The most popular appetizer that I make on television is Firecracker Shrimp, with only 3 main ingredients that are pantry and freezer ready, it’s an impressive appetizer that you can make last minute. I’ve changed up the recipe to add a Thai flavor, with prepared Pad Thai Sauce (from jar), shrimp, chopped peanuts, fresh basil and spring roll wrapper.
It’s so easy to make, that my son helps me make the Firecracker Shrimp too. We recently did a chef demo at the Sarasota Food and Wine Festival. Nathan was my sous-chef and in charge of rolling. I was the fry-master.
Okay, truth be told, I was his sous-chef. Nathan was definitely the star, explaining to the long line of people waiting for a sample, how easy it is to roll the Firecracker Shrimp.
We brought 5 pounds of shrimp, but ran out (the Firecracker Shrimp were a hit!) Nathan cozied up to the chefs at the next booth, and scored us a big bucket of slow-cooked pork belly that they brought extra. Nathan ended up rolling up the pork belly in the Pad Thai Sauce and we fried those for mini egg rolls!
These Thai style Firecracker Shrimp can be prepared ahead of time, frozen then fried (direct from freezer to fryer) in 5 minutes. We make a big ol’ batch and freeze them for easy homemade appetizers.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
For best results, go to an Asian market and buy the spring roll (sometimes called egg roll) wrappers. They are in the freezer. These Asian branded wrappers are so much better than the thick, pasta-like, starchy wrappers that you can get at standard grocery stores (usually found refrigerated, next to tofu). However if these are the only wrappers you can find, the will work fine.
To defrost the Asian spring roll wrappers, do NOT open package. Place in refrigerator overnight - or leave on counter for 1 hour. Do not microwave or submerge in water to defrost. If you open the package, place a damp towel over the package to prevent wrappers from drying out.
You can serve these Thai Firecracker Shrimp with prepared Sweet Chili Sauce, Sriracha or any other type of Asian chili-garlic sauce! The Sweet Chili Sauce is our favorite - you can find it at most grocery stores
1. Shell the shrimp, leaving the tail on. Pat the shrimp very dry with a towel or paper towel. With a small knife, make three shallow, parallel slits along the inside curve of shrimp, just nicking the shrimp in place to "straighten" out the natural curve of shrimp. This will help keep the shrimp nice and straight when frying.
2. Line up the shrimp on a plate, tails all facing one direction. We're going to marinate the shrimp, without getting the tails wet. Spoon the prepared Pad Thai sauce over the shrimp, avoiding the tails. Let marinate for a few minutes.
3. In the meantime, let's prepare to wrap and roll. Cover the defrosted spring roll wrappers with damp towel. Have your water + cornstarch ready. Place a shrimp on the wrapper, add a sprinkle of peanuts and basil and roll the shrimp up in the wrapper (see pictures for rolling instructions). Keep the wrapped Firecrackers under plastic wrap while wrapping the rest to prevent drying.
4. When ready to cook, heat oil in wok, deep fryer or pot to 375F. Carefully slide a few Firecracker Shrimp into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Drain.
The original Firecracker Shrimp Recipe (Steamy Kitchen)
My Mother’s Famous Chinese Egg Rolls Recipe (Steamy Kitchen)
Thai Lettuce Cups (Steamy Kitchen)
Chicken Wonton (Rasa Malaysia)
Sweet Thai Chicken Wings (Taste and Tell)