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.
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.
250 grams (9 oz) shrimp meat (shelled and deveined)
100 grams (3.5 oz) pork belly fat
20 grams (2 Tbsp) flour
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
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).
Divide the shrimp mixture into 8 equal portions (about 2 Tbsp each). Drop a portion of the shrimp mixture on a layer of panko…
…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.
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.
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.