Why It Works
- Processing half the shrimp while leaving larger chunks gives the cakes more texture.
- They're the ideal size for passed appetizers or a party snack.
- The chili sauce is a simple but effectively tangy dip!
We love making shrimp cakes as a full dinner—they're a lot cheaper than crab cakes and work with a good variety of flavor combinations. Here we miniaturize them down to party-appetizer size, combine them with some Thai flavors, and serve them with a tangy chili dip.
- 1 pound (500g) medium or large shrimp, shelled and de-veined
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or grated
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- Large handful fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems (plus extra for garnish)
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons (20g) cornstarch
- 1 large egg white
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup (100 to 200g) panko-style breadcrumbs
- Peanut or canola oil, for frying
- 1 recipe Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce (see note)
Coarsely chop shrimp into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside. Reserve a few tablespoons of sliced scallion greens for serving.
Combine garlic, jalapeño, remaining scallions, cilantro, lime zest, and a large pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is finely minced. Add half of the shrimp, the mayo, the cornstarch, and the egg white. Pulse until the mixture forms a coarse paste, about 5 or 6 pulses. Add the remaining shrimp and pulse two or three times to combine everything. Some of the shrimp will be chunkier.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add 1/4 cup of the panko breadcrumbs. Fold in with a spatula or your hands. The mixture should be soft and should just hold its shape if you form a ball. If it’s too soft, add more breadcrumbs a little at a time until a ball just holds together. It will stiffen up more when it gets cold. Chill mixture for at least 30 minutes and up to a day.
Once chilled, use wet hands and a tablespoon (or portioning scoop) to form the mixture into bite-sized patties. Transfer to a large plate as you go. When all the patties are formed, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Fry patties in batches until golden brown and cooked through, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes total.
Serve warm, scattered with cilantro and finely sliced scallions along with dipping sauce.
In place of homemade chili sauce, you can use store-bought sauce doctored up with some fish sauce and lime juice to taste.