Thai Shrimp Cake (Tod Mun Goong)

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Miranti’s blog The High Heel Gourmet is an excellent source for learning how to prepare authentic Thai food. Every recipe I’ve tried from her has been a success, and without ever having set foot in Thailand I somehow feel comfortable about the authenticity of the Thai dishes that I prepare guided by Miranti. There is a little series of Thai recipes coming up, as last Saturday we prepared and enjoyed four dishes from the High Heel Gourmet. The first one: Thai shrimp cakes. Click here for Miranti’s post about them. She serves them with a plum sauce, but we decided on homemade sweet chilli sauce instead.

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You might expect them to be very similar to Thai fish cakes, but they are in fact quite different. These shrimp cakes have a crispy outside made from panko breadcrumbs, but the ‘secret ingredient’ that gives them great depth of flavor as well as makes them very juicy is pork fat. These Thai shrimp cakes are quite easy to make, and the easiest of this series of four Thai recipes. They are also not very spicy at all, unless of course you serve them with a very hot and spicy dipping sauce.

Ingredients

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For 8 pieces

250 grams (9 oz) shrimp meat (shelled and deveined)

100 grams (3.5 oz) pork belly fat

20 grams (2 Tbsp) flour

1 egg

2 tsp palm sugar

1 Tbsp light soy sauce

1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper

1/2 tsp chopped cilantro root

1/2 Tbsp chopped garlic

panko bread crumbs

oil for frying

Preparation

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Combine 100 grams (3.5 oz) fat from pork belly with 1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper, 1/2 Tbsp chopped garlic and 1/2 tsp chopped cilantro root in the bowl of a food processor or blender.

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Process until smooth.

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Add 1 egg, 2 tsp palm sugar, 1 Tbsp light soy sauce, and 20 grams (2 Tbsp) flour, and 90 grams (3 oz) shrimp meat.

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Process until smooth.

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Add the remaining 160 grams (6 oz) shrimp meat.

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Pulse a few times only so the shrimp will have some texture left.

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Put a bit of the mixture in a bowl and cook it in the microwave. Taste whether it is seasoned to your liking. If not, add light soy sauce, salt, palm sugar, or freshly ground white pepper to your liking. You can prepare the mixture up to this point and refrigerate it until needed (not longer than 24 hours because it contains raw shrimp).

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When you are ready to fry, heat a generous amount of oil to 160ºC/320ºF in a wok or a deep fryer.

Divide the shrimp mixture into 8 equal portions (about 2 Tbsp each). Drop a portion of the shrimp mixture on a layer of panko…

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…and sprinkle panko on the top as well. Carefully lift the panko-covered uncooked shrimp cake with your hands. The mixture is not firm, but you can keep it in shape with your hands. Thanks to the panko, there are no sticking issues.

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Carefully lower into the hot oil, and fry until golden brown on all sides, turning over the shrimp cake as needed. Repeat until you have used up all of the shrimp mixture.

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If all goes well and you maintain an oil temperature of 160ºC/320ºF, the shrimp cakes should be just cooked through by the time they are golden brown. Allow to drain on paper towels before serving.

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Serve hot with a dipping sauce of your choice.

Wine pairing

We enjoyed these with an off-dry Gewurztraminer from Alsace. The choice of wine depends heavily on the dipping sauce, which in our cases was a Thai sweet chilli sauce with crushed peanuts.

Flashback

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Some dishes are so simple you don’t really need a recipe to make them. But that doesn’t mean they’re not delicious. Italian cuisine is full of such recipes. Veal scaloppine with Marsala takes less than five minutes to prepare and is a classic recipe that you can find in restaurants all over Italy (and in fact, in Italian restaurants all over the world). Veal scaloppine are quickly browned, the pan is deglazed with marsala (a fortified wine from Sicily), and the scaloppine are returned to the pan briefly to finish cooking them and coat them with the sauce. That’s all, and it’s remarkably good for such a simple recipe.

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13 thoughts on “Thai Shrimp Cake (Tod Mun Goong)

    1. I did use the same amount of sugar and didn’t think they were noticeably sweet. It is also nice with the wine, as off-dry wines are great with Thai food. Miranti often specifies a range for sugar or fish sauce, and in those cases I start with the lowest amount and only add more after tasting. But in this case there was no range.

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  1. Love Thai food and what you’ve done with this recipe! I hope you’re doing well Stefan! I wanna get more into making Thai food at home but I’m still in my Chinese and Japanese stage 🙂

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    1. I’m good and I hope so are you. We are finally having some summer weather, which was about time. If you do get into Thai food, Miranti’s blog is the place to go. All my Thai recipes come from there (it may be useful to read my version too, as that may clear up some details).

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      1. I always read your versions 🙂 I’ll give that blog a shot! Glad to hear you’re enjoying the weather. It is getting really hot here in Vancouver, I miss spring time.

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  2. I am certain this tasted lovely but if I may take the ‘opposite view’ in a very friendly manner [and I have been to Thailand many, many times, do cook the authentic food, have about a dozen classical and modern Thai cookery books and even Googled before I commented] there is very little Thai about this recipe 😀 !! Glad you enjoyed the tastes tho’ !!!

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      1. 🙂 ! None intended! Never ever ever engage in such!!!! As a medico and nutritionist amongst other ‘hats’ cannot anyways!! Geography may come into play! I did look up the lady’s blog: The US tastes in Asian recipes quite often markedly differ from what we in Australia as a virtually ‘Asian-Pacific country’ use and a large proportion of us who are able to travel do so to Asia: almost all of our food bloggers are also Asian. I largely bow to their knowledge but apologize to you if I have stirred up a hornet’s nest 😀 !!

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        1. No problem, I just thought it was funny as Miranti is a born Thai and, as you may have noticed on her blog, quite a character. She is also very passionate about what is authentic Thai and what is not.
          I suspect there may be a regional thing going on — similar to the non-existence of “Italian” food (according to every Italian, only his/her mother prepares things the right way, which creates heavy debates on forums that I love to read). I did notice that, apart from the dipping sauce, the flavors of these shrimp cakes don’t seem to be very typical. I wonder if Miranti is going to read this and chime in 😉

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