Shrimp toast is a tasty appetizer and it is easy to make. Only a few fairly common ingredients are needed. Having researched recipes on the Internet and in my Chinese cookbook I put together my ideas of the best combination of ingredients, processing and frying. I added a scallion for taste and appearance, and I decided to process some of the ingredients in a blender for the best texture. The results were great.
The frying of bread in peanut oil does make this appetizer higher in fat content than typical Chinese foods, so my advice is simply to limit the amount served per person.
Ingredients: (6 generous servings, two pieces per person)
½ lb. of shelled deveined fresh raw shrimp
5 water chestnuts, sliced or whole
1 tsp. of fresh ginger root (or more), minced, or equivalent bottled minced ginger.
1 or 2 scallions, finely diced
1 large egg
1 ½ tsp. of cornstarch
1 or 2 tsp. of medium dry sherry wine
½ tsp. of sea salt
Dash of black pepper
6 slices of day old (stale) white bread (moist bread absorbs too much oil)
3 cups of peanut oil (for frying)
Chop and then dice half of the raw shrimp and set it aside on a saucer. Chop the other half of the shrimp and put it into a one quart bowl.
Chop the water chestnuts and add them to the bowl.
Mince the ginger (or use pre-purchased minced bottled ginger) and add it to the bowl.
Finely dice the scallion(s) and place the pieces on the saucer with the diced shrimp.
Break the egg into the bowl.
Add the cornstarch, sherry, salt and pepper to the bowl.
Put all of the bowl contents into a blender and blend on high speed for two minutes.
Empty the blender contents back into the bowl.
Heat the oil in a medium to large non-stick skillet on medium heat where the depth of the oil is limited to about ½ inch. You can vary the amount of oil used based on the size of the skillet.
Cut the crusts from the bread slices. Discard the crusts.
Cut each bread slice into two triangular pieces.
Mix the blender contents in the one quart bowl with the reserved diced shrimp and scallion with a wooden spoon. Mix thoroughly.
Coat one side of each triangle of bread with the shrimp mixture so that all of the mixture is used on the twelve triangular pieces of bread. The coating will be about ¼" to 3/8" thick. Put each piece on a plate as it is coated.
Use a frying or candy thermometer to check the temperature of the oil. It should be heated to 365ºF. Adjust the heat as necessary.
Note: The various shrimp toast recipes call for oil that is very hot, even smoking, but I determined that method to be overkill as it is too easy to burn the bread rather than fry it to a golden crispy color. This is especially true since the frying is done one side after the other instead of doing deep fat frying. The purpose of using very hot oil is to reduce the amount of oil absorbed by the bread, but too hot is too hot, period. After adjusting our oil temperature down from smoking to 365º F we got superior results and nice crispy shrimp toast.
Use a thin polymer spatula to introduce each piece of the shrimp toast into the oil. Do only four pieces at a time as one batch. The easy way to do it is to dip the spatula into the hot oil and then put a piece of coated bread coated side down onto the spatula. Then slide the piece from the spatula with a fork into the hot oil.
By the time four pieces have been put into the hot oil it is time to start turning them over. Give each piece no more than one to two minutes on the first side and one minute after turning it over or it will become too dark.
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove each piece of shrimp toast quickly onto a plate with a double paper towel on it to absorb excess oil. Do not put the pieces on top of each other. Use additional paper towels for each stacked batch so that the toast is crisp and well drained of excess oil.
When all the batches are done the paper towels can be removed and the shrimp toast pieces placed in one layer, on top of one fresh paper towel. The plate can be put into a 200ºF oven and held for up to an hour prior to being served … or, you can serve the shrimp toast immediately.
Remember to turn the heat off under the skillet. Enjoy!