Vietnamese-Style Crispy Shrimp Cakes

Prep Time
Cook Time
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"These crispy shrimp cakes were inspired by chao tom, Vietnamese shrimp on sugar cane, which is a delectable appetizer you'll find at restaurants. You can serve these cakes as an appetizer wrapped in lettuce leaves or herbs (large basil leaves are wonderful) Or pan-fry them up for lunch or dinner, heaping them on rice noodles and dousing it all with nuoc cham."

Original recipe yields 7 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (302.1 g)
  • Calories 538.3
  • Total Fat - 43.5 g
  • Saturated Fat - 6.3 g
  • Cholesterol - 97.4 mg
  • Sodium - 2019.3 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 24.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 3.8 g
  • Sugars - 8.7 g
  • Protein - 16.5 g
  • Calcium - 100.2 mg
  • Iron - 1.8 mg
  • Vitamin C - 68 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.2 mg

Step 1

In the bowl of a food processor, combine shrimp, cornstarch, lemon grass, garlic, chiles, white and light green scallion bottoms, 2 teaspoons sugar and salt. Pulse until mixture forms a coarse paste.

Step 2

In a small bowl, whisk together fish sauce, lime zest and juice, 1 tablespoon sugar and the dark green scallion tops.

Step 3

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Wet hands to keep shrimp paste from sticking. Form 2 tablespoons of shrimp mixture into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Dust patty with cornstarch. Repeat with remaining batter.

Step 4

Fry patties in batches until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve over rice noodles, if desired, drizzled with fish sauce mixture and strewn with cilantro.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Step 5

Warm 3 tablespoons of the peanut oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet until nearly smoking. Add the peanuts and stir.

Step 6

Remove from the heat and continue stirring until the peanuts are toasted and then allow to cool.

Step 7

Place the peanuts in a food processor and puree to a rough paste.

Step 8

Add the chili peppers, ginger, garlic, coconut milk, soy and fish sauces, sugar, lime juice and salt. Puree until almost smooth.

Step 9

Place the peanut mixture into a bowl and with a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining peanut oil until the sauce has a nice sheen.

Step 10

Stir in the minced coriander. This sauce can also be used as a dip for grilled meats, or as a sauce for cold noodle salad.

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.



These went great with other Chinese appetizers I made for New Years Eve. I doubled the sauce to use with other appetizers. It was so yummy! Saving for making again.

review by:
(1 Jan 2021)


Wow, I really enjoyed these delicious shrimp cakes. I did scale it down for myself and had 3 delicious treats that I enjoyed for lunch. They were easy to make, if a little time consuming but boy did they taste great, well worth the effort. I like the dipping sauce but must confess that I was a little both lists of ingredients. Thank you for sharing your recipe... so happy I tried it. Made for What's on the Menu? Tag game.

review by:
(9 Mar 2018)