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 dropping 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.