Menbosha, a Korean-style shrimp toast, might be the next best thing you've ever tasted, especially if you're a sandwich lover!
Bread is such a versatile ingredient that there are tons of ways to enjoy it. You might have had your sandwiches with avocadoes and honey but have you tried fried shrimp toast? If you love prawns and toasts, then menbosha is a perfect dish for you.
This article will go through the various methods (pan-fry, air-fry and oven-bake styles) of preparing this delicious Asian toast dish. We have also included a chicken variety of the plate, in case prawn is not to your liking. It is super easy to make at home!
What is it?
Mian bao xia is a Korean-Chinese dish consisting of marinated shrimp balls sandwiched between milk toasts. Its name originated from the word 'mian bao', which means bread and 'xia', meaning prawn in Chinese. It is pronounced as "menbosha" (멘보샤) in Korean.
Curious about menbosha's origin?
This fried toast became the talk of the town after it was introduced by a Korean-Taiwanese celebrity chef, Lee Yeon-bok. It is a best-seller at his restaurant, which specialises in Korean-Chinese cuisine. It is so well-known that it's a sport to get a reservation! Unfortunately, it is a struggle to secure a table, but the dish is also pretty costly for a sandwich.
However, you can make it yourself without fighting for a seat or burning your pockets. The famous chef has generously shared the recipe on various cooking shows. Therefore, you can follow Lee Yeon-bok's recipe to make them at home.
There's also 'Yuri's recipe' shared by the actress Lee Yuri on 'Stars' Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant'. The original menbosha recipe inspires it with a bit of a twist.
Mian bao xia is savoury with a crispy outer part, whereas it's inside is soft and chewy. Although you can eat it on its own, it can be a bit boring and greasy.
To add more fun, you can enjoy it with a sauce or two! Ketchup and garlic sauce are perfect matches for this dish to add a sweet and tangy taste.
A regular serving of menbosha contains about 118 calories. This makes it an excellent appetiser and party snack to enjoy.
Difference with Chinese Shrimp Toast
There's not much of a difference between Chinese shrimp toast and the Korean version. One noticeable difference is that the Chinese version is often topped with sesame seeds while the Korean version isn't. Other than that, Chinese prawn toast recipes may incorporate pork fat into the sandwich.
- You can use two knives at once when mincing the prawns to chop them faster. You can also smash the prawns with the flat side of the knives as taught by Chef Yeon-bok.
- To avoid squishing the bread, don’t press down the bread too hard while cutting them. You can also freeze the bread beforehand.
- Instead of throwing away the bread crusts, you can save them for other snacks.
- The easiest way to mix the menbosha shrimp paste is by using your hands.
Using an Air-fryer
Since it is deep-fried in oil, mian bao xia can be very greasy. Therefore, it is better to air-fry it instead as less oil is needed. It also makes the sandwich a bit healthier without sacrificing the crunch and taste. Just brush over a bit of oil onto the sandwich and air-fry at 170°C for 10 minutes.
Not a seafood lover? You can substitute the prawns with minced chicken for your fried toast! Also, you should note that cooking with chicken means a longer cooking time. The chicken menbosha should be fried on medium heat until it turns crisp and golden.
You can prepare the sandwiches in advance and save them for later by making frozen menbosha. This would be perfect for days where you get a sudden craving for this delicious snack. You can get some out of the freezer and fry them up!
However, make sure not to overstuff them in one container. This is because milk toasts are fragile, and doing so will squish them. Instead, it is better to store a few in several containers and stack them up in your freezer. With proper storage, they can last up to 3 weeks.
Menbosha Recipe | Korean Shrimp Toast
- 6 slices bread
- 300 g shrimp
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon chicken stock optional
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Cut the bread crusts. Then, slice the bread into four small squares.
- Peel and devein the shrimps, remove the tails, and mince them.
- In a bowl, add the shrimp, salt, pepper, corn starch, chicken stock, egg white, and lemon juice. Mix well.
- Brush some olive oil onto the bread.
- Make menbosha prawn balls and place them in-between the sliced breads on a baking tray.
- Bake them in an oven at 200°C for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Then, serve with preferred sauce.
- It is easier to wear a kitchen glove and mix the shrimp paste using hands.
- If using an air-fryer, air fry the menbosha pieces at 170°C for 10 minutes.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimate.
Not convinced that it's easy to make? Youtuber sweetpotagoh has made a video recipe to show you how easy it is to oven-bake the prawn toasts at home! Check out his video below to see him making the dish from start to finish.
How did your mian bao xia turn out? Please share with us a photo of your lovely homemade snack by tagging us on Instagram @honestfoodtalks!
Craving for a bready snack but something sweet instead? Do you know about Honey Toast Box, a guilty pleasure amongst many fans across Japan and Korea? If it is your first time reading about it, check out our home recipe on making it!