Special Thai Appetizer Mock Oysters

  • 01 of 10

    Prepare Ingredients.

    Prawn Crackers - Ready to Cook!. D.Schmidt
    INGREDIENTS: (Serves 4-8 as an Appetizer)
    • 1 box (uncooked) prawn crackers, OR 1 bag prepared prawn/shrimp crisps/chips
    • approx. 3/4 cup oil for frying (such as canola)
    • 1 package small round rice wraps, also called "Rice Paper" (see step 6)
    • 1 cup baby (or small) shrimp (shell removed), fresh, frozen, or canned
    • approx. 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
    • handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
    • 1/3 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts, ground or roughly chopped
    • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce (+ up to 1/2 Tbsp. more to taste) - availabe in tall bottles at Asian/Chinese food stores
    • squeeze of fresh lime juice (about 1 tsp.), OR substitute fresh lemon juice
    • 2-3 cloves garlic (2 large, or 3 small-medium), minced
    • 1 tsp. chili sauce OR chili-garlic sauce, OR 1/2 tsp. dried chilli flakes, OR 1/2 tsp. dried cayenne pepper powder (can be omitted if you prefer a mild appetizer)
    • pinch of black pepper

    For this recipe you will also need a small frying pan, absorbant towel/paper, and a bowl of hot water.

    Continue to 2 of 10 below.
  • 02 of 10

    Heat the Oil.

    Heating the Oil. D.Schmidt
    There are 2 ways to cook prawn crackers. If using a microwave: (this is the easier method), simply remove the rather hard, dried crackers from the box, arrange on a plate (don't pile them on top of each other), and microwave them for 20-30 seconds until they puff up. Make at least 12-15 crackers (or more if you want to sample a few!).

    If Frying the Crackers: Heat 1/2 to 3/4 cup oil in a small frying pan over medium to high heat. When tiny bubbles begin to form, or when you see the oil beginning to "snake" across the bottom of the pan, the oil is ready.

    If you're unsure about the temperature of the oil, try dipping one of the rice crackers into it. If nothing happens, your oil isn't hot enough. If the cracker begins to cook and puff up, your oil temperature is perfect. Turn heat down to medium.

    Continue to 3 of 10 below.
  • 03 of 10

    Fry the Crackers.

    Removing Crackers from Oil. D.Schmidt
    When oil is hot enough, drop crackers in, 2 or 3 at a time. The crackers look like small, hard coins when you drop them in, but will quickly "open" like flowers into beautiful crackers.

    Tip: Be sure to remove the crackers as soon as they "open". If left in the oil too long, they will burn.

    This is a really fun thing to cook - very fast and furious! Make sure you have a good pair of tongs to remove the crackers quickly.

    These crackers are excellent to eat as is - great for a snack! The hard part is saving enough to finish making the appetizer!! You will need at least 15 crackers - choose ones that are flat, or oyster-shaped. (You can eat the really curly ones!)

    Continue to 4 of 10 below.
  • 04 of 10

    Cook (or Just Rinse) the Shrimp.

    Rinsing the Shrimp. D.Schmidt
    If your shrimp are cooked but frozen, quickly thaw them in lukewarm water for several minutes. If they're uncooked, boil for at least 3 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water. If you're using canned shrimp, simply drain and rinse.

    If your shrimp still have their shells, quickly remove after cooking.

    Place rinsed and drained shrimp in a mixing bowl.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Mix in the Thai Herbs & Spices.

    Mixing the Shrimp with Thai Ingredients. D.Schmidt
    To the shrimp, add: 1 Tbsp. fish sauce, a squeeze of lime juice (about 1 tsp.), 1 tsp. chili sauce (optional - omit if you prefer it mild), 2-3 minced cloves garlic, and a pinch of black pepper. Stir well. Now add 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), and a handful of chopped basil.

    Mix well to combine, then do a taste-test. If more salt is needed, add 1/2 to 1 Tbsp. more fish sauce. If too salty, add a little more lime juice. If not spicy enough, add more chili sauce.

    Set this mixture aside.

    Continue to 6 of 10 below.
  • 06 of 10

    Soften the Rice Paper.

    Placing a Rice Wrapper in Hot Water. D.Schmidt
    Pour some hot water into a large bowl (not too hot - you should be able to dip your fingers in it). Now take a rice wrapper and submerge it in the water.

    Wait 20-30 seconds, or until the "rice paper" has softened and become quite limp.

    Now remove it from the water, allowing as much water to drip from the wrapper as possible. Spread it flat on a cutting board.

    Continue to 7 of 10 below.
  • 07 of 10

    Cut the Rice Wrapper into Quarters.

    Cutting the Rice Wrapper into Quarters. D.Schmidt
    Gently slice the rice wrapper in half. Then cut it in half the other way to create 4 small pieces.
    Continue to 8 of 10 below.
  • 08 of 10

    Place the Rice Wrapper Pieces on the Crackers.

    Placing Pieces of Rice Paper on the Prawn Crackers. D.Schmidt
    Now place these small sections of "rice paper" on the crackers. The rice paper should be quite dry by now. If it's too sticky to work with, moisten your fingers with a little oil (not water).

    The rice paper will serve as a kind of "mat" for the shrimp mixture, and will also add to the exquisite taste of this appetizer. Continue in the same way, adding small pieces of rice paper to the crackers until you have 15-20 crackers covered with rice paper.

    Note: You will soon see why the rice paper is necessary in this recipe. If you try to add the shrimp mixture without it, you'll find the "wetness" of the shrimp will seem to "burn" a hole right through the cracker!

    This effect also happens on your tongue, so that when you eat these crackers, they feel like they are melting in your mouth - which they are! That's what makes them so fun to eat.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Add a Little of the Shrimp Mixture to Each Cracker.

    Adding a Sprinkling of Roasted Peanuts. D.Schmidt
    Now add a little of the shrimp mixture to each cracker (about 1 heaping tsp.). Try to place the mixture on the rice paper, otherwise it will create a hole in the cracker.

    As a final touch, add a sprinkling of ground or chopped roasted peanuts on top of the shrimp mixture.

    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Serve the Mock Oysters!

    Serve the Mock Oysters (and Wait for the Compliments on your Cooking!). D.Schmidt
    Place the finished appetizer on a serving platter, and pass around.

    Excellent paired with wine (try a nice shiraz/syrah) or an ice-cold lager. Makes a superb appetizer to serve at a party, cookout, or family get-together!