I consider this dish a modern Vietnamese cook's interpretation of a classic. If you can find white sweet potatoes, use them--they're drier and less sweet than their orange cousins. Place the dipping sauce in a bowl surrounded by the lettuce and herbs so guests can build their own lettuce wraps as they like.
2 cups grated peeled white or orange sweet potato (about 8 oz.)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
4 ounces medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons rice flour (such as Bob's Red Mill)
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce, divided
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons matchstick-cut carrot
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 Thai chile, thinly sliced
8 butter lettuce leaves or other soft lettuce leaves
8 cilantro sprigs
4 mint sprigs
Est. added sugars 3g
How to Make It
Combine potato and salt in a bowl; gently massage with your hands until potato mixture is moist and limp. Rinse potato mixture; drain. Place potato mixture in paper towels; squeeze to remove excess liquid. Place potato mixture, shallots, and shrimp in a bowl, stirring to combine. Stir in flours, 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce, pepper, and egg. Divide and shape potato mixture into 8 (3-inch) cakes.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add 2 tablespoons oil; swirl to coat. Add 4 cakes to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crisp. Remove cakes from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 4 cakes and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Keep warm.
Combine sugar, 2 tablespoons water, juice, and vinegar in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until sugar dissolves. Stir in remaining 2 teaspoons fish sauce, carrot, garlic, and chile; let stand 15 minutes, or refrigerate up to 3 days.
Serve potato cakes with sauce, lettuce leaves, cilantro, and mint.
The Pho Cookbook.
Ten Speed Press, $22, on sale Feb. 7, 2017.
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