Recipe: Fresh Catering’s Popcorn Shrimp with Spicy Garlic Sauce

The highly reputable Sydney-based company Fresh Catering have been invited back by Opera Australia – after successful partnerships during Carmen and La Traviata – and given the massive task of creating an exquisite dining menu for this year’s Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Madama Butterfly (which runs from March 21 to April 14 at Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquarie’s Point).

The catering company enjoys consistently raising the standards within the industry, doing so with a focus on excellence and creativity; as such, they have tailored a contemporary Japanese menu to offer throughout the season, truly completing the experience.

With a taste of the full menu right around the corner – being that opening night is tonight (Friday March 21) – Fresh Catering have provided the AU review with the recipe for one of the menu’s signature dishes:

Popcorn Shrimp with Spicy Garlic Sauce (makes 6 pieces)


  • Peeled Green Prawns (500g)
  • Rice Flour (120g)
  • Tapioca Flour (120g)
  • Soda Water (240ml)
  • Extra Rice Flour (to dust prawns)
  • Chilli Garlic Sauce “Lee Kum Kee” Brand(60g)
  • Mayonnaise (200g)
  • Limes (4)
  • Shallots (1/4 bunch)
  • Nori (4 sheets)
  • Chilli Powder (2g)


Preparation time: 20 minutes

  1.  Dice prawns and toss lightly in rice flour.
  2. Make Batter: Sieve rice and tapioca flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Gradually beat in the soda water until you make a batter, ensuring there are no lumps.
  3. Place diced prawns, which have been lightly dusted in rice flour, into the batter.
  4. Preheat a deep fryer to 180 degrees. Sprinkle the battered prawns into the deep fryer and fry until golden brown and crisp.
  5. Mix the chilli garlic sauce in with the mayonnaise, for the dipping sauce
  6. Blend the nori sheets and chilli powder and sprinkle on fried prawns.
  7. Serve the popcorn shrimp on a platter garnished with the shallots cut into julienne, a lime check and a small bowl of chilli mayonnaise.

This exciting range of food options is available from 5pm throughout the season and will be complimented by a range of satellite Sparkling and Oyster bars throughout the Opera precinct, offering a superb selection of beverages, oysters, edamame beans and other sweet and savoury delicacies. The food being served has a culinary tie-in with the Japanese love story at the heart of the classic Puccini tale. Each dish featured on the menus take inspiration from a variety of Japanese classics, drawing on traditional flavours while adding a contemporary Australian twist.

Fresh Catering’s menus also include: Miso Marinated Beef Fillet on Bok Choy & Enoki Mushrooms; Roasted Blue Eye Cod, Watercress & Silken Tofu; Fried Tofu & Soy Bean Salad; Salmon Teriyaki Salad and Cherry Blossom Parfait.

Recipe and image provided by Fresh Catering and used with permission


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.