Vietnamese Shrimp Toast
When I was little, my parents and I would oftentimes drive down to Monterey to visit my aunt. On most occasions, she would serve us these amazing toasted bread appetizers that were caked on with shrimp and pork. Because I was obsessed, she eventually shared an easy how-to version with my mom so she could make them for me at home. Years and years later, I remembered this dish and asked my mom for the recipe. If you've been following my past recipes that were handed down to me by my mom, you'll know that she does not keep record of measurements. It's all by memory and by eyes, according to her (ha!). I made some guesses and assumptions and below is what I came up with that mirrors my childhood memories of the taste.
To be honest, I am not certain this is, by definition, a "traditional" Vietnamese appetizer. Because the country was colonized by the French between 1857 to 1954, my belief is that this is French inspired and perhaps a modified version of an existing Vietnamese street food. Other than my own household, I have only seen this appear on Vietnamese restaurant menus about two times.
Regardless of origin, it is delicious! I love eating with my dad's homemade nuoc mam cham (Vietnamese fish sauce for dipping). I don't have that recipe to share, but did link an example recipe below. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do!
Vietnamese Shrimp Toast
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Yields: ~24 pieces
1/2 lb shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1/4 lb ground pork
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/4 onion (chopped)
1/4 cup carrots (shredded)
1 tbsp green onions (minced)
1 large egg
1 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
~2 baguettes (*may depend on length)
Canola oil (or other frying oil)
Nuoc mam cham (Vietnamese fish sauce for dipping) (example recipe)
Add shrimp, ground pork, garlic, onion, carrots, green onions, egg, corn starch, black pepper, and salt into your food processor. Pulse all ingredients until they turn into a spreadable paste. (Note: If you do not have a food processor, make sure all of your ingredients are finely cut/minced. Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix together. Your paste may be more chunky than if using a food processor).
Cut baguette into thin slices (about 1"). Brush one side of each bread with olive oil.
On the side of the bread without olive oil, generously spread shrimp paste over. Place them on plates or baking tray. (Note: If you have excess shrimp paste leftover, you can freeze for future use).
In a large frying pan, add a thin layer of canola oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, place the shrimp toasts (meat facing down) into the pan. Let fry for about 4-5 minutes or until the paste is no longer pink with a slight char. (Reminder: Ground pork internal temperature needs to reach 160 degrees F to safely consume).
Using a spatula, carefully turn the shrimp toasts over without letting the paste fall off or detach from the bread. Let fry for another 3-4 minutes or until bottom of baguette is crisp and golden. Transfer to a plate with paper towels (to soak up excess oil). Repeat until all shrimp toasts are fried.
Serve shrimp toasts with Vietnamese fish sauce (specific for dipping).
Tip: If you have leftover cooked shrimp toast, you can refrigerate for up to a couple days. Toast in an oven when serving.