Orzo Prawn Cakes with Feta and Herb Sauce

These delicious Mediterranean-inspired prawn cakes are uniquely made with orzo pasta that not only binds all the ingredients but it also adds texture. Flavoured with Kalamata olives, fresh herbs, garlic and lemon, the mixture is shaped and coated with panko crumbs and seeds before deep-fried until crispy and golden. Served with a fragrant and creamy feta cheese and herb sauce, it makes for a light yet sophisticated mid-week meal.


Serves 6


Difficulty: A little effort

Preparation time: 50 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes



450g Pescanova Argentinean prawn meat

330ml (1⅓ cup / 210g) orzo pasta

15ml (1 tbsp) olive oil

1 (160g) large onion, grated

1 (4g) clove garlic, finely chopped

20ml (4 tsp) Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

10ml (2 tsp) parsley, finely chopped

10ml (2 tsp) basil, finely chopped

5ml (1 tsp) oreganum, finely chopped

5ml (1 tsp) chili flakes

30ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice

2.5ml (½ tsp) lemon zest

1 large egg

5ml (1 tsp) salt

2.5ml (½ tsp) black pepper, finely ground

sunflower oil, for deep-frying



750ml (3 cups) panko crumbs

125ml (½ cup) pumpkin seeds, chopped

125ml (½ cup) sunflower seeds, chopped

250ml (1 cup / 125g) cake flour

2.5ml (½ tsp) salt

4 large eggs, whisked



330ml (1⅓ cup / 170g) Danish feta, crumbled

80ml (⅓ cup / 80g) cream cheese, room temperature

15ml (1 tbsp) water

5ml (1 tsp) parsley, finely chopped + extra to serve

5ml (1 tsp) mint, finely chopped + extra to serve

5ml (1 tsp) dill, finely chopped + extra to serve

30ml (2 tbsp) pine nuts, toasted

olive oil, to drizzle



6 lemon wedges


  1. For the prawn cakes, bring a pot of water to the boil. Add the prawns and boil, 2½ minutes. Refresh in ice water and strain. Flake with a fork into bite size pieces and refrigerate until needed.
  2. Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente, 8 minutes. Rinse.
  3. Blend 250ml (1 cup) of the cooked pasta in a food processor with 15ml (1 tbsp) water until fine, 1½ minutes.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and sauté the onions until tender, 2 minutes.
  5. Combine the remaining orzo with the pureed orzo, sautéed onions, flaked prawns and rest of the ingredients for the prawn cakes. Form into 12 thick patties. Arrange on a tray lined with plastic wrap. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze, 30 minutes.
  6. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 180°C.
  7. For the crust, combine the panko, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Dip each frozen prawn cake into the seasoned flour and shake off the excess. Dip each into the whisked eggs and lastly into the panko mixture to coat evenly.
  8. Deep-fry the cakes until golden and crisp, 5 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper.
  9. For the sauce, combine the feta, cream cheese and water in a food processor and blend until smooth. Stir in the parsley, mint and dill. Spoon the sauce into a serving dish and top with the pine nuts and a drizzling of olive oil
  10. Serve the cakes topped with more herbs, if preferred, and add the sauce and lemon wedges on the side.


TIP:  For a lemon-flavoured sauce, add 15ml (1 tbsp) of lemon juice while blending the sauce in a food processor.


Wine pairing: Sauvignon Blanc, Helderberg region


Recipe by: Karla Strydom

Image by: Nické Spies

Wine pairing by: Siphokazi Mayaphi