At a recent dinner party I was challenged by friends to come up with a firecracker shrimp recipe, but with a Caribbean twist. Being that “challenge” is my second name.. I’m very competitive, a few days later I was in the kitchen loaded with ingredients to take that firecracker shrimp we enjoyed to a whole new level. They were good, but missing were a herbal note and true Caribbean sunshine (heat). Don’t call something ‘firecracker’ when there’s no actual heat but the sort of vinegar based hot sauce they market in North America. According to a pardna..”dem thing juss sour!.. no real heat”.
12 large shrimp (cleaned / deveined)
12 wonton wrappers (or 6 spring roll wrappers)
2 cups veg oil for frying
1 to 2 tablespoon pepper sauce (sriracha if that is your thing)
1 teaspoon Caribbean green seasoning
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1/4 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1/2 lime (juice and zest)
1 tablespoon white sugar
Tip: to straighten the shrimp (from natural curve) make 2 small cuts on the inside of the curve on the shrimp so they are easier to wrap and will not curl when you fry them.
After you’ve cleaned and de-veined the shrimp.. do leave on the tail ends for presentation and get ready to marinate. Add all the ingredients mentioned above except the veg oil and wrappers, mix well and marinate for 10 minutes.
It’s now time to wrap up these into succulent little packages in the wonton wrappers and fry them till golden brown. If you’re using spring roll wrappers, which are considerably bigger than wonton wrappers, cut them in half (in two triangles). To better understand the wrapping process it may be best if you watch the video below. Basically I dip my finger in the same marinade (you can use water) and run it along the edges of the wrapper so the moisture helps to seal it. Wrap each shrimp in the wrapper, with the tails exposed.
Heat the oil on a medium heat in a wide pan, then gently add about 4-6 to the now hot oil. Please don’t crowd the pan. Takes about 3-5 minutes to fully cook, but do remember to flip them so they brown on all sides. Simply remove out of the oil, place on paper towels to drain off the extra oil and continue frying the rest.
Try to serve warm to really get the rich flavors of the Caribbean bursting in your mouth as you tuck into them. I like serving it with a basic homemade peppers sauce!
If you make these in advance, you can reheat them when your guests arrive in your oven on a low heat (do NOT microwave). If that is the plan, I would recommend not cooking them fully when you originally fry them as you don’t want to shrimp to go like rubber on you.
Back to the dinner party and the challenge.. I’ve noticed that since I’ve been getting a lot of recognition for my escapades in the kitchen through all forms of media and with the recent success of my cookbook.. people are scared to host me now. They’re intimated to have me eat anything they have cooked.