Thai Shrimp Cakes

25 Jul


If there is one thing I have, sadly, learned this summer, it’s that, the older I get, the more difficult it is for me to relax. Oh, believe me, I want to relax, but every time I set aside a cozy little meeting with a good book or that lonely little hammock, my mind automatically turns to thoughts of all the other things I could be doing that might be deemed a bit more productive. The one silver lining in all of my inadvertent refusal to sit down and take it easy is the fact that, while I am doing whatever it is that I should be doing, my mind usually begins to wander to thoughts of food. Sometimes, as in this most recent case, those food thoughts can produce something truly spectacular.



While in the thick of yard work, I decided that I needed to use up some of our garden’s mint. Immediately, my thoughts turned to lemongrass, mint, ginger, and the spicy kick of chiles, all enveloping the mellow taste of prawns. Taking a cue from my favorite Indian kebabs, I decided to feature my creation in the form of small patties, browned until just crisp on the outside, but still tender in the middle.



They were exactly what I hoped they’d be: spicy, fresh, and filled with complimentary flavors. I don’t know what it says about me that I do my best thinking while working, not relaxing, but if all my ideas end up being this good, I might just have to spend even yet more time weeding, and even less time in the hammock. Sigh. The sacrifices I make.


Last Year: Best Food to Pack on a Roadtrip (this is particularly timely, since we’re living in San Francisco until the end of August, and our drive from Portland to San Francisco was a typical 12-hour affair) and Smoked Spatchcocked Chicken

Thai Shrimp Cakes 

¼ cup chopped lemongrass, outer stem peeled away

2 tablespoons grated ginger

½ cup chopped fresh mint

½ cup shopped cilantro leaves

½ chopped green onion

2 cloves garlic

½ to 1 small hot chile—birdseye or Serrano

2 large eggs

1 cup panko or dry, unseasoned bread crumbs

1 pound raw shrimp, deveined, tails and shells removed

½ teaspoon sea salt

vegetable oil

In the bowl of a food processor, combine lemongrass, ginger, mint, cilantro, green onion, garlic, chile, and eggs. Pulse until herbs are uniformly chopped, about 6 or 7 long pulses. Add panko, shrimp, and salt, and pulse until shrimp has become chopped somewhat fine, but not ground into a paste. You should still be able to see small to medium chunks of shrimp.

In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, heat enough vegetable oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. Using about ¼ cup of shrimp mixture at a time, form mixture into rough patties, then gently place them in the hot oil, cooking each patty for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until the shrimp has cooked through, but the patties remain tender. Cook 3 to 4 patties at a time, being careful not to overload the skillet. Add just a teaspoon so more vegetable oil in between cooking each batch of patties, allowing the oil to heat up heat time.

Depending on how generously you size your patties, you should end up with about 12 shrimp cakes total.


7 Responses to “Thai Shrimp Cakes”

  1. annashortcakes July 25, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    Oh this looks yummy! I am pinning it to try in the future.

  2. gwynnem July 25, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    I was just drooling over a similar recipe from a thai cookbook and planning how to make it, so you may be seeing a very similar post over at my blog in a couple of weeks.

    BTW, I totally know what you mean about the difficulty in letting yourself relax the older you get. So many potential projects and improvements, way too little time to do them all. Maybe we should make a relaxation project, just to make sure we get in some downtime. 😉

    • savorysaltysweet July 25, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

      Ooh–I can’t wait to see the Thai recipe you’re working on. And I love that you understand my inability to wind down–and that you propose a project as a solution! I like the way your mind works!

      • gwynnem August 12, 2013 at 11:23 am #

        So…I made those thai fish cakes. They tasted amazing but didn’t look photo-worthy. I’m going to try ’em again in the kitchen. 🙂

      • savorysaltysweet August 13, 2013 at 11:45 am #

        Some of the best food looks the worst, doesn’t it? It’s a very strange balance.

  3. Marissa (@pinchandswirl) July 27, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    It’s true for me too that the older I get the harder it is for me to relax. I’ve found myself looking with envy at children, completely entertained by the simplest things.

    And these Thai Shrimp Cakes look genius to me. I’ve pinned them to my ‘food I want to eat’ so I don’t forget to try them!

  4. Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) August 3, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    These sound delicious! (And I’m jealous you have mint in your garden! I only have a balcony; not a yard or garden. And besides that, I have the opposite of a green thumb…)

    I’ve experienced the same thing as you—I really have trouble relaxing anytime I feel that I’m not being as productive as I could be (and it’s getting worse as I get older I suppose). Luckily, cooking feels both relaxing and productive! I wish more things were like that…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: