One of my favorite appetizers to serve to friends and family is firecracker shrimp. While they are a little bit of work, if you enlist a couple of volunteers from amongst your guests, the process can be fun as well as shortened considerably.
The preparation doesn't require a great deal of skill, but it does require a little patience and attention to detail. The results however, are visually stunning and sublimely delicious. I hope you try them and enjoy them as much as I do.
- 24 shrimp, peeled, deveined, and straightened*
- 12 egg roll wraps
- 1/2 tsp garlic, pressed or minced
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sweet chili sauce (I used a rare and hot one called Al Buddah)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp corn starch
- Vegetable oil (for frying, at least 3" deep if not using a deep fryer)
For the slurry:
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1/4 cup warm water
*I used precooked shrimp, 31-40 count size. This is the smallest size shrimp you can use with regular sized egg roll wraps, otherwise the wraps won't be tight enough. Raw shrimp is preferable, but I wanted to show you can make these with either. To straighten shrimp, simply make tiny cuts on the inside of the curvature.
Step 1: Prep Marinade and Slurry
Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, chili sauce, and 1 tsp corn starch to a small bowl and mix well. In another small bowl, mix 1 tbsp corn starch and 1/4 cup warm water. Stir until lump free.
Prep shrimp by cleaning them, straightening them, and thoroughly patting them dry.
Step 2: Marinate
Brush the marinade on to the shimp, cover, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
Step 3: Wrap
Here comes the tedious part, wrapping the shrimp. The key here is to wrap the shrimp tight and straight in the wraps. In particular you want to avoid gaps around the tail and at the bottom fold. Gaps will let oil inside the wrap and overcook the shrimp.
Cut the egg roll wraps in half diagonally as shown. You might also want to start heating your oil at this point, to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pat the shrimp dry, it is okay, not all of the marinade will be removed. A slightly dry shrimp rolls easier and spatters less in the oil. As shown in the picture, roll the shrimp by aligning the tail with the long edge of the egg roll wrap. Roll tightly a couple of times, then fold over the corner, taking care to get a good tight seam. finish rolling until just a triangle remains. Dip your finger in the cornstarch slurry and apply it to the entire corner to seal the wrap. Complete rolling the shrimp up as shown.
Step 4: Fry
Once you have all your shrimp wrapped, drop them in 375 degree Fahrenheit vegetable oil for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Pat off excess oil and allow to cool slightly before serving.
I like to serve mine in amuse bouche spoons with a little extra sweet chili sauce.