For the shrimp toast:
About 1 quart frying oil, neutral oil
½ pound small to medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 large clove garlic
4 thin scallions
A small handful of cilantro leaves, about ¼ cup
1 large egg white
About 1 tablespoon soy sauce
About 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 inch ginger root, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons cornstarch
About 1 teaspoon white pepper
6 slices thin white sandwich bread
About ½ cup toasted sesame seeds
1 jar Thai sweet chili sauce
For the Taiwanese meat sauce:
3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as peanut, safflower or canola
½ pound mushrooms, such as hen-of-the-woods or maitake, pulled into small pieces, or shitake, stemmed and sliced
1 pound ground pork or beef
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 large shallots OR about ¾ cup fried shallots (packaged), either, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
About 1 teaspoon five-spice powder, ⅓ palmful
¼ cup Shaoxing, Chinese sherry/rice wine, or white wine
2 tablespoons dark soy souce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 cups chicken stock or bone broth
1 pound Chinese egg noodles or egg tagliatelle or spaghetti, cooked to package directions (OR Serve with 1 ½ cups Jasmine rice, cooked 15 minutes in salted 2 ¾ cups water)
4 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens
For shrimp toast, heat oil in a deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
Place shrimp in food processor bowl. Crush garlic and discard skin, coarsely chop scallions, and add both to shrimp along with cilantro, egg white, soy sauce and sesame oil. Grate in ginger, sprinkle with cornstarch and white pepper, then pulse the machine to finely chop into a fairly smooth but thick shrimp paste.
Cut the crusts off the bread and spread the shrimp onto it in even layers. Cut each toast corner to corner, 16 triangles total. Pour out the sesame seeds onto a plate and coat half the triangles in sesame seeds.
Fry the toast triangles in 2 batches, about 2 minutes shrimp-side down to golden, flip and fry about 30 seconds more, then remove to drain. Serve with sauce on the side in small ramekin.
For the Taiwanese meat sauce, heat a large pot of water to boil for pasta or boil water for rice.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil, add mushrooms and brown them. Add ground meat and crumble, season with pepper. When meat crumbles, add shallots, garlic, five-spice powder, stir 2 minutes to soften, then add Shaoxing or wine, dark and light soy sauce, and let them absorb. Stir in sugar, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat a bit and cover, cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cook pasta or rice.
Serve the meaty sauce tossed with pasta or over rice and garnished with the scallions.