These shrimp cakes can be served as an appetizer or a main course. Even though at many Thai restaurants in Thailand, these cakes are paired with Chinese-style plum sauce, I prefer to serve them with Thai sweet chili sauce which you buy from the store or make at home easily.
Note: If you live in the United States, your cilantro most likely comes with no roots. Simply substitute with the same amount of cilantro stems.
- 2 pounds peeled shrimp, cold
- 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced (about 2 tablespoons minced)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 cilantro roots or 3 tablespoons finely-chopped cilantro stems (see note)
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- Approximately 2 cups of Japanese-style bread crumbs
- 2 quarts vegetable oil
Add shrimp garlic, salt, cilantro, white pepper, and baking powder to bowl of food processor. Pulse until smooth paste is formed, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Run processor continuously until mixture becomes smooth and sticky, about 15 seconds. Transfer shrimp mixture to a large bowl and refrigerate it for at least 10 minutes.
Place bread crumbs in a shallow pie plate. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or wok to 325°F as registered on an instant read or deep-frying thermometer.
Roughly divide the shrimp mixture in the bowl into four equal portions. Divide each portion again into four portions to form 16 equal piles.
Form each portion of shrimp mixture into a patty about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll each patty in the bread crumbs and gently lower it into the hot oil. The shrimp cakes puff up quite considerably in the oil, so make sure you don't overcrowd your frying vessel.
Flip the shrimp cakes over a few times while they're frying. Once they're golden brown, fish them out onto a paper towel-lined plate.
Serve the shrimp cakes immediately with Thai sweet chili sauce.