When I saw the advertisement on Instagram, I was hit with nostalgia. Not nostalgia for McDonald’s in particular but for Japan. We must have eaten at McDonald’s twice the last time we were in Japan. Both times in Osaka. And, both times, it was out of stress.
Our first McDonald’s meal in Osaka was courtesy of our daughters. We arrived by train from Kyoto and we had just checked in to the apartment that was meant to be home for the next seven days.
Unfortunately, there was a mix up and the apartment hadn’t been cleaned after the last guests had departed. While I was in communication with our host, the girls stepped out, found McDonald’s and bought burgers.
The second McDonald’s meal was a few days later. We were supposed to go on a tour of Fushimi Inari, the tour guide stood us up and while we planned on going to the site by ourselves, we went to McDonald’s for a quick meal.
We had teriyaki burgers and fries. And we were amazed that customers could leave their belongings on the table, walk to the counter to order, and no one snatched their bags and phones and whatnot. That doesn’t happen in the Philippines. The trick here is to sling you bag on your neck, keep everything inside it, or someone is likely to steal your stuff.
Ah, but this is about shrimp nuggets. I shouldn’t get too carried away with the story telling. So, here’s how I made shrimp nuggets two days ago.
I thawed fully peeled and deveined shrimps here which I buy frozen by the kilo. Although fresh is always best, lots of times, consideration for convenience plays a huge factor. If using fresh shrimps, check out the guide on how to prep them.
I pressed the shrimps between stacks of paper towels to remove as much surface moisture as I could, then I dumped them into the mini food processor and ground them. Not to a smooth paste, mind you, because I wanted a rather chunky texture.
The ground shrimps went into a mixing bowl. Salt and pepper were sprinkled in, and a couple of tablespoons of potato starch to act as binder. Everything was mixed together until the salt, pepper and starch were fully incorporated.
Now, the trick for easier handling. I took a container and sprinkled panko to cover the entire bottom. The shrimp mixture was spread over the panko and covered with more panko. The container was covered and the soon-to-be McDonald’s style shrimp nuggets went into the fridge for an hour. Chilling firms up the mixture and that makes it easier to cut and shape later.
Fast forward to an hour later, the shrimp mixture was dumped on a cutting board and cut into nuggets. I lightly flattened each piece with my hands and rolled it in more panko to make sure that every inch of the surface was coated.
Then, I fried the shrimp nuggets. Temperature is crucial here. If the oil is not hot enough, it will take forever for the crust to brown. And waiting too long for that to happen means you overcook the shrimps. If the oil is too hot, the panko will brown too fast but the shrimp patty might still be undercooked. So, again, temperature is crucial. Keep it at 350F and cook the shrimp nuggets for only a minute, flipping them over once or twice for even cooking. Drain them on paper towels before serving.
- Press the shrimps between stacks of paper towels to dry the surface.
- Grind the shrimps in a food processor (or chop manually using a heavy knife).
- Mix together the shrimps, salt, pepper and potato starch.
- Coat the bottom of a container with panko, spread the shrimp mixture on top, cover with more panko, cover the container tightly and chill for an hour.
- Dump the shrimp mixture on a cutting board, use a knife or spatula to divide into equal portions (12 to 16, depending on how small or large you want your shrimp nuggets).
- Flatten each portion lightly with your hands and roll in more panko until completely covered.
- In a frying pan, heat two inches of cooking oil until it reaches 350F.
- Fry the shrimp nuggets in batches for about a minute or just until the panko is browned and crisp.
- Drain the shrimp nuggets on paper towels to remove excess oil.
- Serve with chili sauce or tare sauce, or both, for dipping.