Deep-Fried Shrimp Balls

These crispy Chinese shrimp balls make a fantastic party snack. They get a sweet kick from a Chaozhou tangerine sauce.This recipe originally appeared in CHINA: THE COOKBOOK by Kei Lum and Diora Fong Chan.

Deep-Fried Shrimp Balls
Photo: © DL Acken
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
50 mins


  • 1 pound 5 ounces/600 grams uncooked shrimp (prawns), shelled and deveined

  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

  • 1 egg white

  • 1/4 teaspoon fermented shrimp paste

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (cornflour)

  • 1 1/2 ounces/40 grams pork fatback, finely chopped

  • 4 fresh or canned water chestnuts, finely chopped

  • 3 cups (25 fluid ounces/750 milliliters) vegetable oil

  • Chaozhou tangerine sauce or sweet and sour sauce (see Note), to serve


  1. Put the shrimp (prawns) into a colander, add the coarse salt, and use your hands to mix together. Rinse under cold running water, then drain. Put the shrimp on a clean dish towel, roll up to cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  2. Remove the shrimp from the refrigerator and place on a cutting board. Using the back of a meat cleaver or a heavy knife, flatten the shrimp. Chop the shrimp repeatedly with the blunt edge of the knife until a paste is formed. (Alternatively, use a food processor.)

  3. Combine the paste and egg white in a large bowl. Stir with chopsticks in one direction until the paste is sticky and gluey in consistency. Add the fermented shrimp paste, salt, sugar, white pepper, and cornstarch (cornflour) and mix thoroughly. Using your hands, take handfuls of the paste and slap it against the bowl repeatedly until the texture becomes elastic and gluey. Add the pork fatback and water chestnuts.

  4. Wet one hand with water, pick up a handful of shrimp, squeeze it through the opening between the thumb and forefinger to form a ping-pong-size ball. Using the other hand, dip a spoon in water and scoop the shrimp ball onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining shrimp mixture. Refrigerate the shrimp balls for at least 1 hour.

  5. Heat the oil in a wok or deep saucepan to 340°F/170°C, or until a cube of bread browns in 45 seconds. Add the shrimp balls, in batches, and deep-fry for 4–5 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the shrimp balls from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve with Chaozhou tangerine or sweet and sour sauce.


From page 169 of "CHINA: THE COOKBOOK."

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