vietnamese-style crispy shrimp cakes

prep time:  tbd
cook time:  tbd
servings:  14 cakes

1 pound shelled large shrimp - coarsely chopped
1/4 cup cornstarch + more for dusting
2 tablespoon minced lemon grass (tender inner stalk only)
2 garlic cloves - minced
2 serrano or jalapeno chile peppers - seeded and minced
4 scallions - thinly sliced, white and light green part separated from dark green tops
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup asian fish sauce
finely grated zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 - 3 limes)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

1.  in the bowl of a food processor, combine shrimp, cornstarch, lemon grass, garlic, chiles, white and light green scallion bottoms, 2 teaspoon sugar and salt.  pulse until mixture forms a coarse paste.

2.  in a small bowl, whisk together fish sauce, lime zest and juice, 1 tablespoon sugar and the dark green scallion tops.

3.  heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  wet hands to keep shrimp paste from sticking.  from 2 tablespoons of shrimp mixture into a 1/2-inch thick patty.  dust patty with cornstarch.  repeat with remaining batter.  fry patties in batches until golden brown, 2 - 3 minutes per side.

4.  serve over rice noodles.  drizzle with fish sauce mixture and strewn with cilantro.

- new york times, february 2013

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