Spicy and flavorful, Thai shrimp cakes are a hot favorite at most Thai restaurants and food joints everywhere. In Thailand, you can find hawkers selling them fresh on busy street corners. These shrimp cakes are generally served as appetizers but work well as an accompaniment to a meal.
They are rather like patties but packed with Asian flavors like lemongrass, fish sauce and red chillies. You can satisfy your craving for shrimp cakes by trying out this recipe at home. Avoid adding potato or flour to the mixture if you want the authentic version.
Servings: Makes 10-12
Preparation Time: 50 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-20 minutes
200 grams of shrimp
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs (optional)
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
2 red chillies, chopped fine (or) 2 tablespoons of red curry paste
1 tbsp of fish sauce
2 tbsps of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
2 tbsps minced spring onions
1/4 tsp of minced fresh ginger root (optional)
1 tender stalk of lemongrass, chopped (or) 1 teaspoon of lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut milk or 3 tablespoons of dry coconut
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup of green beans, finely diced
1 large egg
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
Shrimp cakes taste good when they are made out of fresh shrimp. However, if fresh shrimp is not available, you can use the frozen kind, even if the texture differs a little. Wash, peel and devein the shrimps. Chop them into small pieces. You can pop them into the refrigerator while you get the rest of the mixture ready. This recipe uses a food processor to blend the ingredients a couple of times so that the flavors all come together with ease. Or you can simply combine them in a large bowl with the help of a spatula. This works only if the ingredients are finely chopped. Pulsing in a food processor not only blends the ingredients well but also makes it easier to shape the mixture into patties. Add the red chillies (or red curry paste), fish sauce, coriander, minced onion, lemongrass (or lime juice), egg, coconut milk (or dried coconut), garlic and salt in the food processor. Pulse 3 times and then add the shrimp. Pulse a few times more and spoon the mixture into a medium sized bowl.
Add the chopped beans, red pepper and minced ginger to the shrimp mixture. Stir well. You can make the shrimp cakes immediately or allow the mixture to marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator. It can be prepared 2 nights in advance and refrigerated till you need it. Take about 2 tablespoons of the shrimp mixture and shape into small, flat patties. Once you have about 10-12 small patties, roll each one in the breadcrumbs and set aside on a plate.
Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium flame. Slowly place each patty in the hot oil. Allow one side to brown and then gently turn over. Once both sides are cooked, remove the patty from the pan with a slotted spoon and place it on tissue paper to drain the excess oil. Cook the shrimp cakes in batches. These cakes are best served with a crunchy green salad or a sweet and sour sauce.