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Crispy Shrimp Balls
makes 30 to 32 balls

2/3 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, rinsed, and patted dry
1/2 cup water chestnuts,

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons minced scallions
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or sake
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 pound thin rice stick noodles (vermicelli)
safflower or corn oil for deep-frying
plum or duck sauce and hot mustard for dipping

Blanched water chestnuts in boiling water for 10 seconds. Refresh
in cold water. Drain and pat dry.

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the shrimp
to a paste. Transfer to a large bowl; add the water chestnuts,
seasonings, egg white, and cornstarch. Stir vigorously until a
stiff paste forms. Chill thoroughly. With a towel draped over
the hand that holds a sharp knife, cut the noodles into 1/2-inch
lengths. The towel prevents the noodles from flying around. Spread
evenly on a cookie sheet. Shape scant teaspoonfuls of the shrimp
mixture into balls, then roll in the noodle pieces, pressing lightly
to coat. Set on a cookie sheet. Heat a wok or a deep skillet or
saucepan until very hot. Add the oil and heat to 375 F. Deep-fry
the shrimp balls in batches, turning them constantly, until golden
brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a handled strainer or a slotted
spoon, drain briefly in a colander, then transfer to paper towels.
Between batches, skim the oil with a fine strainer, and reheat
until hot. Serve the shrimp balls warm with sauce and mustard. To
reheat, warm on a cookie sheet in a 375 F oven about 10 minutes.


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