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Indonesian Shrimp Crackers

Fall Cooking Treats

Am I the only one who gets a little loony in the fall? It really is my favorite time of year. I just love the cool brisk night air and the vibrant colors of the fall leaves, but most of all I love to start cooking again after a hot summer.

All summer long we avoid using the oven, of course, and when I absolutely must bake, I have a Hamilton Beach Countertop Convection Oven that I keep on the deck. Not only does it allow me to bake during those hot summer evenings without heating up the house, but the convection setting will cut cooking times by up to 30%, saving energy and, of course, money. (I do love to save money — especially on energy costs.) It even has a rotisserie, for when the mood strikes.

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread

Last week, I made some terrific pumpkin bread and muffins that I've been happily sharing with friends and family. (I replaced half the oil with applesauce and they turned out extra moist and tasty.)

Firehouse Crab Cakes

This week I'm obsessing over crab cakes. The sampling I had for our anniversary dinner wasn't nearly enough. The problem is that every time I think I've collected all the ingredients, I find something else that's missing. Tonight I even managed to get an egg cracked in the mixing bowl, and then began chopping red onion, only to realize I was missing the Dijon Mustard. At least now I have a head start for my next attempt at making crab cakes — maybe tonight.

Indonesian Shrimp Crackers

[Click image for slideshow]

Shrimp Crackers
Shrimp Crackers

Deep Fried Shrimp Chip
Deep Fried Shrimp Chip

Puffed Deep Fried Shrimp Cracker
Puffed Deep Fried Shrimp Cracker

Basket of small Shrimp Crackers
Basket of small Shrimp Crackers

Pre-packaged Shrimp Chips
Pre-packaged Shrimp Chips

I had also been on a search for, of all things, shrimp crackers. On our trip to Sacramento last week, we stopped as we always do in Old Town Sacramento to visit my friend Joe Laszlo at Laszlo's Gourmet Smoked Fish. He makes the most delicious smoked salmon I've ever tasted. I never go to Sacramento without stopping. The problem is that he now closes at 6 p.m., instead of 7 p.m. so - you guessed it - we just missed him. (Editor's note: Unfortunately, Joe sold his business years ago and the new owners didn't give it the love and care Joe did. It's no longer available anywhere.)

I was so disappointed. Not only was Joe gone, but they also turned the bakery next door into a hot dog shop. I have nothing against hot dogs, but they don't serve coney dogs and I really loved the Mocha Praline Cigars they made at the bakery.

So, I stopped in to visit my friends at the Indo Café. They make the very best fried noodles. I've attempted to make some at home, but they just aren't the same. Each time I stop in, I pick up some shrimp crackers; in fact, I normally buy all they have on hand. The trouble is they never last long enough.

I am what you would call a nibbler, whether I'm working or reading, I like to have something to nibble on. Lately it's been corn puffs - that I'm not supposed to have. The hubby and I try really hard to stick to the Eat Right For Your Blood Type diet and being a Type "O", corn is a no-no. These shrimp crackers are perfect, though. They are made from Tapioca flour, shrimp, eggs, sugar and salt.

Krupuk Udang Shrimp Crackers

I actually persuaded the manager at our local market to order some pre-packaged shrimp chips for me, but they just weren't the same. I had no idea you could buy chips that you can cook at home. So, I went in search of them and finally found what I was searching for thanks to a lovely woman at the Asian Market in Modesto. The crackers are labeled "Krupuk Udang Shrimp Crackers," made by Komodo, a product of Indonesia, (just in case you decide to try them).

Shrimp Crackers come in two sizes: large and small. Both are equally good. The directions say to deep-fry the large crackers one at a time. I was very tempted to ignore those instructions and I'm so glad I didn't. The crackers sit in the oil for a few moments when you fry them, and then they roll up into a ball and begin expanding. My son and I really enjoyed watching the crackers as they cooked. These crackers grow up to four times their size. Once they finish expanding, turn them over and cook for another 20 or 30 seconds, allow the oil to drain, and then cool on a paper towel.

These are so much better than the pre-cooked ones you can purchase bagged in stores that tend to be greasy. This tasty snack is light, airy and not greasy at all. The kids will love them, too. I purchased both the large and small crackers. The large bag contains about 35 crackers for $2.29 — they go a long way. The smaller chips come in a small and large bag that sells for $2.29 and $3.35 respectively. These are a much cheaper snack than potato chips and are much better for you.

I was told they might be cooked in the microwave as well. We'll try that next.

We picked up a few more items that I intend to try out; I'll let you know how that goes. I'm thinking I'll try my hand at some ethnic cooking next.

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Posted: November 06, 2009

Carschooling by Diane Flynn Keith

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