One of my favourite Guyanese foods is the white-belly shrimp. Small, soft shell, glistening, pink and so fresh, a thing of beauty and absolutely delicious.

The other day, rather than doing the usual – bounjal, cook with vegetables or make my mom’s shrimp cakes, I decided to try frying them a different way. Mommy’s shrimp cakes require the shrimps to be lightly cooked and then ground coarsely with seasonings. It is a labour of love. I wanted to cook the picked shrimp whole with minimal work.

These shrimp nuggets make for an excellent snack or appetizer. Serve with a little pepper sauce or sour or pickled cucumbers. They are yummy.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound cleaned white belly shrimp, drained well and pat dry
  • 1½ cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1½ teaspoons dry all-purpose seasoning
  • Salt (see notes)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Minced hot pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions (white/purple and green parts)
  • 1 egg
  • Vegetable oil
Shrimp Mixture ready for frying (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix together all the ingredients except the oil. Cover and refrigerate overnight or let rest at room temperature for no more than 1 hour.
  2. Coat the bottom of a shallow frying pan with oil and place over medium heat until hot.
  3. Working in batches, add the shrimp by heaped teaspoons and cook for 30 seconds on each side. Drain on paper towels and repeat until all the mixture is used up. You may need to add a little more oil in between batches.
  4. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Shrimp Nuggets with White-belly shrimp
(Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

NOTES

  • Check the label of your all-purpose seasoning, if it already has salt, no need to add more.
  • It is important to let the mixture rest so that the flavours can meld and the breadcrumbs and egg combine to hold the shrimp when cooked.
  • If entertaining, make the mixture the night before and bring up to room temperature before cooking.
  • Use dried breadcrumbs if you do not have fresh, however, the fresh breadcrumbs make the nuggets lighter. Use only 1 cup of dried breadcrumbs if using and dampen with a little milk before adding to the other ingredients.

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