Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sweet Potato Shrimp Cakes

Two varieties of Sweet Potato Shrimp Cakes- one is Asian and the other is Mexican (served with salsa verde)

I love making salmon cakes, crab cakes, shrimp cakes... all kinds of fishy cakes.  Everybody loves them, they are easy to make and they freeze well.

I made my first crab cakes in 2005 when I moved to Vancouver from Ottawa and I was hooked (pun intended)!  This sweet potato and shrimp cake offers up bold Asian flavours.  Make them small to use as finger food or bigger to serve as an appetizer or main course. I try to have them on hand to serve unexpected guests.

Makes 10-12 cakes.


2     tbsp soy sauce
2     tbsp fish sauce
3/4  lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
2     large sweet potatoes (about 3 cups grated)
1/2  cup minced scallions
1/4  cup minced shallots or onions
1     tbsp minced serrano pepper
1     tbsp minced ginger
salt and pepper
2    eggs (one will be used for the coating)
2    cups flour (one cup will be used for the coating)
1    cup panko
1/4 cup safflower or grapeseed oil for frying

Marinade for the Asian version of the shrimp cakes
In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce and the fish sauce, then add in the shrimp.  Cover the bowl and allow to marinate in the refrigerator, while preparing the sweet potatoes.

Peel and grate the sweet potatoes, squeezing out excess moisture, if necessary.  In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, the scallions, shallots, ginger, salt and pepper and one egg.  Mix well.  Stir in one cup of the flour and mix again to combine.

Remove the shrimp from the marinade to a cutting board, chop roughly and fold into the potato mixture.

In a large heavy bottomed skillet, over medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp of oil.  Form the cakes, as flat as possible.  Prepare three shallow bowls: one for the flour, one for the beaten egg, one for the panko.  Dip the cakes carefully in the flour (shake off the excess), then the beaten egg and finally the panko.

Flour, egg and panko
Place the cakes on a cookie sheet, in the freezer for thirty minutes- this will help them keep their shape when you fry them.  Place in the hot pan and fry for about 2 minutes on the first side and another minute on the second side.

Remove from the pan to a serving platter.  If the cakes brown too quickly, adjust the temperature.  Season with salt.  Serve immediately.

Wanna play?
You could go Mexican by replacing the soy and fish sauces and the ginger with lime juice, maybe a little white wine, adobo sauce, ground cumin and ground or fresh coriander for the marinade and a little chipotle in adobo sauce instead of serrano pepper and ginger in the sweet potato mixture.  I also added two tablespoons of salsa for extra flavour.  Make a test cake, fry it up and taste.  Adjust your seasonings and serve with salsa.

You could also replace the sweet potato with pumpkin or butternut squash or any combination of these, as long as they measure out to 3 cups grated.

You could also make them without the flour, egg and panko coating but expect them to break up more easily so freezing or refrigerating before cooking will be important.

For freezing: I tend to brown the cakes then freeze individually on a baking sheet.  To reheat, place in a hot oven for a few minutes.  You could also freeze them raw and fry them up from frozen.

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