Sunday, August 18, 2013

Shrimp Toast Dip

Shrimp Toast Dip in red ramekin with tortilla chips

Lighten up this deep-fried Chinese/Tiki classic by turning it into a versatile dip or spread 

The Shrimp Toast you find on dim sum carts and Tiki-themed platters is totally delicious — but also insanely caloric.  The dish features a tasty shrimp mixture spread on very thin pieces of crustless dried white bread (usually cut into triangles).  These morsels are then deep fried until crisp and irresistible. 

Luscious.  But not for the faint of heart.  If only we could capture the deliciousness of Shrimp Toast without all that deep-fried fat . . . .

Hey, wait.  We can!  Just drop the “toast” (who’s going to miss white bread anyway?) and turn the shrimpy mixture (aka “the good stuff”) into a tasty dip/spread that’s party-ready and hostess-friendly.

Set out a bowl of it as dip, accompanied by crackers, crudités, whatever.  Or stuff the shrimp spread onto cucumber boats, mushroom caps, or some other tasty base, and serve as canapés. 

More good news:  You can prepare Shrimp Toast Dip several hours ahead, since there’s no last-minute deep frying required.  You’ll have more time to chat with guests, less mess to clean up.  And your bathroom scale will still respect you in the morning.



Recipe:  Shrimp Toast Dip

Shrimp Toast is a common item at Chinese-American restaurants.  It’s also a universal favorite on the pupu platters served at Tiki- and Polynesian-themed restaurants.  Since it’s Tiki month here on Kitchen Riffs (and all our food posts this month are platter-friendly), we just had to mention Shrimp Toast.

But we know that not everyone likes to deep fry.  And for those who do, we’ve already posted about Crab Rangoon. So we decided to take Shrimp Toast in a different (and healthier) direction.

We dropped the white bread — i.e., the “toast”— which contributes almost nothing to the flavor of the dish (it’s just meant to hold the shrimp paste together while it’s fried, and serves as a delivery vehicle for conveying the morsels to your mouth).  We also ditched the deep fryer, instead concentrating on the flavor of the shrimp mixture.

There are lots of recipes out there for Shrimp Toast — and about the only ingredient that’s common to all of them is shrimp (and, well, that white bread).  Many recipes feature other ingredients that I specify here.  And quite a few call for an ingredient I’ve decided to omit:  water chestnuts.  (But if the taste of water chestnuts is necessary to your enjoyment, by all means feel free to include some.)

One non-traditional ingredient I’ve included in my recipe is mayonnaise.  I use mayo primarily because it provides great texture, helping turn shrimp paste into a dip.  It also holds all the ingredients together.

I also include lime juice and zest as optional ingredients (because sometimes I like to use them and sometimes I don't).  For the batch I made to photograph, I omitted them.  But if you like lime, you’ll find that it adds some nice (if nontraditional) flavor.

Consider my ingredient quantities more as suggestions than rigid guidelines, BTW.  You may want to use more or less of particular flavors.

This recipe makes somewhere over a cup of dip, and can easily be halved, doubled, tripled — you get the idea. 

Preparation time is about 15 minutes, and you can make it several hours ahead.  Leftovers keep for a day or two if refrigerated in an airtight container.

Ingredients
  • 4 scallions, chopped roughly (include green part; you may want to save some rounds from the green fronds for garnish)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • piece of ginger root about 1½ inches long (when chopped, 2 tablespoons or a bit less)
  • 8 ounces cooked, peeled, deveined shrimp (you can either cook your own, or use thawed frozen precooked)
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (light mayo works fine)
  • ~1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (omit this if you don’t like spicy)
  • ~1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 3 - 4 teaspoons lime juice (optional; to taste)
  • ~2 teaspoons lime zest (optional; to taste)
Procedure
  1. Wash and trim the scallions, and chop roughly.  Place scallions in the bowl of a food processor (I generally use a mini-processor for a batch this size.)
  2. Peel the garlic and chop roughly, then add to the food processor.  Peel the ginger and chop fairly well; add to the food processor.
  3. Whirl the food processor to chop everything finely.  You may need to use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides a couple of times.
  4. Roughly chop the shrimp and add it to the food processor.  Whirl until the mixture forms a rough paste.  (If you don't want to use a food processor, chop everything as finely as you can.)
  5. Empty the contents of the food processor into a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Add the mayonnaise, Sriracha, soy sauce, and optional lime juice and zest.  You may want to add a little less than full quantities at first, mix, then taste and adjust.
  6. Mix all ingredients together, then move the paste to an airtight container.  Chill for at least an hour before serving.  You may want to sprinkle a few thinly sliced green scallion rounds on top for garnish.  See Notes for serving suggestions.
Shrimp Toast Dip fills Cucumber "Boat" Canapés

Notes
  • Homemade Mayonnaise is always welcome anywhere, although store bought works fine in this dish.  Light mayo works OK too.
  • I usually serve this dish as a dip with crackers and/or chips of some sort (tortilla chips work well).  You can also use it as a spread on cocktail rye or another bread.
  • Shrimp Toast Dip makes tasty canapés.  I like to halve cucumbers lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and cut them into little triangular “boats.”  I add maybe a teaspoon of dip to each boat and garnish with a few green scallion rounds and usually half a cherry tomato.  BTW, you can peel the cukes or not — I often leave the peels on.  Tip:  I usually cut a thin slice of cuke off the bottom of each “boat” to form a flat surface (it prevents them from rocking if you’re passing a platter around).
  • You can also use this recipe to make baked Shrimp Toast.  Here’s how:  Take a baguette, cut it in half lengthwise, and dry it in the oven for a few minutes (if you don’t dry it, the dip will ooze into the bread, making it soggy).  Spread the baguette halves with dip, and heat in a 475-degree F oven until the bread is crisp — 10 minutes, maybe 15 tops.  Slice and serve.
  • You could also run the bread under the broiler until the dip is nice and browned.
  • BTW, no need to restrict yourself to baguettes — any great tasting bread will work.
  • If you’re in the mood to make traditional, deep-fried Shrimp Toast, you can use this dip as the topping (you may want to omit the mayo, though it’s up to you): Cut the crusts from very thin slices of white bread, cut the bread into triangles, and dry them out in a 200-degree F oven for 20 minutes or so. Heat oil in a deep fryer until it reaches 350 to 375 degrees F. (Read our Crab Rangoon post for more info and tips on deep frying.) Spread a thin layer of dip on one side of each bread triangle. When the oil reaches the proper temperature, place several pieces of the bread into it, shrimp side down. Fry until nicely done — about 2 minutes. Flip the bread, and fry the other side for 30 seconds or so. Remove, drain, and serve. 
  • Freshly fried Shrimp Toast is wonderful, but it rapidly becomes less appealing as it sits around. So for a party, making Shrimp Toast Dip is much easier; you can mix it ahead and let it sit on the serving table for a while without losing flavor. You won’t have the deep-fried crunch — but chips or crackers can provide that.

King of the Pupu Platter

“Dee-lish,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs as she munched a chip laden with Shrimp Toast Dip.  “Right up there with Crab Rangoon.”

“Yes,” I agreed, stuffing a dipped chip into my maw. “In fact, if Crab Rangoon is Queen of the Pupu Platter, Shrimp Toast must be King.  It’s been on every platter I’ve ever seen.”

“Though I guess serving it as a dip might not be traditional?” she asked.

“Well, Tiki is all about stretching the rules,” I said.  “The flavor of this Shrimp Toast Dip is sensational, which is all that matters to me.”

“Guess the dip bowl isn’t regulation either, huh?”

“No, but restaurants just put appetizers on a platter because they’re easy to serve that way,” I said between bites.

“Did I just hear you pooh-pooh the platter?” asked Mrs K R.

Busted.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Homemade Mayonnaise
Crab Rangoon
Salmon and Cream Cheese Dip
Candied Bacon
Cheese Straws
California Clam Dip
Spicy Party Nuts
Pimento Cheese
Homemade Chex Mix
Microwave Popcorn

100 comments:

  1. LOL never pooh pooh the pupu. It's just not a good look.

    This dip looks smashing!

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    1. Hi Maureen, I know, one should never pooh pooh the platter! ;-) This is good stuff - worth making. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. What a fantastic idea. Deconstructed deep-fry. Perfect.

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    1. Hi Debra, I think this is actually better than the original. OK, maybe not if you have fresh, just-fried Shrimp Toast, because freshly fried anything is wonderful. But too often that dish disappoints in restaurants, alas. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Wow I love how you've changed this recipe to something lighter and more contemporary. It's so beautiful in the cucumber. Great recipe and lots of terrific tips.

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    1. Hi Vicki, this really works well in the cucumber - that might be my favorite way of serving it. Although it's hard to beat as a dip. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. As always, I enjoyed reading your narrative and pouring over your photos as much as I enjoyed contemplating the dish you've presented. Thank you for being a lovely voice in the blogosphere.

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    1. Hi Amy, what an incredibly nice comment! Thank you so much.

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  5. Believe it or not, I've never had Shrimp Toast! I'm sure it's wonderful and I would love it because its fried, but I would never make it because...it's fried. This dip, however, I can do. Great recipe and tips as usual John. The dip looks great in the cucumber boat!

    Nazneen

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    1. Hi Nazneen, I know what you mean about frying - I do it, but it's always a pretty big cleanup afterwards. I actually think the dip is better, and certainly less work. And aren't those cucumber boats fun? ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. I wish I could lick the screen. The photo with the shrimp in the cucumber boats is luscious! Great recipe and one I think will go over well in my house. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Lydia, those little boats are kinda cute, aren't they? ;-) This recipe is so worth making, IMO - I think you'll like it. Thanks for the comment.

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  7. This looks like a perfect finger food for parties. The idea of stuffing the dip in cucumber slices is fantastic. Perfect for hot summer!

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    1. Hi Holly, making the cucumber boats takes a bit of work, but it's a nice presentation! Great way to showcase the terrific flavor of this dip. Thanks for the comment.

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  8. The cucumber boats are my favorite of all of your serving suggestions, but I'm still staring at the picture trying to figure out how you cut the cucumber. :) I've always loved the Crab Ragoons but never was a fan of the fried shrimp toast, probably because of the fried white bread. This shrimp dip looks delicious and I would definitely make it with both the Sriracha and the lime. I actually prefer lime over lemon in most dishes. Thanks for taking the guilt out of this dish and sharing!

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    1. Hi MJ, those boats are kind neat, aren't they? That picture doesn't do the best job of showing their shape. Basically it's just as I say - cut the cukes in half, then cut each half into little triangles. I cut off the bottom of those triangles - the curved part of the cuke - to form a flat base. Next time you're cutting up a cuke just try it and I think it'll become pretty obvious. Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Your recipe and photos are terrific as usual but I especially liked your cucumber boat presentation.

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    1. Hi Karen, isn't that a fun presentation? Tastes great and looks so nice! Thanks for your kind words, and comment.

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  10. I love the colours of this dip it looks like summer in a bowl :)
    Yum!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. Hi Uru, it does have great color, doesn't it? I assume your finals are over - I hope you did well! Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Looks amazing John! I'm hungry just looking at it. I love how you made it into a boat canapés. YUM and pinning!

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    1. Hi Anne, those little boats are fun! Thanks for the pin, and the comment.

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  12. Yummy!!! We love shrimp and terrific use of it in a dip!

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    1. Hi Kiran, isn't shrimp such good stuff? And this dip works so well - it has wonderful flavor. Thanks for the comment.

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  13. I love Shrimp Toast! I love the mixture of shrimp, I love that it's easy to handle and I really love dipping it! However, whenever I think of Shrimp Toast, the first thing that comes to mind is oil dripping from the shrimp tail. Ick! (in the "olden" days I loved that too:)

    This is a fantabulous recipe, John. The concept is wonderful and the freedom even better. Custom made Shrimp Toast:) A wonderful addition to the Pupu platter by all means! The Tiki Style Cucumber Boats are awesome!

    Thank you so much for sharing, John. I do believe you are bringing the Tiki state of mind to the 21st century, single handedly. (with the utmost encouragement from Mrs Riffs:)

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    1. Hi Louise, Mrs K R definitely encourages all things Tiki! This is such a fun recipe - and one you can play with to adjust flavors to your own liking. Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Another reason for a small party , I love the way you put a twist to the shrimp toast , no frying , great , thanks for sharing :).... hey John , I keep hanging out with you and Mrs. Kitchen Riffs , I'm going to be a whiz at my gathering {giggling}.

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    1. Hi Nee, love having you hang out! This dip is so worth having - you gotta try it sometime. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. The dim sum version is usually so greasy, too. I prefer your version so much more. The cucumber cups are especially inviting at this time of year.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, alas, I've had some pretty greasy shrimp toast, too. Which is why I like the dip version - much better! Thanks for the comment.

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  16. This sounds delicious. I love dips and I love shrimp.

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    1. Hi Dawn, since you love dips and shrimp, this is right up your alley! Really good stuff. Thanks for the comment.

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  17. Oh, my. Definitely good stuff! I haven't had the fried version, but I can't imagine it's any better than your dip!

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    1. Hi Liz, good stuff indeed! No reason to try the fried version with this around. ;-)

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  18. Great flavors and those are perfect in the cucumber cups!

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    1. Hi Alyssa, aren't those cucumber cups cute? Really tasty, too! Thanks for the comment.

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  19. I have made the fried version and I agree that this is so much better and healthier. And I like the baked idea, too. Great idea and great post. Can't wait to try this one!

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    1. Hi Abbe, you'll like this, promise! Really great taste. And much as I love fried, the healthier version is better on so many levels, flavor included. Thanks for the comment.

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  20. terrific recipe,so good and lightened up it is all the more irresistible,we love each and every recipe on your awesome blog,they are so perfect and always rightly timed,thanks a lot for sharing these dainties...
    HAVE A GREAT DAY!!! :-)

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    1. Hi Kumar, it's really a nice recipe - so tasty! Thanks for your kind words, and comment.

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  21. John....I just love this lightened up version of the classic shrimp toast! You are right....we will never miss a piece of fried white bread. It's all about the shrimp, really! Those cucumber boats look amazing and that photo of it is just blowing my hair back! Beautiful and so appealing! And as always...I love your conversations with Mrs. KR! You two always make me grin! : )

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    1. Hi Anne, this really has all the taste and fun of shrimp toast without any of the downsides. Thanks for your kind words, and comment.

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  22. What a great idea!!!
    I am not a fan of deep fried food but I would love to keep the yummy shrimp flavour.

    Such amazing images too!!! Well done :)

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    1. Hi Gourmet Getaways, much as I love fried foods, I really have to watch how many of them I eat, and in fact almost never prepare them. This really is as good as the real thing, IMO. Thanks for the kind words, and comment.

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  23. My uni students would be very pleased you ditched the carbs! I'm imagining this dip would also work well with crab? It looks very nice and there's nothing better than a homemade dip xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, I've not tried this with crab, but I can't see why it wouldn't work. In fact I'll bet it'd be really tasty! Thanks for the comment.

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  24. This sounds fantastic, John, and a great substitute for the "real" thing. As much as I enjoy fried foods, it's too big a mess to make just for myself alone and shrimp toast, being it must be served immediately, really isn't guest-friendly. I want to enjoy my friends' company, not man the deep fryer. This dip, on the other hand, would be great, especially if I don't cut my hand making those cucumber boats. This was a fun post. I enjoyed the "Hey, wait. We can! " portion, You know, if this blogging thing doesn't work out, late night TV is always looking for product pitchmen. If you can "do" an Australian accent, you're in! :)

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    1. Hi John, LOL! I'll need to brush up on my accent. ;-) This really is a more sensible way to make this dish for most of us, or at least I think so. And you're so right that shrimp toast needs to be eaten immediately after it's fried - which is a pain for most home cooks. Thanks for the comment.

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  25. Whoa, that Cucumber "Boat" Canapés looks like jewelry - sooo beautiufl! I love this dish. I like mayo (particularly Japanese mayo) and despite a lot of people don't like it I'm a fan... :) I don't eat it by itself or anything but I like to use it here and there. Love your creative dip, John!

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    1. Hi Nami, I'll bet Japanese mayo would be wonderful in this dish! Great idea. Aren't those little boats fun? You can use the same idea for virtually any dip. Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Oh, what a fantastic post! a great snack.

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    1. Hi cquek, it really is a great snack - so tasty! Thanks for the comment.

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  27. Love the idea of deconstructing a recipe and your pictures are so nice, especially the canape.

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    1. Hi Asha, those boats were fun to photograph! And it's really a nice recipe. Thanks for the kind words, and comment.

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  28. Wow Shrimp Toast dip, what a cool idea :) Very inventive!

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    1. Hi Christine, IMO this is really better than the real thing. Easier to make, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  29. That's an awesome dip and the addition of Sriracha sauce gives the kick to the dip!!! Perfect for my taste!!!

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    1. Hi Shibi, the Sriracha really adds a lot of nice flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  30. I have never had the pleasure of eating shrimp toasts, but from your description I can tell you I'd must prefer your recipe here. I especially like the idea of stuffing mushrooms with it ... oh yes, that must go on my list. :)

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    1. Hi Judy, this sort of dip and mushrooms is a wonderful combo. Worth trying, IMO. Thanks for the comment.

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  31. Looks like a very tasty dip. I would definitely load up on the hot sauce, love spicy dips!

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    1. Hi Natalie, spicy is so good! I'm with you on that. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. This shrimp dip sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing!
    Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com

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    1. Hi Sashi, it's really a fun recipe, and so tasty! Thanks for the comment.

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  33. I've never had shrimp toast before! I love spicy dips so I'd love this one!

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    1. Hi Ashley, this is such a nice dip - really good flavor. And you can spice it up as much as you want! Thanks for the comment.

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  34. This looks so good! I love that you made it party friendly!

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    1. Hi Laura, isn't this nice? So tasty, and as you say, great for parties! Thanks for the comment.

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  35. What a delicious dip...sounds so tasty and the picture of the cucumber filled with shrimp dip is just amazing...so pretty and yummie.
    Thanks for this interesting recipe...and have a great week John :D

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    1. Hi Juliana, this is a fun recipe - and well worth trying. ;-) Thanks for the kind words, and comment.

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  36. This is a new dish to me, thanks so much for the introduction John. My mouth is watering right now. The last photo looks like it's waiting for me to dig right in.;)

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    1. Hi Nancy, if you like shrimp, this really is a nice, fun dish. Hope you have a chance to make it sometime so you can dig in! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  37. This is so creative !
    I bet it tastes really good

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    1. Hi Sketched Chef, it really is good! Well worth making. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  38. I love dips that use seafood. This is almost like a shrimp version of a salmon mousse. Great idea!

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    1. Hi Julia, it's rather similar, isn't it? A bit more kicked up than most salmon mousse, though. Thanks for the comment.

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  39. You know what, I have never tried toast dip before! Looks really good :)

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    1. Hi Kristi, this really is a nice remake of an old classic - definitely worth a try. Thanks for the comment.

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  40. This is truly genius! My mother adore shrimp toast. I have to surprise her with this. She hasn't made it in years!

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    1. Hi Kristi, isn't this a fun recipe? I think anyone who loves shrimp toast will really enjoy this! Thanks for the comment.

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  41. Such a great and intresting Idea.Looks nice!!!

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    1. Hi Gita, it's really a fun and tasty dish. Worth trying when you're in the mood for something different. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  42. Love that nice and simple dip, perfect for you cocktails

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    1. Hi Raymund, this is wonderful with cocktails! Or any time, really. Thanks for the comment.

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  43. Yum, John... such an interesting recipe! And that photo of the canapes is just gorgeous! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Hi Lizzy, this is really a fun way to get the great flavor of shrimp toast! Pretty versatile stuff. Thanks for the comment.

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  44. Good idea! The original version can sometimes be a bit too heavy an greasy, but this looks perfect. Thanks for this :)

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    1. Hi Irina, I agree if the original isn't fried properly (which happens all too often) it can be a real grease bomb. This removes that possibility. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  45. Gotta try this shrimp dip. I'm a real shrimp lover so anything made with them gets my vote. Love the cucumber boat photo! Another excellent post!!

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    1. Hi Bill, if you like shrimp, this is probably for you - super taste. Easy to make, too. Thanks for the kind words, and comment.

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  46. That's a fantastic idea,John .
    All the flavor- no regrets :)
    It's a must for our next party, thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Hi Daniela, it's really a fun dish! Quite tasty. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  47. Hi John, awesome appetizer. Look so inviting and you made it look so classy like from 5 star hotel. Thanks for sharing your delicious recipe.

    Best regards.

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    1. Hi Amelia, this really is a great appetizer - loads of flavor. And you can do so many different things with it! Really a fun dish. Thanks for the kind words, and comment.

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  48. I regularly read blogs across several subject areas, and I enjoy yours not only for the recipes but also for the clean text. I am an editor at a publishing company, and I deeply appreciate that I can read a blog without pervasive spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting errors.

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    1. Hi Ann, glad you enjoy the blog, and thanks for those kind words, and for taking time to comment. Mrs K R and I actually used to both work in publishing, so we appreciate the same thing, and put some effort into that. Always nice when it's noticed!

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  49. Scrumptious! This dip must be very tasty. A great starter.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Hi Rosa, it really is a nice starter - truly delish. Thanks for the comment.

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  50. Yum! You can never have too many good dip recipes, thanks John!

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    1. Hi Yvonne, I agree that there are never enough dip recipes! No matter how many I collect, I want just one more. Or two. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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