Prawn Dipping Sauces

Prawn Dipping Sauces

December 22, 2019
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An Aussie Christmas isn’t the same without a big bucket of prawns. I recommend you try your hand at making your own prawn dipping sauces; they’re fast, fresh and easy to make. Choose from: Seafood Cocktail Sauce, Tartare, Vietnamese Dipping Sauce and a Greek Garlic Sauce (Skordalia).

Prawn Dipping Sauces

Like many Aussie families, our Christmas lunches always include seafood, and it’s around this time that prawns really shine. They’re sweet, delicate and their firm meaty flesh makes them perfectly suited for dipping into sauces.

Store bought sauces may be convenient, but they simply don’t have the freshness and natural taste of homemade sauces. They are incredibly easy and fast to make, roughly 5 minutes per sauce, and you know exactly what goes into them. Here they are:

Tartare Sauce

Highly popular, Tartare sauce is a mayonnaise-based sauce that’s chunky, tangy and is enhanced with other ingredients such as capers, gherkins, shallots, parsley and lemon juice. I also like to add a mashed anchovy for extra flavour. Anchovies are one of those polarising ingredients; people either love them or hate them, I love them!!

Seafood Cocktail Sauce

PInk and creamy, Seafood Cocktail Sauce basically consists of mayonnaise and tomato sauce/ketchup. If you prefer a more subtle sauce that lets the flavour of the prawns shine through, then this sauce is for you. To zoosh things up a bit, l’ve added a dash of tabasco and cayenne pepper (note 1).

Prawn Dipping Sauces
Greek Garlic Sauce (Skordalia)

A non mayonnaise-based sauce that’s creamy, punchy and has a distinct garlicky flavour. Traditionally, it’s made with either day-old bread or boiled potatoes. I follow my mother’s recipe and make it with bread, olive oil, garlic, vinegar and salt, then blitz it for a few seconds. I plan to reshoot photos of this sauce as l don’t think l’ve done it justice. It’s one of those sauces that looks a little bland but is really a powerhouse of flavour.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

The colour and flavours of this sauce are a great contrast to the other sauces and once again no mayonnaise!!

Prawn Dipping Sauces

May your Christmas be happy and full of fun (and don’t worry about the calories) 🎉


Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 3/4 – 1 cup


Tartare Sauce

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (note 2)
  • 2 tsp chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp capers, chopped
  • 2 tsp shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp cornichons/baby gherkins, chopped
  • 1 tsp parsley, finely chopped
  • optional: 1 anchovy fillet, mashed (note 3)
  • 1 – 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Seafood Cocktail Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce/ketchup
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp horseradish cream (store bought)
  • 1/4 tsp tabasco sauce
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Greek Garlic Sauce (Skordalia)

  • 4 slices day old bread, crusts removed
  • 1/2 tsp grated garlic
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt to taste

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

  • 2tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp warm water
  • 1 tsp grated garlic
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp oil (any type)
  • optional: 2 drops sesame oil (note 4)
  • 1 small red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp coriander, finely chopped


For Tartare and Seafood Cocktail Sauce

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Have a taste and adjust salt.

For Greek Garlic Sauce (Skordalia)

  1. Soak the bread in water. Gently squeeze out the excess water by pressing between the palms of your hands. Tear the bread into smaller pieces.
  2. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Blitz for a few seconds. Don’t blend too long or the sauce will become gluey. If sauce seems too thick or lumpy, add a little warm water.
  3. Add salt to taste.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

  1. Place all ingredients, except the coriander, in a bowl. Mix to combine.
  2. Sprinkle finely chopped coriander on top.


  1. Marie Rose is another dipping sauce which is very similar to Seafood Cocktail Sauce; in fact l had trouble trying to work out how they differ as in some recipes they’re indistinguishable. Store bought Seafood Cocktail Sauce is more red than pink due to the ratio of tomato sauce/ketchup to mayonnaise. If you’d like your sauce to have a deeper colour, simply add more tomato sauce/ ketchup.
  2. I buy Hellmann’s mayonnaise.
  3. Anchovies are pretty salty, so have a taste before you add salt to the dipping sauce.
  4. A little sesame oil goes a long way, so please use sparingly. You can taste the difference with only 2 drops.

How Many Prawns to Buy

Two dipping sauces would be adequate for 2 kg/4.5 lbs of cooked prawns. I suggest choosing sauces with contrasting colours and flavours. For example, Vietnamese Dipping Sauce + Tartare Sauce.

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