Shrimp toast often gets a bad rap as greasy, but if you make it at home, it's a delightfully crispy and flavorful Chinese appetizer that's perfect for game days and get-togethers. Making them is not hard, and they can even be prepared ahead of time, but the trick is to fry them just before you plan to serve them so they're piping hot and ultra-crisp.
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Why This Recipe Works?
- By hand chopping half of the shrimp and pureeing the remaining shrimp into a paste, you get two textures of shrimp in every bite.
- Adding onions to the shrimp paste gives the shrimp a mild sweetness, a great contrast to the savory toast.
- The addition of ground pork adds some fat to the shrimp mixture, which keeps it moist even after being fried.
- Shallow frying the shrimp toasts in relatively hot oil and draining the bread-side on paper towels keeps the dish from getting greasy.
Ingredients for Shrimp Toast
- Bread - Shrimp toast can be made with any kind of bread, but sandwich bread makes for a light crispy appetizer, and I think it works best for this dish. If you do use a more dense bread like a baguette, be sure to slice it thinner.
- Shrimp - You don't need to get fancy shrimp for this. I used small frozen shrimp that were already shelled and deveined for convenience. If you buy shell-on shrimp, here's how to clean and devein it.
- Pork - I like to add a small amount of ground pork to my shrimp toast for two reasons. The first is that it contributes some fat, ensuring the shrimp paste stays juicy. The second reason is that it adds more umami to the shrimp paste. It is an optional ingredient; you can leave it out if you want.
- Onion - Shrimp toast is generally made with scallions, but I prefer using onions because they add a subtle sweetness to the shrimp paste.
- Ginger - Ginger smooths over any fishy notes from the shrimp while adding a mildly spicy kick.
- Shaoxing wine - Shoaoxing wine adds flavor and umami to the shrimp filling. If you can't find it, sake will make a suitable alternative.
- Toasted sesame oil - The nutty flavor of toasted sesame oil is the perfect complement to the savory shrimp.
- White pepper - White pepper is a divisive ingredient that not everyone loves, so if you're not a fan, you can leave it out or substitute black pepper or chili flakes.
- Egg white - Egg white acts as a binding agent and traps air bubbles, making the shrimp paste light and fluffy.
- Potato starch - Potato starch is another binding agent that helps the shrimp paste retain its juices.
- Thai sweet chili sauce - I like to serve my shrimp toast with sweet chili sauce for dipping, but this is optional.
How to Make Shrimp Toast
You first want to divide the shrimp and hand-chop one half into bite-sized pieces. This enables you to retain the springy texture of whole shrimp in the paste.
Toss the remaining shrimp into a food processor along with the pork, onion, ginger, potato starch, egg white, Shaoxing wine, toasted sesame oil, salt, and pepper, and then process the mixture until it forms a creamy mousse.
Fold the hand-chopped shrimp together with the shrimp paste in a bowl until the mixture is uniform.
Split the shrimp mixture between the four slices and bread and spread evenly. It's okay if the layer is slightly thicker towards the middle than the edges.
Once the shrimp paste is spread on the bread, you can cut the toasted into triangles, squares, or strips. Use a sharp knife and clean the blade with a damp paper towel after each cut. You can cut the crusts off the bread at this point if you like.
Prepare a wire cooling rack with several layers of paper towels and heat ½ inch of vegetable oil in a pan until it reaches 360°F (180°C).
Fry the shrimp toast with the shrimp side down until the edges start to brown. This should take about two minutes. Next, flip the toasts and crisp the bread side before transferring them to the prepared rack with the bread side down to drain.
Serve the shrimp toasts while they're hot.
Other Finger Food Recipes
Shrimp Toast (蝦多士 - haa dō si), also known as "prawn toast" in some countries, is a dish that was created in Hong Kong, melding British and Chinese influences. It's generally made by spreading a seasoned shrimp paste onto sandwich bread and then frying the whole thing. It can also be made by sandwiching shrimp paste between two layers of bread. The shrimp paste can be uncovered, or it can be breaded with panko or sesame seeds. Over the years, it has become a popular appetizer in Chinese restaurants worldwide.
To make oven-baked shrimp toasts, brush both sides of the toasts with vegetable oil and place them on a baking sheet. Bake in an oven preheated to 360°F (180°C) until they're golden brown and crisp.
You can air fry these shrimp toasts by brushing both the shrimp side and bread side of the toasts with vegetable oil and then placing them in a single layer in the basket. Frying times will vary depending on your air fryer, but you should be able to go by the color of the toasts.
You can prepare the shrimp toast up to the point they're ready to fry. These can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. If you want to make them even further in advance, you can freeze them on a tray before storing them in a freezer bag once they're frozen solid. If you freeze them, I recommend deep frying them straight out of the freezer in 340°F (170°C) oil (instead of shallow frying them).
- 250 grams shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 60 grams ground pork
- 60 grams onion (chopped)
- 5 grams fresh ginger (peeled and sliced)
- 1 tablespoon potato starch
- 1 large egg white (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper to taste
- 4 slices sandwich bread
- vegetable oil (for frying)
- cilantro (chopped for garnish)
- Thai sweet chili sauce for dipping
- Chop half of the shrimp into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the rest of the shrimp to a food processor along with the pork, onion, ginger, potato starch, egg white, Shaoxing wine, toasted sesame oil, salt, and white pepper. Process until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.
- Add the mixture to a bowl with the hand-chopped shrimp and fold together until the chopped shrimp is evenly distributed.
- Divide the shrimp mixture into 4 sections and spread each section onto 1 slice of bread in an even layer.
- Cut the bread into triangles or squares (clean the knife with a damp paper towel between cuts).
- Heat ½ inch of oil in a frying pan until it reaches 360°F (180°C).
- Add the shrimp toasts, shrimp-side down, and shallow fry until the edges start to brown (about 2 minutes).
- Flip the toasts over and fry until the bread side has browned and crisped.
- When the shrimp toasts are cooked, transfer them to a wire rack lined with a few sheets of paper towels with the bread-side down to drain.
- Serve the crispy shrimp toasts while hot with sweet chili sauce for dipping.