Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Crisp Vietnamese Shrimp Fingers with Fresh Herbs

Wonton wrappers never had it so good!  Wrapped around lightly seasoned shrimp paste, these wonton fingers are deep fried then served in lettuce leaves and herbs.  Soooo good!

Make a double batch and freeze half.  Just reheat them in the oven and you're ready to serve!

Makes 25 rolls.

3/4   lbs shrimp, deveined, peeled, rinsed, drained and patted dry
1/2   cup canned water chestnuts, blanched in boiling water for 10 seconds, refreshed in cold running water, drained, patted dry and chopped
1 1/2 tbsp ginger, peeled and minced
1 1/2 tbsp green onion, minced
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine or sake
1       tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2    tsp salt
1       egg white, lightly beaten
2       tbsp cornstarch
25     wonton skins
1      egg, lightly beaten
4      cups safflower oil for frying
2      heads Boston lettuce, cores trimmed and leaves separated.  Press to flatten, rinse and drain
1      cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
1/4   cup fresh mint

Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese sweet and sour dipping sauce)
(mix together 1 tsp crushed red pepper, juice of two lemons, 1 tbsp minced ginger, 3 tbsp sugar, 1/4 cup fish sauce and 2 tbsp grated carrots.)

Place the shrimp in a food processor and process into a paste.  Transfer to a large bowl, add the water chestnuts, ginger, green onions, rice wine, salt, egg white and cornstarch.  Stir until the mixture forms into a stiff paste.  Refrigerate for two hours to allow the mixture to firm up.

Rolling the Fingers
Fill a pastry bag without a tip with the shrimp mixture (or use a freezer bag with the corner cut out).  Spread out wonton wrappers on the counter.  Pipe a strip of shrimp paste 1/4-inch in from the edge, running from top to bottom, of one wrapper.  Spread a little beaten egg along the opposite edge.  Roll over the skin to enclose the shrimp paste and continue rolling to form a cylinder.  Press lightly to seal the seam.  Don't roll too tightly or the skin will split while frying.  Repeat with the remaining wonton skins.

Frying the Fingers
Heat a wok or heavy skillet over high heat until very hot.  Add the oil and heat to 375 degrees.  Deep fry the shrimp rolls in batches without crowding, turning constantly, until golden brown, 3-4 minutes.  Remove with a  slotted spoon and place on paper towels.

Arrange on a serving platter and serve with a dipping sauce.  To eat, sprinkle some herbs on a lettuce leaf, roll up a shrimp finger in the lettuce and eat with your fingers.

The rolls can be reheated in a preheated 375 degree oven until crisp and hot, about 10 minutes.

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