The London food scene’s obsession with pimped up “dirty” food is staying put. You can’t throw a lettuce leaf without hitting a trendy burger and who doesn’t delight in quaffing Champagne while gnawing on a hot dog? We’ve already seen poshed-up sliders, chilli dogs and fried chicken, so it’s only a matter of time before our appetite for jujjed junk leads us on to other snacks to rev-up. 

I’m no stranger to the queue for a 3am shish after a night out on the tiles, but it feels like there are enough good kebab shops already for the doner to remain makeover free. For my junk of choice, it’s sesame prawn toast all the way. And it’s about time shrimp got sexy.

When it’s good, it’s unrivalled, but too often you’re left with an unpalatably oily triangle of cheap deep-fried bread with a smear of something vaguely fishy on top. A greasy disappointment even from some of the best Chinese takeaways I’ve eaten. The trouble is, sesame prawn toast just doesn’t travel well. You need to eat it when it’s piping hot, dunked stickily and generously in fiery chilli sauce, so bunging it in a takeaway box for 10 minutes on the back of a bike before eating isn’t likely to whip up a frenzy in anyone’s taste buds. What’s the solution then? Eat out or, better still, make it yourself.

What better way to see in the Chinese New Year than with this deliciously moreish (if almost certainly unauthentic) Chinese takeaway classic? And while we’re celebrating the year of the Snake, let’s wave goodbye to the year of the Dragon by toasting our toast with a slug of Chinese firewater. Well, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it.

I made this with white Genius gluten free bread, but you can use any old bread you like, but don’t go too posh. As far as I’m concerned, cheap white bread is definitely your friend here.


  • 6 slices of bread, or 8 depending on size
  • 150g of prawns, raw, de-veined
  • 1 garlic clove, large
  • 1 knob of ginger, thumb-sized
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded
  • 1 egg
  • 1 dash of soy sauce, (make sure you use gluten-free if making a GF version of this dish)
  • 1 dash of sesame oil
  • rice flour, just enough to bind the mixture so it’s not too sloppy
  • sesame seeds
  • oil, for deep frying (I used groundnut, but sunflower or vegetable will do the job)

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