Friday, August 28, 2009

Bánh Tôm (Sweet Potato and Shrimp Cakes)

It seems that while I was asking my mom for bò lá lốt (beef stuffed betel leaves), my sister asked her to make bánh tôm (sweet potato and shrimp cakes); therefore, my mom made both for dinner! These are SO very, very tasty. I bet you can't eat just one! But one cannot expect less when you deep fry sweet potato and shrimp! They're also relatively easy to make if you don't mind frying. While we were eating, my mom's husband H and my sister's boyfriend D (oops, I meant fiancé...) made comments about these being Vietnamese latkes. I don't know about that! Maybe latkes are Jewish bánh tôm...

Bánh Tôm (Sweet Potato and Shrimp Cakes)
My mom used two types of sweet potatoes, but any one will do. Sweet potatoes can be easily grated and don't release water, unlike potatoes. I think grating the sweet potatoes makes for a better bánh tôm: more surface area for frying! They also cook more quickly.

* 24 shrimps, peeled and deveined
* salt and pepper, to taste
* garlic powder, to taste
* 2 sweet potatoes, grated
* ½ cup bột tôm chiên (tempura flour - available at Asian grocery stores)
* 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
* ¾ cup water
* a bit of salt, to taste
* oil

Season the shrimps with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Set aside.
Mix the two flours in a separate bowl.
Slowly add water while whisking, ensuring there are no lumps.
Add a bit of the batter to the shrimps, just to cover them.
Add the remaining batter to the grated sweet potatoes and mix.
Add add about an inch of oil in a shallow pan or pot and heat up.
Add a pile of the sweet potato mixture onto a ladle. Make a hole in the middle and place a shrimp in. Slip the sweet potato batter and shrimp onto the hot oil.
(Alternatively, use a round metal cookie cutter or use an old tuna can, to make perfectly round cakes.)
When the underside is nice and golden (this is very quick, maybe a minute), flip the cake over.
Remove when the other side is cooked.
Drain on paper towl.
Serve with bún (rice vermicelli), lettuce, cucumber, herbs and fish sauce dipping sauce. Traditionally, it is simply served to be rolled in lettuce, and dipped into the fish sauce, or on top of bánh cuốn - that was sometimes my breakfast in Vietnam!

Grated sweet potatoes and cakes being deep fried.



Cookie said...

YUM! These look like little shrimp in bird nests! How cute!

Su-Lin said...

They look delicious - and I can't turn down anything deep fried!

Kevin said...

I like the sound of using sweet potato like this!

Gastronomer said...

Jewish? I think not! Okay, maybe a little Jewish.

pixen said...

Lovely... I can chuck them in anytime of the day with chilli sauce at the side too! I sure missed such comfort food :'-(