Oh sure, they call it a “binder,” but make no mistake, it’s there to stretch a pound of shrimp into two pounds of cakes. Home cooks have been known to do the same thing, for pretty much the exact same reasons, but if you want to enjoy shrimp cakes in their most pure form, I encourage you to give this a try. It only takes a few minutes to put together, assuming you have a food processor, but even if you don’t, they can still be yours.
You’ll just need to pile up your ingredients on a cutting board, and using a large knife or cleaver, chop until you get a paste, which will take less time and effort than you expect. Maybe five minutes of the ol' choppa choppa, and you should have something very similar to what I achieved.
You can play around with the flavorings here, and it’s not a bad idea to cook a small piece of the mixture to test for spiciness, salt, etc. And please, don’t overcook these. They only need a minute or two per side. Even if they are a little translucent inside, as they sit for a minute on the paper towel, they will finish cooking through. I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 8 appetizer sized portions:
NOTE: I made mine with 24-ounce of shrimp, but since it’s generally sold in pound units, these ingredients are for a two-pound batch
2 pounds raw peeled and deveined shrimp
1 rounded tablespoon finely crushed garlic
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves and stems
1 or 2 teaspoons sambal chili paste, or freshly minced hot peppers
1 teaspoon kosher salt (you can always start with 3/4 teaspoon, then cook some to taste, and adjust)
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
pinch of cayenne
Panko breadcrumbs as needed
vegetable oil for frying