Rock Shrimp Lollipops with Spicy Almond Sauce

 

SERVES 6 TO 8
 

1 cup slivered almonds

1 tablespoon sambal oelek

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus 3 sprigs for garnish

1/4 cup fresh Thai or sweet basil leaves, plus 3 sprigs for garnish

1 tabLespoon Thai fish sauce Inam p/a)

Juice of 1 time

1/4 cup peanut oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
 
 

1-1/2 pounds rock shrimp or regular shrimp, peeled

3 shallots, peeled and quartered

3 Thai bird chiles

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons finely chopped Lemongrass, white parts only, plus 12 3-inch lemongrass stalks, green parts only
5 kaffir time Leaves, julienned

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup rice flour

1 cup canola oil

Preheat the oven to 300° F. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast, tossing once, until brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Watch carefully because the almonds burn easily. Allow to cool. Set aside 1 tablespoon for garnish.

To make the sauce, combine the toasted almonds, sambal oetek, cilantro and basil leaves, fish sauce,
lime juice, and peanut oil in a food processor. Puree to make a smooth sauce. Add a little water, if necessary, to achieve a pancake batter—like consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the shrimp, shallots, chiles, coconut, brown sugar,
chopped lemongrass, time leaves, and time juice. Process until well combined; the mix-
ture should have the consistency of ground meat. If too thin, add more coconut; if too
thick, thin with lime juice and/or oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. With wet hands
mold the shrimp mixture onto the lemongrass stalks, leaving 1 1/2 inches exposed for a
“handle.”

Spread the rice flour on a large plate. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Dredge the lollipops in the flour and shallow-fry them, turning once, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and allow to cool slightly. Salt tightly.

With a spoon, drizzle the sauce across a large platter in a zigzag pattern. (You may not need it all; reserve extra for another use.) Top with the lollipops, garnish with the basil and cilantro sprigs, and the reserved almonds, and serve.

MING’S TIP: YOU MAY SUBSTITUTE 6-INCH WOODEN SKEWERS FOR
THE LEMONGRASS STALKS. IF YOU DO, SOAK THE SKEWERS IN WATER
FOR 30 MINUTES TO PREVENT THEM FROM BURNING.