Shrimp and Sweet Potato Fritters

(Banh Tom)

Look for perilla leaves in Asian markets; if you can't find them, fresh mint makes a good substitute.

Shrimp and Sweet Potato Fritters
Look for perilla leaves in Asian markets; if you can't find them, fresh mint makes a good substitute.
Yield: serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 14 tsp. slaked lime paste
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into
  • 2" x 1/3" batons
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 cup rice flour
  • 14 tsp. salt
  • 2 pinches turmeric
  • 12 lb. medium shrimp, legs and tail shell removed
  • Leaves from 1 head leaf lettuce
  • 12 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch green perilla leaves
  • 1 bunch purple perilla

Instructions

  1. Dissolve slaked lime paste in 3 cups cold water in a large bowl. Add sweet potatoes and soak for 4 hours. Drain and set aside.
  2. Pour oil into a large wide, heavy pot to a depth of 1 12" and heat over medium heat until temperature reaches 350º on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, combine all-purpose and rice flours, salt, and turmeric in a large bowl. Gradually add 1 cup water, stirring until batter is smooth. Add sweet potatoes and mix to coat well.
  3. Working in batches and using 2 large metal spoons, scoop about 14 cup of the batter into one of the spoons and flatten with back of second spoon. Arrange 3 shrimp on top, gently pressing them into batter, then lower spoon into oil and use second spoon to slide fritter off spoon. Fry fritters, turning once, until shrimp shells are golden and potatoes are cooked through, 5–10 minutes per batch. Transfer fritters to a rack set over a baking sheet to drain. Cut each fritter into quarters.
  4. Arrange fritters, lettuce, cilantro, and perilla leaves on a serving platter. At the table, wrap a piece of fritter in a lettuce leaf with some cilantro and perilla leaves tucked inside and serve with nu'ó'c chắm for dipping.