These Thai shrimp cakes are super easy to make and are flavored with garlic, lime and cilantro. We dredge them in panko to make them really crispy!
We love a well put together fish cake. If we go out to eat and the restaurant has crab cakes on the menu, we snap them up. I used to make a similar kind of cake with salmon; a little more challenging since salmon doesn’t stick together as readily, and can overcook quickly. Once I tried it with shrimp, I haven’t gone back to the salmon version.
These Thai shrimp cakes have a lot of cilantro in them. Really, a lot. If you don’t like that flavor (20% of people don’t), you could add parsley and/or basil instead. Matt loves how green they are. They’re really tasty served on rice or rice noodles with this Vietnamese style Dipping Sauce. Sometimes I’ll serve them on slider buns with some Asian spicy mayo. I always, always serve them with a Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad on the side. So perfect together. I want them again right now!
Note: If you like them extra-crispy, dredge them in a little panko or cornstarch before frying. It gives them a crunchier crust but masks the shrimp flavor a little.
Thai Shrimp Cakes
- 1 pound shelled medium or large shrimp coarsely chopped, divided in 2
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1-2 jalapeño chile peppers seeded and minced
- 4 scallions sliced, white and green parts (separate 1 tbsp dark green tops for garnish)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves plus 1 tbsp for garnish
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime
- Peanut or canola oil for frying
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine garlic, chiles, scallions, cilantro, lime zest and salt. Pulse until everything is finely minced.
- Add half of the shrimp, mayo, cornstarch, and the egg white. Pulse until the mixture forms a course paste, about 5 or 6 pulses. Add the rest of the shrimp and pulse once or twice to combine everything. You want some of the shrimp to be chunkier.
- Move the mixture to a bowl and a 1/4 cup of the Panko breadcrumbs. The mixture should be soft but just hold a shape if you form it into a patty. If it’s too soft add breadcrumbs a little at a time until the consistency just holds together. It will stiffen up more when it gets cold.
- Chill mixture for 20 minutes. You can make the sauces in the meantime.
- Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Wet hands to keep shrimp paste from sticking. Form 2 tablespoons of shrimp mixture into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Repeat with remaining batter.
- If you want extra-crispy patties, dredge them in a little more panko or cornstarch before frying.
- Fry patties in batches until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Garnish with extra cilantro and some finely diced scallions if you want.
If you keep scallions root-side-down in water, they will stay fresh longer. The green part will even grow back if you trim it.
Making shrimp stock is really easy so freeze the shells in a ziplock bag until you’re ready to make it.
Make these bite-sized for a party. They’re perfect finger-food!