Simplest Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake – West Lake Shrimp Cake

Hanoi West Lake Shrimp Cake (Bánh Tôm Hồ Tây) is a dish that reflects the soul of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city. Crafted from a mixture of shrimp and batter, the dish combines the crispiness of the fried cake and the natural sweetness of shrimp. Thanks to its popularity, it is nowadays so-called Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake by international tourists. Here’s a simplest recipe of Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake with only 3 main ingredients: flour, cornstarch and shrimp.

What is Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake?

The origins of West Lake Shrimp Cakes, can be traced back to the 1930s. During that time, small street vendors began to gather along the Thanh Nien Street, which gracefully separates the tranquil waters of West Lake (Tây Hồ) and Trúc Bạch Lake. Using fresh shrimp of the West Lake and a special making process, the cake became popular among Hanoians, then Vietnamese.

What sets Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake apart from other shrimp cakes is its unique preparation. Instead of grinding the shrimp into a paste, shrimp is typically left whole, generously placed atop the crispy cakes.

Like many other dishes of Vietnamese cuisine, a serving of Bánh Tôm Hồ Tây is an enticing assembly of flavors and textures. Traditionally, it is accompanied by fresh lettuce leaves, offering the perfect vehicle for wrapping the shrimp cakes. Additionally, fish sauce is provided for dipping, allowing diners to customize their dining experience.

Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake
Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake

Ingredients

Here is a simple list of ingredients for the dish. All these ingredients are likely to be found in your kitchen regularly:

  • Shrimp: To achieve the perfect texture and flavor, fresh, locally sourced shrimp, often from West Lake, are preferred for the dish. However, understandably, West Lake Shrimp may only be available if you live in Hanoi. Therefore, you can use fresh or frozen shrimp purchased from the supermarket. These shrimp are left unpeeled when frying to add a crispy texture from their shells
  • All-Purpose Flour and Cornstarch: The crispy, golden exterior of the West Lake Shrimp Cake is achieved through the batter mix, which combines all-purpose flour and cornstarch. This blend strikes the perfect balance, ensuring a light and crispy coating.
  • Seasonings: Simple yet effective, the batter is seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper. Additionally, don’t forget to add curcumin powder to achieve the eye-catching yellow color of the cake.
  • Oil: The choice of frying oil is crucial for achieving the desired results. Commonly used options include peanut or canola oil, both of which have high smoke points. Another excellent choice is coconut oil, which boasts the highest smoke point among vegetable oils. Properly heated oil ensures that the shrimp cakes cook evenly and attain the perfect golden-brown color.

How to make Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake

Shrimp Preparation

  • Firstly, start by preparing the shrimp. If you’re using fresh shrimp, you’ll need to clean and devein them. It’s a simple process: just rinse the shrimp under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities. Then, make a shallow incision along the back of each shrimp to remove the vein using a knife or your fingers.
  • In the case of frozen shrimp, the process is much easier. Here’s a quick tip for defrosting them: soak the frozen shrimp in water and change the water 2-3 times. This will take about 5-10 minutes for the shrimp to be completely thawed.
Shrimp for Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake

Season the shrimp with sliced shallots, salt, and pepper, then let them rest while you mix the batter.

Making Batter

  • Combine all-purpose flour and cornstarch in a mixing bowl to create the base of the batter. In general, the proportion of each ingredient is 6 parts all-purpose flour to 1 part cornstarch. Additionally, add either 1/3 tsp of baking soda or 1 tsp of baking powder to the mixture.
  • Season the batter with a pinch of salt, pepper, and curcumin powder.
  • Gradually add water to the mixture using a ratio of 3 parts water to 2 parts flour. Stir continuously until you achieve a smooth, thick batter. The consistency should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Mixing batter for Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake
Mixing the flour mixture with water, ratio 2:3

Assembly

  • Finally, gently fold the prepared shrimp into the batter, ensuring that they are evenly coated.

Frying:

Everything will be easy with basic cooking technique. Note that you should only add a spoon of batter while the oil is already hot, so that the shape of a cake can form immediately. Then, keep an eye on the frying pan not to let it overcooked. So, follow these steps:

  • Heat a generous amount of oil in a deep frying pan or wok until it reaches the ideal frying temperature. A test drop of batter should sizzle and rise to the surface immediately.
  • Carefully spoon portions of the shrimp and batter mixture into the hot oil. Ensure that they are evenly spaced and not overcrowded, allowing them to cook to a perfect golden-brown hue.
  • Fry until the shrimp cakes are crispy on the outside and the shrimp within are cooked.
Frying Shrimp Cake

Accompaniments with Shrimp Cake

To enhance the dining experience, serve the shrimp cakes with fresh lettuce leaves. This provides a refreshing contrast to the crispy texture, allowing you to either wrap the cakes in the lettuce or eat them together.

The condiments are equally important. Try dipping the shrimp cakes in a dipping sauce made from fish sauce or chili sauce. Here’s the recipe for fish sauce dipping sauce: combine 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice, 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp still water, minced garlic, and finely chopped chili. It’s quite similar to the dipping sauce recipe for Vietnamese pancake, and you can adjust the proportions according to your taste preferences.

Variations of Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake

There is also another version of Vietnamese Fried shrimp which incorporates crispy sweet potato sticks. These thinly sliced sweet potato sticks are deep-fried in batter, adding a pleasant sweetness and an extra layer of crunch to the traditional shrimp cakes.

To make this version, it’s not too difficult. You will spend a bit more time grating the sweet potato, similar in size to grated carrots, and then add it to the batter. Afterward, fry each spoonful of batter just like the frying process of the simple version I shared above.

What is Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake, and where does it originate?

Bánh Tôm Hồ Tây, Hanoi West Lake Shrimp Cake or Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake, is a popular dish in Hanoi, Vietnam. It originated along Thanh Nien Street, which separates West Lake (Tây Hồ) and Trúc Bạch Lake.

How is it different from other shrimp cakes?

It is distinct because it typically features whole shrimp atop crispy cakes.

Is Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake a popular street food in Vietnam?

Yes, Bánh Tôm Hồ Tây is a popular street food in Vietnam, often found at local markets and street food stalls. Nowadays, there are several prominent restaurants serving this dish. It’s a beloved snack and a must-try for both locals and visitors.

What are the tips for making crispy and delicious shrimp cake?

To achieve crispy and delicious shrimp cakes, make sure the oil is at the ideal frying temperature (170-180°C), avoid overcrowding the pan, and drain the cakes on paper towels after frying. Besides, tapioca starch and baking soda in the batter make it more crispy, so don’t forget to mix those in the flour mixture.

Vietnamese-fried-shrimp-cake

Simplest Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake - West Lake Shrimp Cake

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Here's a simplest recipe of Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake with only 3 main ingredients: flour, cornstarch and shrimp.

Ingredients

Batter

Seasoning for the batter

Shrimp

  • 300g (10 oz) shrimp
  • 4-5 slices of shallots
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

Step 1. Shrimp Preparation:

  • Firstly, start by preparing the shrimp. If you're using fresh shrimp, you'll need to clean and devein them. It's a simple process: just rinse the shrimp under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities. Then, make a shallow incision along the back of each shrimp to remove the vein using a knife or your fingers.
  • In the case of frozen shrimp, the process is much easier. Here's a quick tip for defrosting them: soak the frozen shrimp in water and change the water 2-3 times. This will take about 5-10 minutes for the shrimp to be completely thawed.Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake
  • Season the shrimp with sliced shallots, salt, and pepper, then let them rest while you mix the batter.

Step 2. Making Batter

  • Combine all-purpose flour and cornstarch in a mixing bowl to create the base of the batter. Typically, the proportion of each ingredient is 6 parts all-purpose flour to 1 part cornstarch. Additionally, add either 1/3 tsp of baking soda or 1 tsp of baking powder to the mixture. Season the batter with a pinch of salt, pepper, and curcumin powder.
  • Gradually add water to the mixture using a ratio of 3 parts water to 2 parts flour. Stir continuously until you achieve a smooth, thick batter. The consistency should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Finally, gently fold the prepared shrimp into the batter, ensuring that they are evenly coated.Vietnamese Fried Shrimp Cake

Step 3. Frying:

  • Heat a generous amount of oil in a deep frying pan or wok until it reaches the ideal frying temperature. A test drop of batter should sizzle and rise to the surface immediately.
  • Carefully spoon portions of the shrimp and batter mixture into the hot oil. Ensure that they are evenly spaced and not overcrowded, allowing them to cook to a perfect golden-brown hue.Vietnamese-fried-shrimp-cake
  • Fry until the shrimp cakes are crispy on the outside and the shrimp within are cooked.

Notes

Accompaniments

Try dipping the shrimp cakes in a dipping sauce from fish sauce or chilli sauce. This is the recipe for dipping fish sauce: combine 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice, a 1 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp still water, minced garlic, and finely chopped chili.

To enhance the dining experience, serve the shrimp cakes with fresh lettuce leaves.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 5 shrimp cakes
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 515

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Discover more Vietnamese Shrimp Recipes here.

16 Comments

  1. Used to try it when in Hanoi, the version with sweet potato in the dough. Can I add shredded sweet potato in your recipe?

    1. Sure! This is a simple version so I skipped sweet potato and used basic ingredients in every kitchen. Feel free to add sweet potato in!

  2. I followed your recipe and my shrimp cake was really crispy! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi everyone, it’s my first visit at this site, and paragraph is
    truly fruitful for me, keep up posting these posts.

    Review my website: best gold ira companies

  4. Your producing is so descriptive that I felt like I had been right there along with you. Sustain The nice operate!

  5. I am always surprised through the depth of information you carry to your posts.

  6. I really enjoyed reading through your publish. Just how you discussed every thing was really crystal clear and concise.

  7. The way you existing your arguments is equally sensible and persuasive.

  8. Your insights are similar to a flashlight while in the darkness of misinformation.

  9. Tried it in Hanoi, I was impressed. Prefer the version with sweet potato.

  10. This is exactly what I had been on the lookout for. Thanks!

  11. I am impressed by the information in this post. Tks

  12. I found this post insightful and nicely-researched. Keep up the good get the job done!

  13. I tried your recipe, my shrimp cakes were very crispy and tasty. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to Recipe