Gullah Shrimp Burgers

These two-bite wonders, from Johnson’s cookbook Between Harlem and Heaven, hail directly from the history in South Carolina and Gullah cuisine. As Johnson writes, “The Lowcountry Gullah islands (located on the coast of South Carolina) offer a legacy of Africa and the Caribbean on the doorstep of the American South, and their culinary and social richness can’t be captured in any one thing. Which is why instead of trying that, we take inspiration from their cuisine and fly off to Asia.”

Gullah Shrimp Mini Burgers Recipe
Photo: Beatriz da Costa
Active Time:
18 mins
Total Time:
18 mins


  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 2 celery stalks, chopped

  • 2 medium eggs

  • 1 bird’s eye chili, seeded and chopped

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup panko

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon) 1⁄4 cup chopped parsley

  • 1⁄4 cup chopped scallions

  • Kosher salt

  • Fresh ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 6 potato slider buns


  1. Place 1 1⁄2 pounds of the shrimp into a food processor. Add celery, eggs, chili pepper and soy sauce and pulse until there is a mix of finely minced and coarsely chopped pieces of shrimp, about 5 (5-second) pulses.

  2. Gently fold the panko crumbs, lemon zest, parsley and scallions into the shrimp mixture to combine. Chop remaining 1/2 pound shrimp into 1/2-inch pieces and fold into the mixture. Season with 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt and 1⁄2 teaspoon of pepper.

  3. Shape mixture into 6 (five-ounce) balls. Heat 1 1⁄2 teaspoons oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until oil begins to shimmer. Place 3 shrimp balls in pan, flattening with a spatula to 1/2-inch thickness. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the edges turn pink, and the burger looks golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn over and cook 3 minutes or until done. Repeat with remaining oil and shrimp balls.

  4. Place the burgers on the potato buns and serve.

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