We were given the Weber’s Way to Grill cookbook as a wedding present, which by the way, is a pretty good guide! These Vietnamese shrimp pops from the book are always a crowd favorite at our barbecues with friends and family. I modified the quantities on certain ingredients as the pops made from the original recipe were a tad bland for me. Now these delicious shrimp pops are unique and pack with flavor, yet not too over the top and “exotic” for our guests who aren’t too adventurous.
adapted from Weber’s Way to Grill
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, stirred
1/3 cup peanut butter, stirred (chunky or smooth are both fine. Add crushed peanuts for a good crunch)
2 tsp lime zest, finely grated
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp hot Sriracha. Use more if you prefer spicy
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 lb ground pork
3/4 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup scallion, thinly diced
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 large garlic cloves
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
metal or bamboo skewers (soak bamboo skewers for at least 30 minutes)
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan combine the sauce ingredients. Place over medium heat and cook (but do not simmer), whisking constantly, just until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes (the sauce will thicken further as it cools). Remove from the heat.
- In a food processor or blender, pulse the shrimp pop ingredients and process until a chunky paste is formed. Pour the vegetable oil onto a sheet pan and brush it evenly all over the surface. Using 2 spoons, shape the mixture into small ovals or quenelles, placing them on the oiled sheet pan as you make them. Turn them, making sure they are well coated with oil. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to firm up the texture. (The pops will be equal in size if you use the spoons to quenelle. You can also use your hands to shape these, just try to make them equal sized so the cooking time will be the same)
- Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (450° to 550°F).
- Place a quenelle on the end of each skewer. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the shrimp pops over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until they are opaque throughout, 4 to 6 minutes, turning once or twice (cut one open with a sharp knife to test for doneness). Serve warm with the dipping sauce. (To prevent the skewers from burning, place a strip of foil underneath the exposed skewers. )
If you have any peanut sauce leftover, they are perfect for some cold Chinese noodles! Add a splash of sesame oil and soy sauce to the peanut sauce. Cook some noodles, drain and rinse with cold water. Toss the noodles with the sauce, top with shredded cucumber, chicken, and nori. Enjoy!