What's the secret? He uses pulverized rice cakes as a binder, writes Melissa Clark.
Whether these are small spicy Thai shrimp patties Fish sauce, Vietnamese shrimp paste wrapped on sugarcane or South American shrimp burgers topped with mayonnaise, savory shrimp cakes are a tasty staple in coastal regions around the world.
Unsurprisingly, their flavors vary depending on where they are made.ues. You'll find them spicy like white pepper in China, chili peppers in Latin America, or Old Bay seasonings in South Carolina. Image The patties are topped with fresh basil and cilantro for brightness and chili peppers for the heat. Credit ... Davi d Malosh for Hfrance.fr. Food stylist: Simon Andrews.
Another point of difference is the binder - or lack thereof. Some traditional recipes ignore this, mashing and pounding the shrimp until they stick on their own. The result is a firm, bouncy texture after cooking, with pleasant chewing. Other recipes mix eggs, flour, fecesule of corn, bread or cracker crumbs, or rice in shrimp batter, resulting in airier, crumbly, and easier to brown cakes when cooked over high heat ( usually fried, pan-fried or grilled).
In my somewhat non-traditional take, I 've linked the dough with something else entirely: pulverized crumbs from puffed and crispy rice cakes.
While this might not sound intuitive, it does make sense, given that rice and crackers are binders currents. Rice cakes simply combine the two. You get the mild flavor and gluten-free qualities of the rice as well as the crispness of the crackers. Image Mayonnaise, mixed with basil, coriandre, chili and fish sauce, serves as a satisfying dip. Credit ... David Malosh for Hfrance.fr. Food stylist: Simon Andrews.
Make sure to use the type of rice pebbles here ( thick or thin), those that vaguely resemble popcorn or styrofoam. While you can mash smooth, waffled rice crackers for this, shrimp cakes won't be as airy. The beauty of rice cakes is how all that air trapped in the puffed rice gives the shrimp cakes a lighter, more ethereal texture.
For make the crumbs, grind the rice cakes in a food processor or blender. Then the prawns and the herbs (I use a mixture of garlic, basil, cilantro andchillies) can be mixed in the same container, no need to wash it first.
Cooling the dough for at least an hour (or overnight) makes it easier the formation of cakes. And fried cakes freeze pretty well, although they won't be as crispy after thawing. Grilling them helps restore them.
I like to serve them with a herbal and spicy mayonnaise that looks a bit like tartar sauce, but more spicy. Then I nibble them hot in the pan and dream of the beach.
Recipe: Crispy Shrimp Cakes With Chili-Lime Mayo
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