My week of “firsts” is continuing. While trying to decide what my next recipe would be, I decided to try my first spin class. I have been doing other aerobic classes and have a fantastic trainer but I was always too intimidated to try a spin class. I had thought I would be super sore from the bike seat and joked to my husband that I would be walking like a crab. As with everything, this brought food to my mind – specifically crab cakes. It was a short hop, skip and jump from crab cakes to what we have been affectionately calling shrimp cakes.
This is actually a recipe from my husband’s Mom. Unfortunately I was never able to meet her as she passed away before we met. Luckily, I feel like I have been able to get to know her through her recipes and the love of cooking we share. This dish was originally a traditional Parsi dish called Prawn Kebabs. The prawn kebabs are normally DEEP FRIED! Oh they are so good but they were relegated to serving at Christmas and one other special time a year. I had made an unsuccessful attempt to bake them and finally came upon the idea to cook them with a little bit of oil. Hallelujah! It worked. They have fantastic flavor and are low in calories and fat. We can enjoy the pungent flavors of garlic, ginger and fresh cilantro without the greasy mess.
As I mentioned above, this recipe was originally a Parsi dish. What is a Parsi you ask? I thought the same thing when I first met my husband and he said he was a Parsi. A what?? I thought to myself. A quick Google search later and I had my answers. The short answer is that Parsis are people of the Zorastrian faith that emigrated from Persia to the west coast of India in about the 5th century. They were given permission by the king of Gujerat to stay and practice their religion and became known as Parsis. My husband was born in Mumbai and some of his family still lives there. More about this all another time.
Back to the recipe – The shrimp cakes are very delicate as the recipe only calls for one egg as a binder. You really need to make them fairly small so they can be turned without falling apart.
Shrimp Cakes with Raita (Makes 16 cakes)
2 lbs. raw shrimp, deveined and shell removed
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
2 jalapenos, seeds removed, cut into quarters
7 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tbsp. ginger, chopped
1 small tomato, seeds removed, cut into quarters
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 1/2 tsp. canola or vegetable oil, divided
Lemon wedges, optional
For the Raita:
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
1/2 cup cucumber, grated
2 tbsp. minced onion
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- In a small pan, toast cumin seeds, coriander and turmeric over medium heat until the spices are fragrant. Set aside.
- In a food processor, pulse onion, jalapeno, garlic and ginger into a fine mince. Add the tomato and pulse a few more times until tomato is finely chopped.
- Add shrimp, toasted spices and kosher salt. Pulse until the shrimp are chopped but still have some texture.
- Pour shrimp mixture into a bowl and stir in cilantro and the egg.
- Divide and shape the mixture into 16 equal patties about 1/3 cup each.
- Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to 1 hour to help the mixture set so they don’t break while cooking.
- Heat 3/4 tsp. oil in a large non-stick pan until the oil is hot. Gently place 5 or 6 shrimp cakes into the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on one side. You want the underside to be nicely browned and see the shrimp turning pink. Gently flip over the cakes and cook until the cakes are cooked through, another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Gently move cooked cakes to a plate. Wipe out the pan and add another 3/4 tsp. oil and repeat cooking another 5 to 6 cakes. Repeat again with the rest of the cakes. Serve with a lemon wedge.
For the Raita:
- Place grated cucumber in a paper towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
- In a small bowl, stir together the cucumber, onion and vinegar. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the yogurt, tomatoes, cinnamon and salt. Top each shrimp cake with a tablespoon of raita.
Nutritional Value per serving (2 shrimp cakes with raita):
Calories 167 Fat 4 grams Carbs 6 grams Protein 26 grams