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Mar 14, 2010


I remember this delicious appetizer from the Chinese restaurant at the Bengal Club (Calcutta). Dilip-Jethu (Dilip-Uncle) recommends it to anyone dining there with him. So when I saw Shrimp Toast on the appetizier menu at Pho Lemongrass in Coolidge Corner, I was excited and told K that it was worth a try. K loved it. So when we went back there we ordered it again. In the meantime he keeps bugging me to try making it myself at home. Quite by accident, I found a recipe for ‘Shrimp Toast’ in an old Oriental cookbook that I had bought at the local library annual book sale in Kingston, RI, while I was reorganising my cookbooks. Now I had to give it a try.

For a long time after my calamari debacle in our old Kingston, RI apartment, I steered clear of any deep-frying. Never before in my life had we had to use a fire extinguisher. Oh the very memory of hot oil spilling over the sides of my pan and catching fire on the red-hot heating element, then flames from all over my stove range, K putting it all out with the extinguisher after I started to panic, anf finally cleaning the entire mess up — all that was plenty to make me wary of deep frying. But my courage was growing back again. And the last time I deep-fried – to make crab rangoons at home – I had no trouble whatsoever. So I decided to have a go! And am I glad that I did. K says my Shrimp Toast is better than the restaurant. We made an entire dinner out of the appetizer and had some left for shrimp balls. This is a true winner! Serve with some cold beer.


Click here for printable recipe

1/2 lb shrimp, thawed if using frozen, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp fish sauce (I used soy sauce because I didn’t have fish sauce)
1.5 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp salt (omit if using regular soy sauce)
1/8 tsp pepper
1/3 cup finely minced onions
4 medium (or 2 large) garlic cloves, minced
12 slices day-old white bread (to make it even classier, use a loaf of fresh French baguette, sliced on a bias)
1 small bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped roughly
oil for deel frying

1 Tbsp honey
1.5 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes

1. Toast the slices of bread slightly. Cut each slice through the middle so you have 2 triangles per slice.

2. Chop shrimp into very small pieces. Alternatively pulse a few times in the food processor. You want small chunks but not a paste.

3. Transfer the shrimp into a big bowl. Add all the other ingredients in and fold to mix.

4. Spread the shrimp mixture onto one side of each piece of bread in a layer of thin to medium thichkness.

5. Heat oil to 375F for deep frying. While the oil is heating, mix the dipping sauce ingredients together and mix to combine the honey and water into a uniform mixture.

6. Fry the bread, inserting them shrimp side into the hot oil, a few pieces at a time, until both sides are browned, about 1-2 minutes each side.

7. Remove the pieces using a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towels to drain off any excess oil.

8. Serve with the dipping sauce and some cold beer. Enjoy!


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