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Appetizers, Fish and Shellfish, Quick and Easy

Firecracker shrimp

Firecracker shrimp
Los Angeles Times

Two hours before the Chinese New Year party they were hosting last year, Leeann and Katie Chin stopped at a red light on Laurel Canyon Boulevard and were reviewing the menu for the evening. To begin with, firecracker shrimp, chicken ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour | Makes 12 pieces

Dipping sauce

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce

Step 1Mix the mayonnaise and hot pepper sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.


  • 12 large shrimp, in the shell
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, divided
  • 4 spring roll wrappers
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 cups oil, for frying

Step 1Remove the shells from the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Make a deep cut lengthwise down the back of each shrimp; wash out the sand vein. Add the salt to a bowl of warm water and stir to dissolve. Place the shrimp in the water and swirl. Let the shrimp stand 5 minutes, then rinse in cold water, drain and pat dry on paper towels. Sprinkle the shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt.

Step 2Cut each spring roll wrapper into thirds, making 3 long narrow strips.

Step 3Peel the carrots and cut them into thin matchsticks 3 inches long. You'll need 24. Place the carrot strips in a small bowl, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt, and set aside.

Step 4Brush some egg on the top of each shrimp. Place 2 carrot strips in the slit of each shrimp. Brush a spring roll wrapper strip with egg, then set a shrimp 1 inch from the end. Roll the shrimp up tightly in the spring roll strip, with the egg holding it together. The tail of the shrimp should be protruding from one end and the carrots from the other--to resemble a firecracker. Continue the process until all the wrappers are rolled with the shrimp and carrots.

Step 5In a wok or deep frying pan, heat the oil to 325 to 350 degrees. Fry the shrimp rolls until golden brown, about 2 minutes, turning 2 to 3 times. Drain them on paper towels. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Note: This festive appetizer, which is great for a Chinese New Year or Fourth of July gathering, looks like a firecracker. In China, firecrackers light up the sky on New Year's Day. Prepare this recipe a day ahead and save the frying step till just after your guests arrive. Leeann likes the Vietnamese Sambal Oelek brand of hot pepper sauce, but any red paste hot sauce will work. Look for it in the Asian aisle of well-stocked supermarkets and at Asian markets.


Carrot Salad with lemon turmeric vinaigrette
Carrot Salad with lemon turmeric vinaigrette

Basic caramel sauce
Basic caramel sauce

Cranberry Jam
Cranberry Jam

Pork ribs (Dwaeji kalbi)
Pork ribs (Dwaeji kalbi)

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