I have vivid memories of what my friends used to bring for lunch in elementary school. There was one friend whose father would always pack her amazing Cantonese food every single day. It was usually some sort of dumpling soup or a meat and vegetable stirfry with a mound of steamed rice that she would eat so intently I knew I was missing out. On special occasions it was usually something deep-fried like fish balls, shrimp toast or dumplings. But my eyes were always for the deep-fried shrimp toasts that her father would pack so carefully to maintain their crunchy texture.
My lunch would always pale in comparison – usually some sort of sandwich with fruit and a Nutrigrain bar. Looking back, I laugh at myself because I would always refuse my mother’s offers of packing biryani or a kabob roll for lunch because of the “offensive” smell.
So I never got to try those shrimp toasts until a few years ago. They were everything I ever imaged them to be and more. But ever since going paleo I’ve been missing out on these bready crispy treats. So I invented my own with a little bit of a Thai twist. These are fast, easy, and full of flavour – the perfect appetizer for guests.
Grain-Free Thai Shrimp Toasts
Makes 12 toasts
- 6 slices Against All Grain sandwich bread OR Julians Bakery paleo bread, toasted and cut into triangles
- 5 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 15-18 medium sized shrimp)
- 4 tablespoon cilantro leaves with stems, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoon Thai basil. roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoon minced lemongrass
- 2 tablespoon green onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
- ½ teaspoons paleo approved fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 small red Thai chili, thinly sliced with seeds
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- Neutral tasting high-heat oil for shallow frying (I used avocado oil)
In a food processor, add all the ingredients except for the bread, sesame seeds and oil.
Pulse it all together until all the ingredients are well combined and it forms into a paste with some texture.
Spread one teaspoon of the shrimp paste onto one side of the toasted bread and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds.
In a medium-sized pan add about half an inch of oil and set the heat to high (you need the oil to be very hot so the bread doesn’t absorb a lot of oil). Working in batches to prevent burning, drop the shrimp toasts with the mixture facing down into the hot oil and fry for one minute, then flip them over and fry for an additional minute. When they are done, remove them and place them on a paper towel-lined plate.
When they have cooled down slightly, serve them as is or with a dipping sauce of your choice.
This appetizer is even easier if you forgo the bread and sauté the shrimp mixture fill it into your favourite leaf with some sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds!