As far as seafood goes, fresh shrimp is rarely the most affordable choice. That’s why most home cooks save their shrimp recipes for special occasions. And even when it’s time to bring out the premium stuff, who wants to blow their budget on a bag of shellfish? It’s a tough dilemma to have! Thankfully, numerous shrimp dishes don’t cost thousands of pesos to make.
The trick is to use complementary ingredients that take the pressure off this tiny crustacean – like in the easy shrimp recipes below. Yes, shrimp is the main event, but other components help add heft. Some use breading and sauces to stretch the protein. Others lean on veggies, grains, and carbs to make each dish more satisfying. Try these for your next potluck, big dinner party, or even simple meals with the family.
7 Budget-Friendly Shrimp Recipes for Potluck Season
1. Gambas al ajillo
Many Filipinos know this simply as “gambas.” It’s a classic Spanish appetizer featuring prawns or shrimp cooked in garlic, olive oil, and spices. Some recipes suggest adding fried breadcrumbs for crunch and calamansi juice for acidity. If you’re working with a small portion of shrimp, you can add button mushrooms to bulk up the dish. Serve it with lightly toasted bread to absorb the garlic-infused oil. Waste nothing!
2. Deep-fried popcorn shrimp
This fried shrimp delicacy rose to popularity in the ’70s after being introduced by an American restaurant chain. The idea is to make easy, bite-sized finger food akin to popcorn. To start, gather these ingredients: peeled tiny shrimp, seasoned flour, and beaten eggs for coating. This is the perfect opportunity to use frozen shrimp, which is more cost-efficient. They’re easier to store, coat, and deep-fry, too.
3. Korean-style shrimp toast (menbosha)
You may have spotted this trending dish on social media. The fried toast went viral thanks to Korean-Taiwanese celebrity chef Lee Yeon Bok and his Seoul-based restaurant. But no need to fly out – it’s effortless to make at home. And it’s a sure hit at cocktail events.
Start with slices of white bread, crusts removed. Cut them into small squares. Make the filling by combining finely chopped shrimp, starch, egg whites, seasonings, and butter into a paste. Spread mixture on one bread square, then top with another. Deep-fry in oil until the bread is crispy and the shrimp is a delicate pink color. Enjoy with a quick ketchup-mayo dip.
4. Mixed tempura
Shrimp tempura is a crowd favorite that kids and adults can’t resist. Unfortunately, an ebi-only platter will be super pricey, especially if you’re feeding many people. So, go for a variety of seafood, meat, and vegetables instead of sticking to just one type of tempura. Have shrimp in there but also include more abot-kaya picks, like cream dory and hearty local veggies. Kamote, talong, and kalabasa always work. Or you can also use hard-boiled eggs, mushrooms, and kani crabsticks.
5. Coconut shrimp curry
One easy way to make the most of your protein is to add it to a flavorful stew. For shrimp, try a coconut sauce with a generous portion of veggies, like savory ginataan. Classic recipes include kalabasa, sitaw, and okra sautéed in umami-packed bagoong. Use instant mixes, like Knorr Ginataang Gulay, to speed up the cooking process.
If you want to step it up for your party, turn this into a Thai-inspired, curry-based kaeng by adding other herbs and spices. Kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and chili peppers can lend that special touch.
6. Garlic butter shrimp pasta
This one’s also known to many as shrimp scampi, an Italian-American dish served with bread or noodles. It’s a simple, 30-minute meal using pantry staples. Since standard recipes are so bare, tweak them to your tastes. Add heavy cream and use a blend of cheeses for a luscious sauce. You can toss in spinach or broccoli to make it more substantial. You only need garlic, butter, a squeeze of citrus, and shrimp to make this pasta sing.
7. Thai pineapple fried rice
Want to make fried rice so good, your family will want to eat it on its own? You have to try this sweet-and-savory Thai favorite! It has a long list of mix-ins, but the real magic lies in the sauce. Like many Asian dishes, this wouldn’t be complete without a good balance of patis, soy sauce, and sugar. For even better results, cook your rice in a broth of Knorr Shrimp Cubes to load it with umami.
Besides shrimp, you can also mix in some chicken or firm tofu – a great trick if you’re on a budget. Add scrambled eggs and whatever veggies you have on hand. Zhush it up with bell peppers, cashews, and fresh pineapple chunks. Ta-da! Best fried rice ever.
These shrimp recipes prove that you can have terrific dishes without going over budget. Use these tips as an opportunity to reimagine your favorite ingredients and experiment with new flavors. Your creativity shines when you’re working with limited resources. See where it takes you in your cooking journey!