The holiday season may be marked by festive decorations, cool weather, and tasty holiday cookies. But most importantly, this season brings lots of delicious holiday appetizers!
While we may not be going to big parties with friends and family this year, we can still treat ourselves with some delicious home cooked food, including my recipe for Crispy Baked Shrimp Balls!
These Crispy Baked Shrimp Balls are a unique appetizer to serve this holiday season. Even though they look a bit complex, I can assure you they are really simple to make from scratch and are sure to impress!
Crispy Bundles of Joy
Phyllo pastry is the key to making these Crispy Baked Shrimp Balls so crispy and delicious. Phyllo is a paper-thin pastry used often in Eastern European and Middle Eastern cooking. The pastry sheets are so thin that you can often see through them, making them extremely delicate. However, due to their thin and delicate nature, they offer tons of crunchy and flaky texture when layered and baked in the oven.
I used phyllo to wrap around my homemade shrimp balls. These shrimp balls have a soft and springy texture and incredible Asian-inspired flavours. These shrimp balls are really great on their own either fried up, baked in the oven, or added to hot pot! But when wrapped with phyllo pastry, they are totally transformed and become an elevated holiday appetizer!
Baked, Not Fried
While deep frying food can be a bit dangerous to do at home, this recipe actually requires no deep frying at all— they are baked in the oven!
Not only is this safer, it’s a lot healthier too as it uses less oil. But in the end, these Crispy Baked Shrimp Balls still taste amazing and have a great crisp texture. You honestly won’t even miss the deep fryer!
Spice it up with some Sweet Chilli Ginger Sauce
If these Crispy Baked Shrimp Balls weren’t tasty enough in their own, adding a side of Sweet Chilli Ginger Sauce will really make this appetizer extra special! My homemade Sweet Chilli Ginger Sauce is guaranteed to be better than and jarred chilli sauce that you buy at the store. Plus, you can make a large batch and keep it for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. That is plenty of time to make it through the holiday season!
I hope that you enjoy this recipe for Crispy Baked Shrimp Balls. Remember, if you make this recipe this holiday season, be sure to tag #SeasonAndServeBlog on Instagram!
Get the full recipe down below and watch me make these from scratch on YouTube! Don't forget to like this video and subscribe!
Begin by finely chopping the garlic, red bell pepper, scallions and Thai Bird's Eye chili. Once chopped, add them to a large bowl and set aside.
Place two squares of paper towel on the cutting board. Lay the shrimp out on top of the paper towels in one even layer. Use another paper towel to place on top and gently press to remove any moisture. You want to get as much moisture off of the shrimp as possible.
Once dry, add the shrimp to a food processor and pulse until the shrimp are finely chopped. Scrape the food processor down in between pulsing to ensure the shrimp get evenly chopped. Transfer the shrimp mixture to the bowl with the garlic, peppers and scallions.
Add the baking soda, Panko, white pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil to the bowl and mix everything to combine. Place the shrimp mixture in the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Use a pastry brush to brush 1 tablespoon of canola oil onto the parchment paper. Set aside for now.
Brush 1 tablespoon of oil over a large dinner plate. Set aside for now.
Use a tablespoon to scoop the shrimp mixture from the bowl and roll it into a ball, just like you were making meatballs. Once rolled, set it aside on the lightly oiled plate to avoid the shrimp mixture from sticking. Repeat for the rest of the shrimp mixture.
Use a sharp knife to cut the roll of phyllo in half. I simply just cut the entire roll of phyllo in half rather than cutting the individual sheets. Remove the parchment paper from the phyllo pastry (if it comes in the package) and lay the stack of phyllo pastry flat on a cutting board. The phyllo should measure 6x6 inches.
Slice the phyllo into 1-cm thick ribbons using a sharp knife. Keep the slices of phyllo in stacks to make dividing the phyllo easier. Once sliced, cover the phyllo with a damp paper towel to keep the pastry from drying out. Set aside.
To wrap the shrimp balls, take a stack of phyllo pastry strips and lay the strips onto the cutting board in a criss-crossed pattern. You will need at least 12-15 phyllo strips to completely cover the shrimp ball.
Place the rolled shrimp ball in the centre of the phyllo and wrap the phyllo strips around the shrimp ball, making sure to criss-cross the strips as you fold it around the shrimp ball. Once covered, gently press the shrimp ball together in your hands. Flip the shrimp ball over so that the seam side is down and place on the oiled parchment-lined baking tray. Repeat this process for the rest of the shrimp balls, spacing them at least 1 inch apart on the baking tray.
Once all the shrimp balls are wrapped, use a pastry brush to lightly brush the sides and the tops of the shrimp balls with the remaining oil.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 375 F. After 15 minutes, increase the oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 5-9 more minutes, or until the phyllo is golden brown and crispy.
Once cooked, arrange the shrimp balls on a large platter and serve with the Sweet Chili Ginger Sauce. Enjoy!
For the Sweet Chilli Ginger Sauce:
Place the 1/2 cup of water, rice vinegar and sugar in a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often to dissolve the sugar.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and add the sambal oelek, ketchup, Thai Bird's Eye chilli, garlic and ginger. Let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes to let the flavours come together.
Mix the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl to dissolve, then add it into the pot. Bring the sauce back to a boil. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from the heat and let cool before serving with the Crispy Baked Shrimp Balls.
You can roll out the shrimp balls the night before and keep them in the refrigerator overnight to make assembly easier.
You can also use this recipe to make shrimp balls for soups or hot pot! Just omit the phyllo pastry!
The Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce can keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.