Shrimp Balls with Apricot Dipping Sauce
            Active time: 1 hr
                        Start to finish: 1 hr

Shrimp Balls

           1 1/2 lb large shrimp (30), peeled and deveined
           8-oz can water chestnuts (1 cup), rinsed and finely chopped
           1 large egg white, lightly beaten
           3 tablespoons finely chopped chilled fresh pork fat or lard
           1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or Scotch
           1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
           2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion greens
           2 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
           2 tablespoons cornstarch
           3 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
           About 8 cups vegetable oil

           Accompaniment: apricot dipping sauce

Pulse shrimp in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl, then stir in water chestnuts, egg white, pork fat, rice wine, ginger, scallion, salt, and cornstarch. Beat shrimp mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon and throw it against side of bowl until combined well and compacted. Wet your hands with cold water and form teaspoons of shrimp mixture into balls, arranging in 1 layer on a wax-paper–lined tray. Coat balls, 1 at a time, in panko, then arrange in 1 layer on another wax-paper–lined tray.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Heat oil in a 5-quart pot until a deep-fat thermometer registers 375°F and fry balls in 4 batches, turning, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until golden and just cooked through. (Return oil to 375°F between batches.) Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. When all shrimp balls are fried, reheat on a rack set in a shallow baking pan in middle of oven until just hot, about 2 minutes.

Cooks' note:
 • Shrimp balls may be coated and fried 1 day ahead, cooled completely, then chilled, covered.

 Bring to room temperature before reheating.

           Makes 80 hors d'oeuvres, serving 20

           February 2000

Apricot Dipping Sauce

           Active time: 7 min
        Start to finish: 7 min

           1 3/4 cups apricot jam
           2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
           3 tablespoons finely chopped scallion greens
           1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste
           Dash of Tabasco, or to taste

           Melt jam in a small saucepan. Stir in remaining ingredients with salt and
           pepper to taste and serve warm.

           Cooks' note:
           • Sauce may be made 2 days ahead, cooled, then chilled, covered. Reheat
           sauce over low heat, stirring.

           Makes about 2 cups
           February 2000