Turtle Shell Shrimp Balls

This classic Chinese appetizer gets its eye-catching appearance and crunchy texture from a coating of white bread cubes.
Difficulty
Medium
Servings
11–12 pieces
Prep Time
1 Hr 10 Mins
Active Time
15 Mins

Shrimp balls come in many forms. Street food carts serve their most basic iteration: bouncy ping pong balls molded from pale shrimp paste. Chinese restaurants, on the other hand, like to add a deep-fried coating for texture. Gloria Maris, for example, roll their shrimp balls in panko breadcrumbs. Ling Nam takes it up a notch by using strips of wonton wrapper.

Fried, panko-breaded, and wonton-wrapped shrimp balls.

Then there’s these shrimp balls, resembling grenades or turtle shells. Establishments like King Crab House, Lugang Café, and the now-closed Comida China de Manila serve them in this style: clad in bread cubes with a side of sweet chili sauce or mayonnaise.

Shrimp balls from King Crab House, Lugang, Comida de China.

These homemade bread-crusted shrimp balls make an impressive addition to any dinner spread, sure to be the star of your family's flatlays. They taste as good as they look, too, so make sure to make a double batch. Here's how to make them.

Use Cubed Sandwich Bread for the Coating

Unlike our panko-crusted Thai shrimp cakes, these shrimp balls are rolled in cubes of sandwich bread. This gives the balls their turtle shell-like appearance. Once fried, the cubes dehydrate into a golden brown coating with a light, shattering crunch.

You want to slice your sandwich bread into ½- to ¼-inch cubes—not too big, not too small. Anything bigger will fall off your shrimp balls while frying.

Fry at a Lower Temperature

Most deep-fried recipes call for frying oil at 350°F. We found that a frying temperature 320–325°F works better for these shrimp balls, crisping up the outside while perfectly cooking the minced shrimp filling.

Serve with Sweet Chili Sauce

A tangy dipping sauce cuts through the fat while adding a bright flavor. Use your favorite bottled sweet chili sauce—or make it from scratch!

  • 240g fresh or frozen shrimp, peeled
  • 60g pork fat, frozen
  • 2 tbsp spring onions
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp grated garlic
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 loaf white sandwich bread
  • 3 cups oil
  • sweet chili sauce, for serving
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