Firecracker Shrimp

Firecracker Shrimp

The Spruce / Christine Ma

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Total: 28 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
519 Calories
22g Fat
40g Carbs
41g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 519
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 359mg 120%
Sodium 1744mg 76%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 14%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 41g
Vitamin C 15mg 73%
Calcium 202mg 16%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 618mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Firecracker shrimp are an Asian-inspired flavor celebration. A quick and easy treat for all occasions, this dish works as a flavorful appetizer or as an entrée with rice and veggies. Peeled shrimp are tossed in potato starch, fried to crispy perfection, and thoroughly coated in a sticky, sweet, and spicy sauce, then garnished with sesame, green onion, cilantro, and chile. Each bite-size shrimp explodes with flavor, like a little firecracker. If you love shrimp, these may prove addictive.

The heat level is up to you, depending on your choice of sriracha and the quantity of Thai chile in your garnish. As written, the sauce doesn't bring a ton of heat. That's because concentrating spice in the garnish, rather than the sauce, allows each diner to choose mild or spicy with every bite.

You don't absolutely need a deep fryer for this recipe, but it makes the difference between quick and easy, and longer and a bit messier. A fryer regulates the temperature automatically for consistent results, and its basket keeps the process simple and tidy.

Ingredients

  • Peanut oil, for frying

  • 3 tablespoons honey

  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce

  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger root

  • 1 dash fish sauce

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

  • 1 1/2 pounds (26 to 30 count) white shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed

  • 1/2 cup potato starch

  • Sesame seeds, garnish

  • Scallions, sliced on a bias, garnish

  • 1 red Thai chile pepper, sliced, garnish

  • Torn fresh cilantro, garnish

  • 1/2 teaspoon  Szechuan peppercorns, ground, optional

  • Rice and steamed vegetables, for serving, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Firecracker Shrimp ingredients

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  2. Add enough peanut oil to a countertop deep fryer or a large, heavy-bottomed pot so that there is 3-inches worth of oil. Preheat to 360 F.

    oil in a pot

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  3. Combine the honey, sriracha, ginger, fish sauce, and lemon juice in a large, wide mixing bowl.

    Combine the honey, sriracha, ginger, fish sauce, and lemon juice in a bowl

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  4. Put the shrimp and potato starch into a gallon zip-close freezer bag and seal. Gently shake and turn the bag to thoroughly coat the shrimp in the potato starch.

    Put the shrimp and potato starch into a gallon zip-close freezer bag

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  5. In two batches (most likely, depending on the size of your setup), fry the shrimp until they turn pink, and the starch coating becomes crisp and golden, about 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Remove the shrimp and shake off the excess oil.

    shrimp frying in a pot of oil

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  6. Toss the hot, fried shrimp in the sauce. Garnish with the sesame seeds, sliced scallions, chile pepper, cilantro, and a sprinkle of the Szechuan pepper, if using.

    Garnish the shrimp with the sesame seeds, sliced scallions, chile pepper, cilantro, and a sprinkle of the Szechuan pepper

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

  7. Serve with rice and perhaps a steamed vegetable. Enjoy!

    Firecracker Shrimp, served with a side of rice

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

Tips

When buying shrimp, there are a few things to know:

  • The "count" is really about size. The smaller the number, the larger the shrimp. For example, 26 to 30 count means that one pound contains between 26 and 30 shrimp. It's a good bite-size shrimp for this recipe.
  • With that many shrimp per pound, buying them peeled and deveined will save a lot of time and effort.
  • Frozen shrimp is a great option since most fresh shrimp has previously been frozen anyway. Defrost the shrimp per the package instructions before using.

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