Shrimp Patties With Sesame Snow Peas MUST CREDIT: Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

For The Washington Post

For a meal that won’t weigh you down, this one will leave you feeling surprisingly satisfied. The shrimp mixture for the patties has an Asian-aisle ingredient you’ve probably passed often: crisp, mild water chestnuts. You can find fresh ones in Asian markets, but the canned ones do just fine here.

Let the food processor do the work of bringing the patty mixture together; it will firm up a bit more as it chills in the refrigerator. In that short time, you can prep and cook the snow peas. The patties are done quickly in the pan, but they should allow you a minute to two for chopping the scallion, ginger and garlic that goes into a savory dipping sauce.

A note about the seafood: The recipe would be easier still if it called for peeled, deveined shrimp instead of shell-on — and if that’s what you’re used to buying in the shrimp department, go for it. I prefer the quality of the minimally processed product, and the twofer aspect of using the shells for a seafood stock (just toss them into a zip-top freezer bag until you have enough) makes for full-use, good-kitchen practice.


4 servings

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, or make the one in the NOTE below while the shrimp patties are cooking.

Adapted from “Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less,” by Melissa Joulwan (Greenleaf Book Press, 2016).

For the shrimp

  • 1 ½ pounds raw, shell-on shrimp, preferably 16-20 or 21-25 count
  • One 8-ounce can whole water chestnuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cold water
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • Leaves from 2 stems cilantro
  • 10 stems fresh chives
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons safflower or sunflower oil (may substitute coconut oil)

For the snow peas

  • ½ cup water
  • 1 pound snow peas
  • 2 teaspoons ghee (may substitute clarified butter)
  • 1 teaspoon white and/or black sesame seeds

For the shrimp: Peel and devein the shrimp; reserve/freeze the shells for making seafood stock, if desired. Drain the water chestnuts. Smash and peel the garlic.

Whisk together the water, cream of tartar and baking soda in a small bowl to form a paste.

Combine the shrimp, water chestnuts and garlic in a food processor, along with the cilantro leaves, chives, salt and the cream of tartar paste. Pulse several times, just until the mixture holds together. Carefully remove the blade and pop the food processor bowl into the refrigerator while you prep and cook the snow peas.

For the snow peas: Bring the water to a boil in a large nonstick skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. String the snow peas.

Add the snow peas to the boiling water; cook just until the water has evaporated, tossing the vegetables around in the pan. Add the ghee and the sesame seeds; stir-fry for 1 minute, until the snow peas are glistening and evenly coated, then transfer to a bowl. Cover loosely.

Return the pan to the stove top; heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in it until the oil shimmers.

Meanwhile, use your clean, slightly damp hands to form the chilled shrimp mixture into 8 same-size patties (about 3 inches across and about ½-inch thick).

Add half of them to the pan; cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden, then turn them over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on the second sides until golden and opaque. As needed, add more of the remaining oil to the pan and cook the remaining patties the same way.

Serve warm, with the snow peas.

NOTE: To make a dipping sauce, prep the following ingredients, placing them in a medium jar with a tight-fitting lid as you go: Crush 1 clove of garlic. Peel and grate 1 inch of fresh ginger root. Thinly slice 1 scallion. Add ¼ cup of plain rice vinegar, ¼ cup of coconut aminos, ½ teaspoon of toasted sesame oil and ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. Seal and shake until well blended.

Nutrition per serving (using safflower oil): 280 calories, 38 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 280 mg cholesterol, 430 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar.

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