Crunchy Shrimp Roll (Firecracker Shrimp)
Firecracker shrimp is a fun, delicious and crunchy shrimp roll that’s commonly served as an appetizer or “small chops” as we Nigerians like to call it in our parties. They’re usually called firecrackers because of the satisfyingly crisp snap and crackle that comes out of biting into one.
When I was a kid, I remember my dad going to a fancy supermarket and buying a pack of frozen spring rolls, crunchy shrimp rolls (also known as firecracker shrimps), and samosas. He would bring them home and all we needed to do was fry them and serve them. In our minds, we all pretended it was special guest food, but in all honesty, we would fry them up every now and then when my parents were in the mood. My favorite of the lot was the crunchy shrimp roll, so I had to figure out how to make them myself. To the uninitiated, crunchy shrimp roll is a delicious combination of shrimp wrapped in a thin starch wrap (like a spring roll wrap) that’s commonly served as an appetizer or “small chops” as we Nigerians like to call it in our parties. They’re usually called firecracker shrimps because of the satisfyingly crisp snap and crackle that comes out of biting into one.
I recently had crunchy shrimp rolls in a restaurant, and it took me back to my childhood special that I had forgotten. Once I mentioned this memory to my husband, who happened to be dining with me, he challenged me to make them myself. I accepted the challenge, and on my first try, it was a success. Like with the samosas that I made previously, I used store bought spring roll wrappers for ease and convenience. One day I will perfect my spring roll wrapper recipe and share, but for now, I am satisfied with the store bought version since it is fairly inexpensive.
I served my crunchy shrimp rolls with a peanut dip made with a Nigerian style spicy peanut butter called ose-oji (recipe coming soon). You may also serve it with a sweet and spicy sauce of your choice.
- 2 lbs of large deveined tail on shrimp about 25 shrimp
- 15 sheets of thawed spring roll wraps
- 2 tbsp cornstarch plus 2 tbsp water
- 2 tsp onion salt or any all purpose seasoning of your choice
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Optional: 3 tbsp Nigerian spicy peanut butter plus 1 tsp honey
Season the shrimp with the onion salt or all purpose seasoning and black pepper and set aside for about 30 minutes to marinade.
After 30 minutes, prep the shrimp by simply scoring them lightly on two sides on the inner curve of the shrimp as seen above to straighten the shrimp and prevent them from curling up while cooking.
Cut the sheets of spring roll wraps to form triangles as shown above. While the spring roll wraps are not in use, be sure to cover them with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out.
To assemble the shrimp rolls, simply roll up the shrimp in the spring roll wraps following the steps above, and seal with corn starch.
Again, make sure the shrimp rolls are covered with with a damp cloth so they do not dry out once they have been prepped.
You may freeze the shrimp rolls on a single layer and store, or deep fry them right away.
Fry the shrimp rolls in a deep pan in oil (about 350 Fahrenheit) until golden brown. It should take about 10 minutes. If they are fried from frozen, fry them for about 15 minutes.
Drain the shrimp once they are golden brown and serve alone or with a dip. I used a Nigerian spicy peanut butter and honey dip.
I’d love to hear back from you on how your shrimp rolls turned out! Tell me if you changed anything up or even if it didn’t come out as expected. Also if you’re feeling extra adventurous, why not try out my Lamb Samosa recipes or some Nice Flaky Meat Pies to get a taste of some other small chops Nigerians love to consume?