Two quickies with shrimp: Easy chili shrimp; shrimp,onion and furikake fritters

One of the handiest freezer stock foods is frozen peeled shrimp. They aren’t as tasty as unpeeled, unfrozen shrimp, but they sure are handy to use. I almost always have a bag or two around.

Here are two recipes with a little kick to them that can be made in just a few minutes from frozen; both are perfect for bento.

Recipe: Easy chili shrimp (ebichiri)


This is a real cheater’s version of shrimp with chili sauce. It’s cooked in about 5-6 minutes.

For one bento:

  • 4-6 medium size peeled frozen shrimp
  • 1 Tbs. sake (why sake? read this)
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 2 Tbs. ketchup
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. hot chili paste: toubanjang (doubanjang) is best, but anything else would work too, like harissa or Hungarian chili paste. Make it as hot as you like!

Put the frozen shrimp in one layer in a small frying pan. Sprinkle with salt and sake. Heat up the pan with a lid on, and let steam-cook for about 2 minutes. Turn over and cook another minute or so until cooked through. Add ketchup and chili paste, and mix. Let cool before packing into bento box. Optionally sprinkle with a little chopped green onion.

Recipe: Shrimp and green onion fritters with paprika


Frozen shrimp are combined with wacked up green onion, and pan-fried or deep fried. Here I’ve pan-fried them. The furikake adds flavor and a nice crunch. To ensure the fritters don’t turn greasy when cooled, be sure to drain off the oil very well.

For one bento (make 3-4 little fritters):

  • 3-4 medium size peeled frozen shrimp
  • About 1/4 cup (a sprig or two) fat green onion, chopped up roughly
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • A pinch (about 1/8 tsp.) hot paprika (you can omit this if you prefer it not to be spicy)
  • 1 Tbs. furikake of your choice, preferably a kind with nori in it (like noritama, storebought or homemade)
  • 1 Tbs. flour
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch or potato starch
  • 1 Tbs. or so of water

Roughly chop up the frozen shrimp into small pieces (you could also use tiny frozen shrimp here). Combine with the green onion, salt, paprika and furikake. Add the flour and cornstarch and add just a little water so that everything is coated.

Heat up some oil in a frying pan. Drop the fritter mixture into the hot oil with a tablespoon. Shallow fry or deep fry the fritters until crispy on both sides. Drain very well. Cool before putting into your bento box.

Make-ahead note: You can make these fritters in advance and refrigerate (up to a day) or freeze (up to a couple of weeks) them. Heat and crisp them up in a toaster oven before putting into your bento.

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Hey, this recipe sounds

Hey, this recipe sounds pretty easy and tasty to boot! I love your blog, it has inspired me to start making bentos to work again. Thanks and don’t stop what you are doing.

These both look really good!

These both look really good! I shall have to try the fritters once I get some more shrimp. (I’m also kind of glad to know that I’m not the only one who keeps frozen shrimp for bento making. If I’m honest, I really don’t want to have to deal with peeling and deveining shrimp first thing in the morning.)

That was easy!

I was wondering what to do with my left over prawns today and had all the ingredients to hand, so I just gave the ebi chiri a go. This is definitely going to become a lunch staple, it has tons of flavour but doesn’t aromatise the whole house (a big bonus when your house is just one room).

Just a note for anyone in the UK interested in touban jang (it took me ages to figure this out for myself!) - it’s sold by Lee Kum Kee as Chili Bean Sauce, but I find this brand to be excessively salty. It’s also sold in small jars in Japanese stores (e.g. S&B), this is pricey but a little goes a long way. I’ve found the best option is through See Woo, a shop with branches in London’s China Town (Lisle Street), Greenwich and Glasgow (See Woo is where I get Nagaimo and Gobo). It costs about 2.20GBP, comes in 2 sealed pouches in a little wicker basket and is just divine! Only downside is that you may prefer to chop up the pieces of broad beans and pieces of chili into finer pieces, but it’s worth the extra work. At See Woo it is called TAI WONG FERMENTED BROAD BEAN PASTE - you can put this in the page ‘product search’. Direct link using the product code (054789):

Hope you don’t mind me posting this info, Maki, but your chili shrimp were SO good with this Pixian paste!

Thank you always for your

Thank you always for your very helpful comments Loretta! I’m sure it will be very useful, especially for UK readers!


I loved the chili shrimp recipe! It was so easy to make and tasted pretty good (even though i had no sake); it was perfect for my bento lunch at work today. I showed it off to everyone. XD

Question about Sake substitution?

Hi! I don’t have any Sake - it’s not something I drink, and I’ve never cooked with it. I try not to pick up things that I’ll only use for one recipe in a blue moon, so I was wondering if you know of (or can think of) any sake substitutions for a recipe like this one?

You can use sherry instead

You can use sherry instead of sake. If you don’t have that either, vodka would do too. Though if you plan to do any Japanese or most kinds of Chinese cooking involving meat or seafood, you may find that sake is used a lot, so it can be handy. You can find also something called cooking sake at Japanese grocery stores, which is cheaper than drinking quality.

One more question

When you mention “frozen peeled shrimp”, do you mean frozen raw peeled shrimp or frozen cooked peeled shrimp? I know this might seem like an elementary question, but I just wanted to make sure I understood. Thanks so much!

I always use frozen raw

I always use frozen raw shrimp (deveined and peeled, though when I have time I use the whole unshelled kind). It’s not an elementary question at all, since there is a big difference - cooked frozen shrimp by the time it’s defrosted has lost most of its flavor. Thanks for bringing it up!

yay fritters!

I made the shrimp fritters the other day for dinner and my boyfriend fell in love. He wants me to make them everynight! Thanks for a great recipe that’s easy and fast!

When you say ketchup, are we

When you say ketchup, are we talking Heinz here?

Yep, good old Heinz will do

Yep, good old Heinz will do fine.

Chili shrimp!

My mom made a similar shrimp dish when I was growing up, which I loved dearly. I really want to try your recipe soon!


Hi there!

I’ve been a fan of your blog for a while now, but this is the first time I’m actually posting a note.

Just wanted to let you know how HAPPY I was to see this Just Bento site! I had no idea it existed! Definitely motivates me to get back to bento-ing for lunch… my lock ‘n lock collection is starting to get a bit dusty ;).

Keep up the great work and swing by whenever you get a chance!

PS: Thanks for reminding me how much I love (and miss!) ebichiri, yum!


I wanted to be nice to myself since I start a new job tomorrow… so I made the fritters for tomorrow’s lunch. Of course, I had to sneak one and wow - they’re wonderful!

This is a great site. It’s made for many happy lunches for my daughter to take to school and now, I hope, many lunches for me to take to work!

Quick and tasty

I’m doing some recipe testing for when my wife and I start school again next week, and I tried out your recipe for chili shrimp. However, I substituted some hot chili oil in place of the chili paste, and it came out rather delicious. This will definitely be a recipe that will get some use in my house! Love the site, I’ve gotten tons of good ideas. Keep up the great work!

Re: Two quickies with shrimp: Easy chili shrimp; ...

Hello! May I know if the sake can be replaced by mirin instead? Thanks in advance :)

Re: Two quickies with shrimp: Easy chili shrimp; ...

It will taste a bit different but mirin can be used instead of sake. You could also use sherry.

Re: Two quickies with shrimp: Easy chili shrimp; ...

I just tried cooking this by lightly frying the in a shallow pan, but I had a lot of oil splattering everywhere and had to turn off the stove to prevent a fire. What did I do wrong?

Re: Two quickies with shrimp: Easy chili shrimp; ...

Your shrimp probably had a lot of moisture on them. Try drying them off on paper towels, and they shouldn't spatter much. If by chance you are using shrimps still with their shells on, they can even explode if you're not careful if they have moisture trapped under the shells.

Re: Two quickies with shrimp: Easy chili shrimp; ...

Thank you so much for your wonderful blog. My daughter loves the shrimp fritters. Well, my daughter loves almost everything we've tried so far... We're really new to bento and you've become my "go to" gal when I need inspiration! I don't think I would have had nearly as many successes without you.

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