Chewy and sweet
On a sugarcane stick rests mellowed, juicy shrimp in this far eastern delicacy
SUGARY SHRIMPS Chao Tom
This savoury and sweet stick is a classic from the legion of far eastern appetisers. Here, a paste of garlic and shrimp is wrapped around a stick of sugarcane, steamed, set to shape and grilled.
250 gms minced prawns (chicken mince can be substituted)
50 gms white mushrooms finely chopped
40 gms green onions finely chopped
1 tsp chicken broth powder
Half tsp brown sugar
Half tsp white pepper powder
Half tsp Maggi seasoning
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp water
50 gms minced garlic
Five-inch fresh sugarcane cut into four equal lengths
Refresh the shrimp by putting it in a colander and tossing them with a liberal amount of salt. Rinse immediately under lots of cold water and drain well. Blot dry with paper towel. Coarsely mince the shrimp, then put them in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Transfer to a bowl, stir in the pork fatback, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes. The mixture will stiffen as it sits.
Meanwhile, cut three or four sections of sugarcane lengthwise into thin sticks, each between 1/4 and 1/2 inch in diameter. Line them in a steamer tray with parchment paper and oil the parchment.
Ready a pot of water for steaming. Have a bowl of water near where you're working, along with the shrimp paste and sugarcane sticks. Wet one hand, and then use the free hand to put two tablespoons of paste in the palm of your hand, spreading it out into circle about 2 1/2 inches wide and a good 1/4 inch thick. Centre a sugarcane stick atop the paste (the ends of the stick will not be covered), then close your hand to make the paste adhere to the stick and surround it. Hold on to the sugarcane stick with your dry hand and turn the stick, all the while patting the paste with the wet hand to smooth out the surface. x
Set on the prepared steamer tray. Steam the shrimp sticks over boiling water for three to four minutes, until opaque, slightly puffed, and just cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool. The shrimp sticks can be covered and refrigerated before serving; return them to room temperature for grilling.
Preheat a grill to medium-high. Meanwhile, rub some oil over each of the shrimp portion of each stick; this prevents sticking. Grill the shrimp sticks for six to eight minutes, turning frequently, until the paste is sizzling and there's some nice browning. Transfer to a serving plate and present with the lettuce, herbs, and dipping sauce of your choice.
CHEF SIM POH GEOK
Radisson MBD Hotel, Noida
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