Prawn Skewers with Asian Pesto

Antony Worrall Thompson's Southeast Asian savoury prawn 'lollypops' make a witty and stylish starter.
By Antony Worrall Thompson
Prawn Skewers with Asian Pesto
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 1 hr chilling
  • Effort: easy



  • 225 g shelled raw prawns, finely chopped
  • 175 g minced pork
  • 4 tbsp tinned bamboo shoots, finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • seasoned flour
  • 18 stalks lemongrass
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the Asian Pesto:

  • 115 g roasted peanuts
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 serrano chillies, chopped
  • 6 tbsp mint leaves
  • 6 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 6 tbsp basil
  • 300 ml peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tbsp grated lime zest
  • 3 tbsp soft breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • black pepper


1. First make the Asian pesto. Place peanuts, ginger, garlic and chillies in a food processor and process to a paste.

2. Add the mint, coriander and basil and process until minced. Add the peanut oil in a thin steady stream.

3. Add the orange and lime zest, breadcrumbs and sesame oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Scrape into a jar and store in the refrigerator until required.

4. To make the pops mix all the ingredients, except the flour, lemon grass, and vegetable oil, together in a large bowl. If the mixture is too thick you may add a little more chicken stock. You do not want the mixture to be too sloppy or it will not hold together.

5. With wet hands mould the prawn and pork mixture onto the lemon grass stalks, leaving 2 inches exposed as a handle. Dust the 'pops' in seasoned flour until evenly coated. Place on a baking tray and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to firm up.

6. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large frying pan and shallow-fry the 'pops' in batches for 4-5 minutes, turning once, until tender and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm whilst you cook the remaining 'pops'.

7. Serve the warm 'pops' with Asian pesto dip.

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