I always say that if I really tried, I think I could be a pescatarian. I won't dare attempt to go on a vegan diet, but I truly think I can survive on just seafood and vegetarian meals. Shrimp, lobster, salmon, I love them all, especially shrimp. Shrimp is so versatile and easy to dress up and down like with these Asian sesame shrimp meatballs. Flavor the seafood with Asian seasonings, pan-fry them until golden brown, and drizzle sesame chili sauce on top. It's so delicious, it might trick you into thinking you can become a pescatarian too.
Asian Sesame Shrimp Meatballs
- 1 lb shrimp
- 4 ounces water chestnuts
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 2 scallions
- 2 shallots
- ½-inch knob ginger peeled
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 egg white
- 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
- 2 teaspoons hoisin
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup panko
- oil for pan-frying
Sesame chili sauce
- 4 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ tablespoon sambal
- ½ tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon toasted coconut
- 2 scallions chopped
- Use a food processor and pulse together shrimp with water chestnuts, cilantro, scallions, shallots, ginger, and garlic until coarsely chopped. Alternatively, chop by hand. Transfer shrimp mixture to a bowl and season with egg white, Shaoxing wine, hoisin, cornstarch, sesame oil, and black pepper. Mix until well combined.
- Pour panko into a bowl. Scoop about 2-3 tablespoons of shrimp meatball mixture and shape into balls. Coat balls in panko and place on a baking sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining shrimp mixture.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Arrange meatballs in an even layer and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining meatballs, adding more oil as needed.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Combine water, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, sambal, and rice vinegar in a small pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Drizzle sauce on shrimp meatballs and garnish with sesame seeds, toasted coconut, and chopped scallions. Serve with extra sauce on the side.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
As far as dinners go, I think these Asian sesame shrimp meatballs are pretty easy to prepare. If you have a food processor, it's even easier. Just throw all of the fresh ingredients into the processor and pulse until chopped. You can always chop everything by hand too.
The only downside of using a food processor is that the shrimp can get over chopped, if that makes any sense. Use the pulse button to have more control of the machine, leaving the seafood in small chunks rather than a paste.
Now transfer the shrimp mixture to a bowl and add the seasonings. If you have trouble finding Shaoxing wine, substitute it with sherry. Add the egg white, cornstarch, hoisin, wine, sesame oil, and black pepper, mixing until well combined.
The shrimp meatballs are delicate so we're going to bread them in panko to help them stay together better. If you're preparing the meatballs ahead of time, go ahead and chill them after they've been breaded.
Heat oil in a saute pan and carefully lay several meatballs in the pan. Cook until they become golden brown, then flip them over and cook until golden brown. It's best to cook the Asian sesame shrimp meatballs in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
Add additional oil as needed as you continue to cook the rest of the meatballs. To prevent the cooked ones from getting cold, arrange them on a baking sheet and keep them in an oven set at 200 degrees F.
While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce. Simply simmer together all of the ingredients for a couple of minutes until the sugar dissolves. You can also prepare the sesame chili sauce up to 3 days in advance.
Arrange the meatballs on a serving platter and drizzle the sauce on top. You don't need that much sauce, just a light drizzle. Sprinkle toasted coconut, scallions, and sesame seeds on top, and serve with extra sauce on the side.
I made these Asian sesame shrimp meatballs several times now and every time I remember how much I love them. The crunchy water chestnuts, sweet shrimp, and sesame chili sauce all work together to create one delicious seafood meal. So team pescatarian?
For more shrimp inspiration check out this honey walnut coconut shrimp!