Thai Shrimp and Corn Cakes (Kao Pood Tod) with Chili Dipping Sauce

A few years back I took a cooking class at Sur La Table on Thai cooking taught by Chat Mingkwan. I loved thai food but had never been brave enough to try any recipes on my own. It all seemed so exotic and complicated! I had a great time at the class and it was a great introduction to the flavors and ingredients of thai cuisine and where to buy them.

Here in San Francisco we are lucky enough to have several large Asian markets with any ingredient I might need. I didn’t realize how lucky I was until I tried to cook these same recipes in Denver and had a hard time finding the ingredients and Asian markets at all for that matter. This recipe doesn’t have that many unusual ingredients, the hardest to find one is probably shrimp base. This ingredient can be left out if you can’t find it, it just adds a “punch” of shrimp flavor to the dish.

This is the perfect recipe to make right now at the height of the summer corn season. Sweet summer corn makes the dish that much better. I made it last night with my corn from my CSA share and it was amazing! The classic spicy thai dipping sauce that goes with it is a must.

For the Shrimp & Corn Cakes:

  • 4 ears fresh corn, cut from the cobs (2 cups)
  • 1 cup finely minced uncooked shrimp (shelled and deveined)
  • 2 Tablespoons finely minced shallot
  • 2 Tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons finely minced cilantro root (cilantro stems are fine if you can’t find the root)
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Curry Paste, more to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (more if corn is not sweet)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup tempura batter mix or all-purpose flour, more as needed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Teaspoons shrimp base powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • vegetable oil for frying

Combine all ingredients except oil in large mixing bowl and mix well. The texture should be like cookie dough, holding together as patties. Add more batter mix or eggs as needed to get them to hold together.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot fry 4 cakes at a time by droppingĀ  large spoonfuls of batter into the pan an patting down a bit to form cake. Fry for 2-3 minutes until browned and flip patty. Cook other side for about 2 minutes. Remove to paper towel lined plate to drain. Repeat procedure for remaining batter, makes 18-20 patties depending on size. Serve with dipping sauce below.

For the Dipping Sauce:

  • 4 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • 4 Teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 Teaspoons finely minced bird’s-eye chilies, more or less to taste ( These are VERY hot, wear gloves while handling! Serrano chilies can be subbed)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar or lime juice ( I prefer lime juice)
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts (optional)

In small saucepan over medium heat combine 1/3 cup water, the fish sauce and the sugar. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves and it is reduced to a thin syrup. Remove from heat and let cool.

Add the rest of the ingredients and combine well, serve as a sauce to the corn cakes.


  1. amy says:

    Yummy – we LOVE the thai. We’ll try this one.

  2. Nicole says:

    Those look fantastic!

  3. Julie says:

    I love thai if someone else is cooking. When are you coming to visit?

  4. Chef Dennis says:

    those are gorgeous corn cakes! wow…they look so tasty!

  5. Ranjani says:

    Wow these look amazing! I experiment with Thai food every so often, and this seems like a great dish to try

  6. gaia says:

    very very tasty and yummy!!!

  7. Sherry Dulick says:

    sounds yummy!!!!

  8. school grants says:

    nice post. thanks.

  9. Lonna Zukas says:

    Cooking has been a great passion of mine for quite a while, I will try this out and see how I get on

  10. Belen Baloy says:

    I enjoy the submssion. Would you be offended if I were mention it on a future blogpost?

  11. Amy says:

    I plan on trying this recipe tonight… looks awesome. And, as a Denver foodie, I just wanted to mention that we have LOTS of Asian markets here, along with a significant Hmong and Vietnamese population, in SW Denver especially. My kids and I visit different Asian markets every month to find new foods to try!

  12. admin says:

    You’ll have to share the locations with me! I’ve tried a couple different ones recommended to me down on Federal and wasn’t impressed with either one.

  13. tsanko says:

    Wonderful ..thanks a lot for posting a good informitive blog

  14. Margaret Warner says:

    Hi Terri
    I really want to try cooking Thai Shrimp and Corn Cakes (Kao Pood Tod) with Chili Dipping Sauce. But here in Netherlands I’m not sure where to find tempura Mix is there and advantage to using the tempura mix over the flour? Is the tempura mix lighter in texture?
    Sure wish I was in SF cooking with you!
    Have a great day and keep posting!

  15. Thank you, very interesting. Actually,I was born in Thailand in 1959 but my parents fled the country and settled here in the UK. Truthfully, I didnt really care much about my Thai heritage until my mum died last month, now I’ve been trying to find out as much as I can. Seemed like food was as good a place as any to start ! Anyway, I found a lot of thai food recipes here that your readers might be interested in .

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  18. Terri says:

    Sorry I didn’t see this earlier Margaret :) Regular flour works just fine. The tempura might make them a little “fluffier”.

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