Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hundred Corner Shrimp Balls with Apricot Dipping Sauce

Okay, I know in the past I've said "fry a sock and it will taste good", but these are sooo much better than fried socks! (Especially the thick, chewy wool ones.) While I was making these little dim sum treats, one of them accidentally rolled onto the floor, so I threw it away. I didn't think much of it at the time, but after I tasted them, I was cursing myself out for letting one get away. That's how much I like them.

The outside is crispy, the inside is warm and almost creamy (except for the awesome welcome crunch from the water chestnuts). The dipping sauce is sweet and tangy. I feel comfortable guaranteeing you that these will be a big hit at your next party. And when I say guarantee, you don't actually get anything if your friends don't like them (so you can take your finger off your lawyer's speed dial).

Makes approx. 60 hors d'oeuvres

1 1/2 lb. large shrimp (30), peeled and deveined
1 (8 oz.) can water chestnuts (1 cup), rinsed and finely chopped
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or Scotch
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion greens
2 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
8 cups vegetable oil for frying

1.      Pulse shrimp in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl, then stir in water chestnuts, egg white, rice wine, ginger, scallion, salt, and cornstarch. Beat shrimp mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon and throw it against side of bowl until combined well and compacted. Wet your hands with cold water and form teaspoons of shrimp mixture into balls, arranging in 1 layer on a wax-paper–lined tray. Coat balls, 1 at a time, in panko, then arrange in 1 layer on another wax-paper–lined tray.

2.      Preheat oven to 425° F.  Set a rack in the middle of the oven.

3.      Heat oil in a 5-quart pot to 375° F. Fry balls in 4 batches, turning, for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until golden and just cooked through. (Return oil to 375° F. between batches.) Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. When all shrimp balls are fried, place on a metal rack set inside a shallow baking pan and reheat until just hot, about 2 minutes.

Note: Shrimp balls may be coated and fried 1 day ahead, cooled completely, then chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before reheating on a wire rack on a sheetpan (so the bottoms don't get soggy). 

adapted from Gourmet, February 2000 (originally adapted from Nina Simonds)

shrimp in food processor
pulsed shrimp paste
ginger root (a microplane works great for grating)
water chestnuts
all the ingredients
raw shrimp balls
rolling in panko
rolled, raw shrimp balls
fried shrimp balls
shrimp balls served

 Makes about 2 cups

1 3/4 cups apricot jam
2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
3 tablespoons finely chopped scallion greens
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste
dash of tabasco, or to taste

Melt jam in a small saucepan. Stir in remaining ingredients with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm. Can be made 2 days ahead, cooled, then chilled, covered. Reheat sauce over low heat, stirring.

from Gourmet, February 2000 (originally adapted from Nina Simonds)
apricot jam
dipping sauce in pan
shrimp ball going for a dip

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