How does Chinese Shrimp Toast become Vietnamese Shrimp Toast? Well, you have Chinese immigrants to Vietnam who adapt it with the addition of some lemongrass and you’re good to go.
At least that’s one version of the story. My version is that shrimp toast tastes so good that anyone with access to shrimp will want to eat it.
I was inspired to develop a recipe for these after eating some frozen, overpriced & mediocre Trader Joe ones. I kept munching and wondering, looking at the ratio of white bread to shrimp, what the profit margin on the item was and whether or not I should fry the box to get my money’s worth.
After making them I can honestly say you’re getting poor not making your own. Plus, laminated boxes don’t fry well.
The beauty of this recipe is threefold. One – the shrimp topping doesn’t require a lot of steps. Just drop the raw ingredients into a food processor & whiz until it becomes a paste. Two – it tastes great. Three – it freezes great, making it superior to stale Doritos for late nite noshing.
As you start loading your food processor you’ll notice that one ingredient is soy sauce. For true Vietnameseish authenticity you will want to use Maggi soy sauce or Nuóc Tuöng. It’s the iconic Vietnamese soy sauce. Maggi was brought in by the French who imported it from Switzerland where it was first bottled by Julius Maggi, making its addition to colonial cooking an early form of fusion cuisine. However, the FrangloSaxon’s refrigerator door stash yielded only Kikkoman and it tasted fine, so I say go with what you got.
Another variation frequently employed by Vietnamese cooks is the use of thinly sliced baguettes as the carrier for the shrimp paste. These can be either fried or laid out on a cookie sheet and run under the broiler until brown. If you cook them in the oven get them about 4 inches under the broiler and broil at 425 until brown. Stay in the kitchen for this and keep a close watch so they don’t burn.
Finally, you’ll see that the little shrimpy toast points in the photo are accompanied by my carrot vinaigrette salad. This is a perfect side since besides tasting good the acidity counteracts the richness of the fried toast.
So there you have it. Shrimp Toast you can enjoy now or later.
- For the shrimp paste:
- ½ lb. raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
- ¼ cup water chesnuts
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro (or flat leaf parsley)
- ½ cup sliced green onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 small Thai chili*
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp. Red Boat fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 egg white
- ¼ tsp. salt
- sesame seeds
- For the toast:
- 6 slices white sandwich bread, toasted on one side
- For the garnish:
- sliced green onion tops
- sliced chilis
- Put shrimp, water chestnuts, cilantro, green onions, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce,egg white, sugar, chilis in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times and scrape down bowl. Continue to process until the mixture is a paste. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for an hour.
- Very lightly toast the bread and cut off the crusts. Spread the paste onto the toasted side and cut the bread into triangles. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Fill a heavy skillet about 1 inch with oil. When oil is hot place the toast shrimp side down & fry till crispy, about 1 to 2 minutes. The oil should be 350 degrees or if you don't have a thermometer you can just take some of those crusts you cut off the bread & hold them in the oil. If the oil bubbles around the edges it's hot enough to fry.
- Drain on a rack or plate lined with a paper towel.
- Garnish with thinly sliced chilis or green onion tops.