There are some kitchen duties that are tedious, like peeling potatoes and peeling shrimp. Both were my jobs so I became accustomed to these repetitive chores. Today, I still opt for homemade mashed potatoes over the instant potatoes, but I try to buy shrimp that is already peeled and deveined if I can. Usually, already peeled and deveined shrimp is sold cooked or at a steeper price so I still end up peeling shrimp. It isnít as hard as it looks, especially if you buy them with their heads removed. There are a few shrimp deveining tools but the easiest tool for me is a sharp paring knife. First, I hold the shrimp in my left hand with the tail end toward my wrist and the head end between my thumb and forefingers, legs pointing outward. With my right hand, I grab the shrimp by all of its legs and rip them off to one side while pulling off the shell from the head end down to the tail. I peel all of the shrimp this way before moving on to deveining them. To devein them, I hold the shrimp as above but with the curved back facing outward. I slit the back from head to tail to expose the black intestinal line and rinse it away under water.
This is one of my favorite family recipes. I will happily peel shrimp for this. If you cook this, remember that it is not necessary to buy pricier larger shrimp or prawns as you would for shrimp tempura because the shrimp in this recipe gets minced.
Donít mash, however, or the resulting fritters will have a rubbery texture, like kamaboko. And do add the sliced green beans. They add an important crunch factor. You can make the size of these balls small for an appetizer tray or somewhat larger for dinner. They donít need any dipping sauce, but if you like you can dip them into tempura dipping sauce, sweet chili sauce or seafood cocktail sauce.
Japanese Shrimp Balls
1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 green beans, sliced thin
1 green scallion, sliced thin
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Ĺ tsp. garlic powder
Ĺ tsp. ginger powder
1 tsp. ajinomoto
Ĺ tsp. white pepper
oil for deep frying
Using a sharp knife, mince the shrimp into tiny pieces. If the pieces are too large, the fritters will fall apart during cooking; if they are mashed too much, they will have a rubbery texture. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan or fryer. Drop the shrimp mixture by tablespoons into the hot oil. Fry on one side until lightly golden and turn to fry the other side. Drain on paper towels.
Note: The Chinese make a version of these shrimp balls but usually add sesame oil and oyster sauce to the mixture. Another Chinese appetizer or dim sum dish called shrimp toast is pieces of stale white bread spread on one side with this mixture and then deep fried.