something like the tapioca has about 96 per cent starch.
“Starch is very, very good at absorbing moisture and that’s key to making a good prawn cracker.”
Jimmy then visited a factory in Corby that produces almost 30 tonnes of prawn crackers every week.
He spoke to worker Stuart, who talked the presenter through the manufacturing process.
He explained: “This is the prawn cracker that comes from Indonesia.
“It’s made into a paste and then sliced and dried.”
Jimmy was also determined to find out the answer to a burning question, “How much prawn is actually in a prawn cracker?”
Stuart explained: “In a prawn cracker there is typically 21-38 per cent prawn meat.
“There are actually prawns in prawn crackers – the rest is tapioca, a little bit of sugar a little bit of salt.
“They may have some condensed milk or egg.”
The product puffs up after its fried in sunflower oil that’s been heated to a temperature of 190 degrees.
While this cooking process causes them to puff out, the tapioca in the crackers gives them a real crunch.
Food Unwrapped airs at Channel 4 tomorrow night (May 22) at 8pm.
The episode will also explore the high-tech methods behind growing fresh herbs and unravel what actually goes into sodium-replacement salt.
Recent episodes of Food Unwrapped have opened viewers’ eyes about the ingredients they are consuming.
Earlier this year, the presenters revealed whether or not tomatoes, bread or coffee should be stored in the fridge.
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Source: The Sun
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