Aunt Gloria’s Shrimp Fritters

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Reblogged from morethanonemoreday.blogspot.com, Sunday July 18, 2010

The nicest thing about visiting Calgary is finding out what family foodies are cooking and eating! This recipe is full of shrimp and flavor. The egg, which is optional, adds additional leavening. The tomato helps keep the fritter moist. At my dad’s request, my sister-in-law Lorraine made these fritters for a Calgary Stampede breakfast at home. Our guests requested her recipe because they loved these fritters so much. Lorraine uses very little measurements in her cooking but I like to be scientific so these amounts, except for the shrimp, are approximate.

3 lb. (6 cups) large frozen fresh shrimp, thawed, shelled, deveined, cut into 4 pieces each and sprinkled with 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour, plus more as needed (omit salt or use very little if using self-rising flour)
1 egg (optional)
1 large tomato seeded and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper (use less if preferred)
2 cups water, plus more as needed
1 cup scallion, chopped finely  (about 1 bunch),
1  1/2 cup cilantro, chopped finely (about 1 1/2 bunches)
1-3 “country peppers” (scotch bonnet or habañero), seeded and chopped finely (discard seeds or use them if a hotter fritter is desired)
1 inch of oil in a heavy skillet for frying.

In a large bowl, mix the flour and black pepper. Add shrimp, egg (if using), tomato, water, scallion and cilantro. Mix well. The batter should be thick, not runny. There are two ways to test this. First, dip a spoon in the batter and drop it on the surface.  If the batter mounds and doesn’t spread, the batter is thick enough. The second way is the traditional method.  Lorraine dips a wooden chopstick in the batter and pulls out the stick.  If batter runs off the chopstick, it needs more flour. If it drips in clumps, it’s thick enough. Add a bit more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the batter is too thin. If the batter is too thick, add up to 1/2 cup more water, one tablespoon at a time. Add the chilies to the batter and stir to combine.

For the next part, put on a kitchen apron in case the oil spatters. Heat 1 inch of oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Lorraine dips a wet wooden chopstick in the oil; if it sizzles then it is hot enough. Drop batter in rounded kitchen spoonfuls in hot oil, each fritter about 3 inches in diameter. Fry until golden, about 2-3 minutes on each side. If the fritters get brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Fry just 3 fritters at a time. Drain well on paper toweling. Cool slightly. Serve warm as an appetizer or as a snack.

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