Firecracker Shrimp Lettuce Cups

These Firecracker Shrimp Lettuce Cups have crispy pan-fried shrimp coated in a sweet, spicy and sassy firecracker sauce stuffed in lettuce cups with fluffy coconut rice. A fabulously light dinner with dynamite flavor.

The hardest part is deciding whether you can wait a moment while you assemble the lettuce cups, or if you just want to eat the shrimp straight out of the pan. There is absolutely no judgement regarding your decision… I simply wanted to warn you.

Overhead shot of Firecracker Shrimp Lettuce Cups

How to make firecracker shrimp

Ingredients

For the coconut rice:

  • Canned coconut milk. I highly suggest the full fat canned coconut milk (such as Thai Kitchen brand). Don’t use the coconut milk you find in the plant-based milk alternative section, as it’s watered down and not a good subtitute for canned coconut milk.
  • Jasmine rice. You can use any rice, but Jasmine works best here. You can use white or brown Jasmine rice, but brown will take much longer to cook than white (but also offers much more nutrition than white!).

For the firecracker sauce:

  • Buffalo sauce. Like Frank’s Red Hot!
  • Brown sugar. You can use dark or light – I prefer dark.
  • Apple cider vinegar. This is something I keep in the pantry at all times, and so should you!
  • Honey. I love the sweet combo of brown sugar and honey in this firecracker sauce.
  • Onion and garlic powder. Get that classic rich onion and garlic flavor without having to chop!
  • Cornstarch. To thicken the sauce.

For the shrimp:

  • Shrimp. Get large or jumbo shrimp that is raw, deveined and peeled.
  • Cornstarch. In this application, the cornstarch is to coat the shrimp so it can get crispy on the outside when sauteed.
  • Oil. I like to use avocado, but canola would work, too.

For the lettuce cups:

  • Bibb or Boston lettuce. These little heads of lettuce make for the best little cups to stuff full of firecracker shrimp. If you can’t find them, you can try romaine or iceberg – just tear the leaves into smaller lettuce cups.
  • Green onions. As a delicious, fresh garnish.
  • Lime. Squeeze a bit on each cup for something extra.

Equipment

  • A cutting board and chef’s knife to chop.
  • Dry and wet measuring cups and spoons.
  • A saucepan and wooden spoon to make the rice.
  • A medium glass bowl and whisk to make the sauce.
  • A plate and paper towel to try off the shrimp.
  • A Ziploc bag to shake the shrimp and cornstarch together.
  • A large skillet and tongs to cook the shrimp.
  • Plates and spoons for assembling and serving the cups.
Firecracker sauce in a measuring cup

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. To make the coconut rice: Add the water and coconut milk to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the rice and salt, stir and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and place a lid on the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 20-25 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is al dente. Set aside to slightly cool.
  2. To make the firecracker sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients until combined. Set aside.
  3. To coat the shrimp: Pat the shrimp dry with paper towel. Place the cornstarch in a large Ziploc bag. Sprinkle half of the salt and black pepper on the shrimp, then add the remaining salt and black pepper to the Ziploc bag; shake to combine. Add the shrimp to the bag, zip to close, then shake until well-coated.
  4. To cook the shrimp: Heat oil to medium heat in a large skillet. Use tongs to add the cornstarch-coated shrimp to the pan. Cook 1-2 minutes per side or until lightly browned and crispy. Add the firecracker sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer until thickened, about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to coat the shrimp.
  5. To assemble the lettuce cups: Scoop 1-2 tablespoons of coconut rice into each lettuce cup. Top with 3-4 shrimp and a bit of sauce and sprinkle with a few sliced green onions. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Substitutions and Alternatives

  • To make gluten free: This recipe is naturally gluten free, just be sure any packaged or prepared products you purchase (such as hot sauce) are certified gluten free.
  • To make dairy free: This recipe is naturally dairy free!
  • To make vegetarian/vegan: Try this recipe with tofu instead of shrimp.
Overhead shot of Firecracker Shrimp Lettuce Cups

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Firecracker Shrimp Lettuce Cups

Firecracker Shrimp Lettuce Cups

Crispy shrimp coated in a sassy firecracker sauce stuffed in lettuce cups with coconut rice and topped with green onion and lime.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 15-20 mins
  • Cook Time: 15-20 mins
  • Total Time: 30-40 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove-Top
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

Coconut Rice:

  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup Jasmine rice
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt

 Firecracker Sauce:

  • ⅓ cup buffalo sauce
  • 5 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch

 Shrimp:

  • 1-pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 ½ tablespoons oil

 Lettuce Cups:

  • 2 heads Bibb or Boston lettuce, leaves separated
  • 2 medium green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium lime, cut into wedges

Instructions

  1. To make the coconut rice: Add the water and coconut milk to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the rice and salt, stir and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and place a lid on the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 20-25 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is al dente. Set aside to slightly cool.
  2. To make the firecracker sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients until combined. Set aside.
  3. To make the shrimp: Pat the shrimp dry with paper towel. Place the cornstarch in a large Ziploc bag. Sprinkle half of the salt and black pepper on the shrimp, then add the remaining salt and black pepper to the Ziploc bag; shake to combine. Add the shrimp to the bag, zip to close, then shake until well-coated. Heat oil to medium heat in a large skillet. Use tongs to add the cornstarch-coated shrimp to the pan. Cook 1-2 minutes per side or until lightly browned and crispy. Add the firecracker sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer until thickened, about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to coat the shrimp.
  4. To assemble the lettuce cups: Scoop 1-2 tablespoons of coconut rice into each lettuce cup. Top with 3-4 shrimp and a bit of sauce and sprinkle with a few sliced green onions. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Notes

Storage Tip: If there is leftover rice, refrigerate it in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 318
  • Sugar: 23g
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 41g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 21g
  • Cholesterol: 143mg

Keywords: healthy, easy, sauce, marinated shrimp, easy, weeknight ideas

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