Sep 23, 2021

Shrimp Toast Recipe

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Shrimp toasts are a deep fried Chinese takeout and dim sum classic that make an ideal appetizer for dinner parties or larger gatherings.

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In this shrimp toast recipe slices of bread are covered in a shrimp mousse flavored with green onion and cilantro and bound with egg white and fried until the toasts are crispy. Making this restaurant-quality classic at home is easier than you would expect. The texture should resemble a thick paste with some small chunks of shrimp still visible. I recommend pulsing the shrimp paste mixture in the food processor so you have more control over the texture. 

Shrimp Toast Recipe

More About This Recipe

The origins of the toasts have been traced back to Guangzhou, China, northwest of Hong Kong. Because of its use of white bread it is an Anglo-Cantonese dish and has since, like similar dishes such as crab rangoon, become a popular dish to serve as an appetizer. One of my favorite iterations of the crispy fried toasts is from Nightshade in Los Angeles where they serve it with a creamy cantonese curry broth topped with fried herbs. At Night + Market Sahm in Venice, CA it’s served as a drinking snack with a Thai twist.  

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Shrimp – The terms “jumbo” and “extra jumbo” and “colossal” aren’t standardized terms within the industry. Instead look at the numbers – they estimate approximately how many shrimp are in 1 pound. The shrimp is blended in a food processor to create a mousse which is evenly spread on the toast. 
  • Green onion – The green onion is separated into the dark upper part of the allium and the lower white part. The white part of the stem (not the root) is blended into the shrimp mousse while the upper part is sliced on the bias and used to garnish the shrimp toasts.
  • Cilantro – I use cilantro stems in this recipe rather than the leaves. They are full of cilantro flavor and have a tender texture. The stems have a more potent cilantro flavor than the leaves. 
  • Bread – While Japanese milk bread is best for this recipe it can be difficult to find outside of Japanese markets and grocery stores. I recommend using white bread or pan de mie (French white bread) in this recipe. The pillowy, soft bread will fry to a golden crisp. 
  • Fish sauce – I love the funky umami flavor fish sauce adds to any dish. The flavor comes from a process of fermenting fish over a long period of time. While the Thai ingredient is not traditionally used in this Cantonese-American recipe, it adds a great funky flavor to the fried appetizer. 
  • Vegetable oil –  Vegetable oil is a neutral oil, meaning it doesn’t have it’s own flavor. As a result it doesn’t overpower the other flavors in this dish. It also has a higher smoking point than say olive oil making it ideal for frying the shrimp toasts. 

How to Make Shrimp Toasts

Instructions for Shrimp Toast

  1. Make the shrimp paste. Add the cilantro stems, the whites from the green onions, garlic, shrimp, egg white, cornstarch, fish sauce and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until ground.
  2. Spread on bread. Mound about 2 tablespoons of the shrimp egg paste high in the center of each slice of bread and spread it evenly to corners with a spoon or rubber spatula.
  3. Dip in sesame seeds. If using sesame seeds, add them to a shallow dish or plate and spread out. Dip each slice of the shrimp-topped toast, shrimp-side down onto the sesame seeds.
  4. Heat oil. Fill a large cast iron pan or Dutch oven with enough oil to reach 1” up the side of the pan. Heat the oil to 350ºF (177ºC).
  5. Fry the shrimp toast. Working with two slices of bread at a time (if the size of the pan allows), place slices of bread, shrimp-side down, into the hot oil. Fry until the undersides are light gold in color, about 3 minutes.
  6. Flip and continue to fry. Flip the toasts and continue to cook until fried to a golden brown, about an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the oil to a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
  7. Cut the toasts. Cut each slice on the diagonal to create 4 equal triangles. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until all have been fried.
  8. Serve. Arrange shrimp toasts on a serving platter and top with the remaining green onions, sliced on the bias. Serve on their own or drizzled with sriracha and mayonnaise.

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

Different versions of shrimp toast
  • Traditionally pork fat, which comes from the back of pork belly, not rendered pork fat like lard, is used to add a rich flavor to the toast. It’s cut into cubes and blended into the shrimp mousse. I use an egg white and cornstarch to act as a binder in this recipe though it can be substituted with 2 tablespoons of pork fat or schmaltz. 
  • Adding sesame seeds to the top of the shrimp paste mixture is optional – while I like the sesame flavor and texture the crisp seeds add, they can be omitted.  
  • Other versions sandwich the shrimp mousse between two slices of bread rather than adhering it to one side of the toast. 
Fry the toast face down first

Cooking the shrimp toasts shrimp-side down in the oil first helps the shrimp to adhere to the toast. While deep frying the toasts in a deeper pot filled with oil will give a more even fry, I find it easier to fry the toasts in a cast iron pan with about 1” of oil. It’s significantly less cleanup this way. 

Uses for the crust 

I cut the crusts off my bread for a clean looking, even toast. Save the remaining crusts for another use like breadcrumbs. Simply pulse them in the food processor until crumbs form and toast them in a pan with some butter and garlic and use in meatballs or in place of croutons in your favorite salad

Remove the toasts from hot oil immediately once cooked

This keeps them from overcooking. I typically take them out of the oil as soon as they achieve the golden brown exterior since they will take a minute to cool down. 

Drain excess oil using a wire rack 

Set a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet to drain excess oil from the shrimp toasts. I prefer this method to a paper-towel lined plate because it allows space for the toasts to drain excess oils and keeps them from getting soggy. This way they will remain crisp until serving, though you can use paper towels if needed!

What to serve shrimp toast with 
  • For a flavorful pairing – drizzle the shrimp toasts with sriracha and kewpie mayo (a vinegary Japanese mayonnaise). 
  • Try serving the shrimp toasts with a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil with fresh ginger for dipping.
  • Dip the shrimp toasts in hoisin sauce or make a spicy mayo by mixing the kewpie and sriracha. 
Chinese shrimp toast recipe made slices of bread covered in shrimp mousse and fried until crispy for an easy and flavorful appetizer.

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this shrimp toast recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Shrimp Toast Recipe

fried Chinese takeout classic shrimp toasts on bread with sesame seeds
Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Serves 20 toasts

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup diced cilantro stems
  • 3 green onions greens and whites divided
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • ½ pound peeled and deveined Jumbo 26/30 shrimp, tails removed
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Kosher salt as needed
  • 5 slices Japanese milk bread or white bread crusts cut off
  • 6 tablespoons black and white sesame seeds optional
  • Vegetable oil as needed, for frying

Instructions:

  • Add the cilantro stems, the whites from the green onions, garlic, shrimp, egg white, cornstarch, fish sauce and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until ground.
  • Mound about 2 tablespoons of the shrimp egg paste high in the center of each slice of bread and spread it evenly to corners with a spoon or rubber spatula.
  • If using sesame seeds, add them to a shallow dish or plate and spread out. Dip each slice of the shrimp-topped toast, shrimp-side down onto the sesame seeds.
  • Fill a large cast iron pan or Dutch oven with enough oil to reach 1” up the side of the pan. Heat the oil to 350ºF (177ºC).
  • Working with two slices of bread at a time (if the size of the pan allows), place slices of bread, shrimp-side down, into the hot oil. Fry until the undersides are light gold in color, about 3 minutes.
  • Flip the toasts and continue to cook until fried to a golden brown, about an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the oil to a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
  • Cut each slice on the diagonal to create 4 equal triangles. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until all have been fried.
  • Arrange shrimp toasts on a serving platter and top with the remaining green onions, sliced on the bias. Serve on their own or drizzled with sriracha and mayonnaise.

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