Homemade Haidilao Prawn Paste Recipe

I’m a fan of China’s largest hot pot restaurant chain, Haidilao. Its uniqueness doesn’t just stem from the hot pot broth or dipping sauce, but also from the hot pot dipping ingredients. Among them, one ingredient that impresses me the most is Haidilao prawn paste. Prawn paste can be cooked very quickly, has an umami flavor, and a crunchy texture. So, my husband and I tried making a homemade Haidilao prawn paste, and it turned out amazing: with very simple ingredients and methods, the taste is 90% similar.

Homemade Haidilao Prawn Paste
How to eat prawn paste with hot pot.

Equipment

Usually, I don’t start a recipe guide by talking about equipment, but for the Homemade Haidilao Prawn Paste Recipe, it’s quite important. To make prawn paste, you should have a blender to grind the prawns. You can also crush prawns with a pestle and mortar, but there are two disadvantages you need to consider: it takes much more time to crush the prawns until they are completely ground, and even if you try your best, the paste may not turn out as smooth. These issues can be resolved with a blender, so make sure to prepare a good one for making homemade prawn paste for your hot pot.

That’s right, besides a bowl and a spoon, there’s nothing else needed in terms of equipment. So, gather your equipment and prepare the following ingredients.

Ingredients

What are the required ingredients for making Haidilao Prawn Paste? The ingredients are simple as well. To make a cup of Prawn Paste, you’ll need:

  • 200g (7 oz) prawns, peeled. I used Tiger Prawns imported from Vietnam.
  • 20g (1 1/3 tbsp) egg white
  • 8g (1/2 tbsp) tapioca starch

Indeed, tapioca starch can be less common in some grocery stores, especially if you’re not familiar with Asian cuisine. You can typically find it at Asian food stores or easily order it online from platforms like Amazon. It’s not only useful for this dish but also for many other delicious recipes in Asian cooking, such as tapioca dumplings (Banh Bot Loc), Fried Rice Flour Cake (Bot Chien), Tapioca Dessert and our common tapioca pearls in milk tea.

Is it possible to substitute cornstarch for tapioca starch? My answer is that you shouldn’t replace it with cornstarch in this recipe. In another article, I did a comparison between tapioca and cornstarch, and one of the most significant differences is in texture. Tapioca starch tends to create a clearer, glossier, and chewier texture compared to cornstarch. Cornstarch, on the other hand, results in an opaque appearance and lacks the chewy texture, making it more suitable for thickening purposes. In this copycat Haidilao Prawn Paste Recipe, we require the unique attributes of tapioca starch, namely its chewiness and clear texture, so it’s the better choice.

How to make homemade Haidilao Prawn Paste?

I made the paste from frozen prawns, so let me share the preparation steps from frozen prawns until it’s done.

Step 1. Preparation

  • If you’re using frozen prawns, be sure to thaw them properly. Avoid using a microwave to thaw them, as it can partially cook the prawns. To make prawn paste, all the prawns must be fresh and uncooked. The best method is to rinse frozen pranwns under water.
  • Peel the skin, remove the head, and devein the black line on top of it if it is still present.
Homemade Haidilao Prawn Paste
Peel prawn
  • Put your peeled prawns in the freezer (yes, the freezer) for 10 minutes to quickly chill them. Set a timer to ensure they don’t freeze completely.

Step 2. Blending the prawns

  • Begin by blending the chilled prawns in a blender for 2-3 minutes, or until they turn into a very smooth paste.
  • After blending, remove the paste from the blender and transfer it to a bowl. Cover the surface of the paste with plastic wrap, making sure to directly cover the paste itself rather than just covering the bowl. Place it back in the freezer for another 10 minutes to chill it completely after blending.
blend prawn paste

Step 3. Mixing with egg white and tapioca starch

  • Remove the shrimp paste from the freezer, and then add 20 grams of egg whites and 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch (8 grams) to it.
  • Use a fork or spoon to quickly mix the shrimp until you achieve a smooth mixture. Remember to maintain the chilled temperature throughout the process.
Homemade Haidilao Prawn Paste

Step 4. Shaping

At Haidilao, prawn paste is typically shaped into a leaf, so I followed suit and shaped it accordingly.

  • To prevent the paste from sticking, transfer it onto a flat plate and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Then, shape it into a leaf-like form. Lastly, you can use a chopstick or toothpick to create the veins on the leaf.
Homemade Haidilao Prawn Paste
The green color at the vein is from pandan leaves extract, it’s optional.

Step 4. Dropping into hot pot

  • When enjoying homemade Prawn Paste with hotpot, use a spoon to portion out the paste and drop it into the boiling hotpot broth. It will cook quickly in just 3 minutes. Once cooked, the prawn paste balls will float to the surface of the broth. You can dip the prawn paste in any type of hot pot broth, vegan or non-vegan, depending on your taste preferences.
  • Then, you can eat the prawn paste alongside vegetables, fresh prawns, beef, clams, or squid.

Storing Homemade Prawn Paste

Since the prawn paste is fresh, it’s best not to store it for more than 2 days. If you need to keep it for a longer period, you can freeze it. However, when thawing, make sure to do so naturally at room temperature, avoiding the use of a microwave, as prawn paste can easily be overcooked in a microwave.

Easy, isn’t it? Make it and savor your hotpot right in the comfort of your home!

Homemade Haidilao Prawn Paste

Homemade Haidilao Prawn Paste

Yield: 1 portion
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

We tried making a homemade version of Haidilao prawn paste, and it was amazing: simple ingredients and method, but 90% similar taste.

Ingredients

Instructions

Step 1. Preparation

  • If you're using frozen prawns, be sure to thaw them properly. Avoid using a microwave to thaw them, as it can partially cook the prawns. To make prawn paste, all the prawns must be fresh and uncooked. The best method is to rinse frozen pranwns under water.
  • Peel the skin, remove the head, and devein the black line on top of it if it is still present.Homemade Haidilao Prawn Paste
  • Put your peeled prawns in the freezer for 10 minutes to quickly chill them. Set a timer to ensure they don't freeze completely.

Step 2. Blending the prawns

  • Start to blend chilled prawns in blender for 2-3 minutes or until they become a very smooth paste.blend prawn paste
  • After blending, remove the paste from the blender and transfer it to a bowl. Cover the surface of the paste with plastic wrap, making sure to directly cover the paste itself rather than just covering the bowl. Place it back in the freezer for another 10 minutes to chill it completely after blending.

Step 3. Mixing with egg white and tapioca starch

  • Remove the shrimp paste from the freezer, and then add 20 grams of egg whites and 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch (8 grams) to it.
  • Use a fork or spoon to quickly mix the shrimp until you achieve a smooth mixture. Remember to maintain the chilled temperature throughout the process. Homemade Haidilao Prawn Paste

Step 4. Shaping

  • To prevent the paste from sticking, transfer it onto a flat plate and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Then, use your hands to shape it into a leaf-like form. Lastly, use a chopstick or a stick to create the veins on the leaf. Homemade Haidilao Prawn Paste

Step 4. Dropping into hot pot

  • When enjoying homemade Prawn Paste with hotpot, use a spoon to portion out the paste and drop it into the boiling hotpot broth. It will cook quickly in just 3 minutes. Once cooked, the prawn paste balls will float to the surface of the broth. You can dip the prawn paste in any type of hot pot broth, vegan or non-vegan, depending on your taste preferences.
  • Enjoy it alongside other ingredients like vegetables, fresh prawns, beef, clams, or squid.Homemade Haidilao Prawn Paste

Notes

You should have:

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 100g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 125

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