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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chả Tôm Huế (Hue Shrimp Patty)

Chả Tôm Huế is a popular dish from the central region of Hue, the imperial capital.  it's a popular versatile item that can be used in different recipes. It can be used as a garnish, served as a main dish or acts as the main ingredient. The ingredients for this Chả Tôm is real simple: shrimp, ground pork, pork fat, salt, sugar, ground pepper, baking powder, and whole garlic which infuses lots of favors.  The pork fat adds richness to the shrimp paste without adding moisture to the mixture. During the cooking process, the minced pork fat melts and creates moisture.    

Yesterday, I threw a baby shower party for a friend.  As always, I like to make a new dish for my family and friends to enjoy.  Chả Tôm Huế was an instant pleaser.  The guests made their own dinner rolls sandwich by stuffing a couple slices of Chả Tôm,  add a slice of cucumber, sprigs of cilantro and voila a a mini sandwhich is born.   This dish went out so fast!  Chả Tôm Huế can be enjoyed  as appetizer  It also goes very well with Bún Bò Huế (Hue Spicy Beef Noodle Soup).

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RECIPE: Chả Tôm Huế

4 pounds raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (1 big rectangular box)
0.4 pound of ground lean pork
1 cup of minced pork fat (to make the fat easy to mince, boil it in water for about a minute to firm up before seperate it from the pork skin)
1 whole garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 bag of baking powder
1 egg yolk + 1 drop of red food color (optional), mixed it
Making Shrimp Patty

Soak shrimp in a large bowl with water  and a couple teaspoons of salt for about 10 minutes. 
Rinse shrimp and drain well. 
Take a handful of shrimp at a time and squeeze out all the liquid.
Place a few paper towel in another bowl and put all the shrimp in it so that it absorbs water from shrimp.
Combine the shrimp, ground pork, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, baking powder in a food processor and blend until smooth and transfer to a  bowl. 

Add minced pork fat and mix well.  

Let it sit in a fridge for about 1/2 hr.  The mixture will stiffen as it sits.
Pour the shrimp paste in a baking mold or a baking pan and steam it for about 1/2 an hour.  When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium high just barely enough for the water to boil.  Open the steamer cover a few times during the steaming process and blot dry the liquid that condense on the shrimp paste with a paper towel. 

About 5 minutes before the shrimp patty is done, brush the egg yolk on top of the shrimp patty.  Close the steamer cover but leave it open just a little bit to dry off the egg yolk. 

Remove it from the heat and let it cool down a little bit before removing it from the baking pan. 

Chả Tôm can be served cold or warm.

As an aside, the recipe above can be used to make Chạo Tôm (Shrimps Sugarcane Skewer). You basically take a scoopful of shrimp paste and shape it over the end or middle of a sugar cane skewer. Next, steam it for about 5 minutes and finish it off on a grill until it turns golden brown. Canned sugarcane can be bought at any Asian Supermarket. Split each sugar cane into fourths, lengthwise and about 5 inches long. If you can't find sugarcane, fresh lemongrass stalks would work just as well.


  1. this recipe is great!! would you consider submitting this to delicious vietnam? a monthly blogging event celebrating vietnamese cuisine..

  2. How flattering...but will do anything to promote and share the beauty of our culture through the joy of cooking. How do I go about doing submitting it?

  3. Can I use the pork fat from the "thit ba chi"? Thank you.

  4. Love your recipe!

  5. íts great! Thanks for sharing :)

  6. Hi Annette. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful recipes. Your detailed instruction and pictures have help me as well. Happy holidays to you and your family.

  7. Thank you for the lovely recipe.
    Can I freeze it?