Banh tom Co Ngu (shrimp and yam fritters) is a very traditional appetizer dish of Northern Vietnam. The yam or sweet potato is a quite versatile vegetable root, where you can prepare it in numerous dishes. It also provides the healthful beta carotene and vitamin C to your system. Since my little garden has been producing a bountiful amount of fresh minty herbs faster than we can consume, I decided to whip up something that could help these herbs from going to waste.
When I saw this appetizer snack idea on my friend Eatlover blog, I knew immediately what I could do with my herbs. Unlike other types of fritter, this yam fritter needs to be rolled up in lettuce and mint leaves, then dipped in the garlic fish sauce. The crunchy texture of the shrimps, the sweetness of the yam and the minty taste of the herbs combine with garlicky and spicy fish sauce make your taste buds gone wild! It is divine! I had to refrain myself from overeating it or else I won't be able to walk afterward.
Recipe adapted from Eatlover (thank you for a great recipe El)
1. 2 medium size sweet potato
2. 15-20 large shrimp (cleaned and deveined)
3. 1/2 cup rice flour (bot gao)
4. 1/2 cup of self-rising flour
5. 1 tbsp of tempura mix (bot chien gion) or corn starch
6. 1 cup of water (the recipe calls for 1/2 cup, but the batter was a little thick, so I added more)
7. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (bot nghe)
8. 1 tsp of mushroom seasoning (or bot nem)
9. 1 tsp of sugar
Peel and clean the sweet potato, cut it into thin trips (thick as the chopstick). Soak them in ice cold water for an hour or more and drain.
Clean and de-vein the shrimp, you can either leave the shells on or peel it off, except for the tail, like I did on mine. Sprinkle it with some mushroom seasoning and garlic powder. Set a side for 30 minutes to marinate.
Mix all the flours, turmeric, mushroom powder, and sugar together in a large prep bowl, add water and mix thoroughly to combine. Let the batter rest for 20-30 minutes.
Wash the minty herbs, green lettuce leaves and prepare fish sauce while waiting. Once ready to fry, drain the yam and pat dry. Add a handful of yam sticks into the batter then arrange it neatly onto a large spoon, top it off with a shrimp or two then slide it down into the hot oil on medium heat. Fry the fritter until golden brown both sides, remove and shake off the excess oil or blotch it with paper towels.
To serve, break off a piece of the fritter, roll it up with some mint leaves inside a lettuce and dip in the garlic fish sauce. Yummy!
Garlic fish sauce:
- 5 cloves of garlic (minced finely)
- 2 thai red chili peppers
- 5 tsp of vinegar
- 8 tsp of fish sauce
- 4 tbsp of sugar
- 3/4 cup of water
Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl until the sugar has all dissolved