Sunday, November 6, 2011

Shrimp Balls and Dumplings

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Shrimps are usually not one of my favorite things to eat. As a child, I really had bad allergic reactions to crustaceans especially crabs. I remember my Dad's sister, Auntie Gonyang, coming for a visit every now and then and her choice of contraband on such occasions are crabs. I say contraband because she is not allowed to eat them. She almost always usually just came from a doctor's visit and was told a few hours before not to eat crabs and a few hours later, she is at the house eagerly awaiting for this treat with my Mom cooking the disallowed food item. Both she and my Dad are not supposed to be eating crabs since my Dad has his own allergies to them (which he happily shared with me) but they are happily munching along while me and my Mom would look on helplessly. 

Eventually, my allergic reaction to shrimps diminished and I could easily eat them now without having to take any medication. Crabs however, I avoid like the plague since I really still have bad allergic reactions to them. There is one exception however and if given the the chance to eat lobster for free, I'll happily take one of my allergy medicines and partake happily on such a feast. 

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
The recipe below is one I found online and have adjusted to suit my tastes. I've always loved the shrimp dumplings at the Canton house in Atlanta and this recipe is the closest thing in terms of flavor to the dish that I miss a lot. Granted that this recipe requires it to be fried in oil, I figured I could take the same recipe and use it in a dumpling and it will still be equally good. In this instance, I was proven right. 

Shrimp Balls and Dumplings - Adapted*
2 lb large shrimp (45), peeled and deveined
8 oz can water chestnuts (1 cup), rinsed and finely chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp pork lard
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tbsp 
ginger, peeled and grated 
2 tbsp green onions, finely chopped 
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
vegetable oil for frying

1. Pulse shrimp in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer 
to a large 

2. Add the water chestnuts, egg white, lard, rice wine, ginger, scallion, 
    salt, and cornstarch. Mix shrimp mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon 
    and throw it against side of bowl until combined well and compacted. 

3. Wet your hands with cold water and form teaspoons of shrimp mixture 
    into balls. Coat balls, one at a time, in panko, then arrange in 1 layer on 
    another wax-paper–lined tray.

4. Heat oil in a deep frying pan until the thermometer registers 375°F. Fry 

    balls in 4 batches, turning, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until golden and just 
    cooked through. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. 

When all shrimp balls are fried, reheat if needed on a rack, set in a shallow baking pan until just hot about 2 minutes on a preheated oven at 425°F. This usually never happens as they disappear quite quickly. 

I like to serve this with sweet chili sauce and steamed rice. As is, they are also good as an appetizer with a fruity white wine. 

Shrimp Dumplings

To make the dumplings, you will need an extra egg and round dumpling wrappers. If you feel like trying out both dishes, the recipe above makes about 25 dumplings and 12-two inch shrimp balls. 

1. Beat the egg with 2 tbsp water and brush one side of the wrapper. Do this 

2. Take about a tbsp of the mixture above and lay on the center of a 
    dumpling wrapper and gather the edges around the filling until you are 
    left with a small opening. Top with a small slice of shrimp. 

3. Repeat the procedure above until you have filled all the wrappers. Steam 
    for about 10 minutes and serve immediately. 

I like to serve my dumplings with a mixture of 2-3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp lemon juice, a drizzle of sesame oil and a few turns of black pepper.  

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