01 of 04
Dry Fry the Coconut
- 1 small bunch spinach leaves (baby spinach are too small), OR smaller lettuce leaves (large enough to be wrapped up for 1 bite), OR banana leaves cut into 3 to 4 inch squarch or diamond-shaped pieces)
- 1/3 cup dried unsweetened coconut (baking type)
- 1/4 cup small dried shrimp, OR substitute 1/2 cup baby cooked shrimp
- 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts (unsalted)
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 fresh red chili, minced, OR 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili or cayenne pepper
- 1 thumb-size piece of galangal (or ginger), thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. fish sauce
- 1 lime cut into wedges - to serve
Step 1: Place dried coconut into a frying pan to toast it. Turn on the heat to medium-high and stir the coconut continuously, "dry frying" until it turns golden (1-2 minutes). Place toasted coconut in a mixing bowl.
COOKING TIP: I leave the pan on the heat just until it is hot, then remove it while continuing to stir the coconut. If the pan overheats, the coconut will burn.Continue to 2 of 4 below.
02 of 04
Continue to 3 of 4 below.
- About Dried Shrimp: This kind of dried shrimp can be purchased at Asian/Chinese food stores, or by weight at shops in Chinatown. Note that it should be completely dried (not the type you find in the deli or refrigerator at Asian stores, which is rubbery and will not turn into a powder when processed).Step 2: If using dried shrimp, place it in a food processor and process into powder-like bits. A pestle & mortar works well for this too. Add the powdered shrimp to the coconut in the mixing bowl.
- If using cooked baby shrimp: Lightly chop them into small pieces (in halves or thirds) and add them to the mixing bowl together with the toasted coconut.
- Grind up the peanuts, reducing them to very small pieces (you can also chop/crush them with a knife), and add them to the bowl.
- Finally, put garlic and galangal (or ginger) into the food processor and process, or finely mince/grate them. (Remove any fibrous or "stringy" bits from the galangal/ginger.) Add to the bowl.
03 of 04
Mix all Ingredients Together
Step 3: Also to the mixing bowl, add the chili powder, chili, and fish sauce. Stir well. Note: At this point you can do a taste-test, adding more chilli if you'd prefer it spicier, or more fish sauce if you'd prefer it saltier. If you'd like some sweet notes, add 1/4 tsp. white sugar.Continue to 4 of 4 below.
04 of 04
Put the Appetizer Together
Step 4: To plate appetizer, arrange 4 or more leaves (spinach, lettuce, banana leaf segments - diamond shape look nice) on a platter. Spoon some of the filling onto each leaf. Top with more toasted coconut and serve with wedges of lime.
EATING INSTRUCTIONS: Squeeze a little lime juice onto one of the leaves and then pop the whole thing into your mouth at once. (If using banana leaf, do not eat the leaf - just empty the contents into your mouth.)
The taste-bud-tantalizing sensation of this appetizer pairs well with a cold lager or a glass of chilled white wine. ENJOY!