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Chef John's Spicy Shrimp Cakes

Rated as 4.71 out of 5 Stars

"I love Asian-style fish or shrimp cakes but almost never order them because I find there's too much filler or 'binder.' So if you want to enjoy shrimp cakes in their most pure form, give this recipe a try. It takes just a few minutes if you use your food processor. These little fried cakes are delicious served with Thai chili sauce."
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servings 302
Original recipe yields 8 servings (8 appetizer-size portions)


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  1. Place shrimp, garlic, cilantro, chili paste, brown sugar, salt, fish sauce, turmeric, and cayenne pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse on and off until mixture begins to break down. Scrape down the sides. Continue processing until mixture is very smooth but not pureed and moves around the bowl as a mass. Transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; press wrap against the surface of the shrimp paste. Refrigerate until mixture is chilled, 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Place panko crumbs on a plate. Scoop out equal size portions of shrimp and roll them around on the crumbs to coat. Shape into thin patties. Do this in batches.
  3. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, cook cakes in batches. Fry until golden brown and cakes spring back to the touch, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.


  • Cook's Notes:
  • If you don't have a food processor, just pile up the ingredients on a cutting and, using a large knife or cleaver, chop until you get a paste which actually takes less time and effort than you expect.
  • Start with 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. You can fry up a small bit to check for seasonings before shaping and cooking all the patties.
  • If you can't find sambal chili paste, you can use an equal amount of freshly minced hot peppers.
  • If you're using a deep fryer to cook the cakes, you can shape them into small balls instead of flat patties.
  • Serve these with Thai-Style Sweet Chili Sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 302 calories; 16.8 20.7 20.4 157 579 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 5
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This was really delicious. Mine came out a little crispier on the outside than shown on the video, but we loved them. I was using frozen shrimp, so I gave them a rough chop and put them in the...

Since we had 5 pounds of salad shrimp I used a pound and a half to make this wonderful dish. I put them in the food processor for a bit just to break them up. After that I pretty much went by th...

no matter how I cooked them the outside burns and the inside is soggy

Delicious!!! Love this recipe...easy to make and so impressive when guests drop by

I made this recipe with fresh/thawed shrimp. Neither one of us is a big eater but these shrimp paddies were GONE at the end of the meal with all the sides. I made baked sweet potatoes and a mix...