I love when food brings your inner child out with every bite. These popcorn shrimp reminds me of the days when I would come home from school and the only thing I could pull together was a hefty serving of frozen popcorn shrimp. I've put my spin on this fun, crowd-pleasing dish, introducing some of my favorite Asian flavors to it.
Popcorn shrimp wouldn't be exciting without a sauce, so I've created one that packs in complex flavors. The gochujang in the sauce adds an intensely sweet and spicy taste, and the shrimp is slightly spicy and tangy from the buttermilk-chili marinate. This recipe remains a staple whenever I'm entertaining.
- 1 cup Kewpie mayo
- 1/2 cup finely chopped dried seaweed
- 1/4 cup gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions
- 2 pounds small shrimp, deveined, shells and tails removed
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon chili oil
- 4 cups peanut oil
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean chili pepper)
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
For the dipping sauce:
Mix the mayo, seaweed, gochujang, sugar, vinegar and scallions in a medium mixing bowl. Once thoroughly mixed, set aside for serving.
For the popcorn shrimp:1.
In a large mixing bowl, combine shrimp, buttermilk and chili oil. Set aside and marinate for 10 to 30 minutes.2.
Heat peanut and sesame oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottom pan to 350 F to 375 F. Meanwhile, combine panko, flour, gochugaru, salt, sesame seeds and granulated garlic in a separate large mixing bowl.3.
Place a handful of the marinated shrimp into the panko mixture. Toss together the shrimp, being sure to coat each piece thoroughly. Shake each piece and transfer to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining marinated shrimp.4.
Slowly lower 10 to 14 pieces of shrimp into the oil, keeping a 1/4-inch in between each piece. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are golden-brown and crispy. Transfer the fried shrimp to a paper towel-lined plate or sheet pan. Continue to fry the remaining shrimp and be sure to continue monitoring the oil temperature in between each batch.
Once all the shrimp are cooked, keep them in a warm oven until ready to serve. Serve with the dipping sauce.