Shrimp Tempura is my favorite type of tempura. Maybe even one of my Top-5 favorite foods of all time!
Today, I will share with you a Japanese chef’s technique for frying shrimp.
When I lived in Tokyo, I routinely visited this tempura shop in Ikebukuro after school. Their shrimp tempura batter was very light, crispy and flaky to the touch.
When you bit into it, you got that layered crunch!
It got me very curious on how they made the batter puff-out so much.
(Every time I tried to make tempura at home, the shrimp coating would turn out too thick and dominate the flavor)
One day, I strategically seated myself at the bar – where I could get a bird’s-eye view of the kitchen.
What I saw blew my mind.
Instead of the battering the shrimp first and then frying it, the chef poured the tempura batter straight into the fryer!
He would then immediately stir it around – at which point a cloud of steam and oil would rise up.
Then he would gently wrap the tempura pieces around the shrimp like a blanket.
This is how they created such a puffy and crispy layer around the shrimp!
I was amazed by this frying technique and kept staring at the chef, wide-eyed in admiration – maybe too long!
Key taste variable: Cold Batter!
Throw in a few ice cubes to keep the batter cold. A cold batter translates to a light texture when fried.
Do not over-mix or whisk the batter. Gently push the dry ingredients into the water until they become soaked. It will look lumpy – that is what we are looking for!
Oil temperature is also another key variable. Bring the oil up to a range between 340-360°F.
Note: You may find it tricky to get wrap the tempura puffs on your first few shrimp – don’t worry! Just eat em! We messed up on a few too heh…
Note: If the tempura flakes do not stick well to the shrimp, use a spoon to gently add some more tempura mix to the shrimp itself, as it fries. This will act like glue and help bind the two together.
Alright, I hope you guys have a blast making this recipe. Be safe when frying – any extra vigilant to prevent any water droplets from falling into the pot!
If you make it, send us a few pics on IG. We love to see picture of what you made!
Daniel out 🕺(Hungry De Niro Face…)
Shrimp Tempura - Japanese Chef Style
- Shrimp - 10-15
- All Purpose Flour - 1/2 cup
- Vegetable oil - 1.5 - 2 liters
- Water - 2 cups
- Ice cubes - Handful
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Eggs - 1
- Flour - 1 cup
- Peel and devein each shrimp. Keep the tail on.
- Cut the underside of the shrimp half-way through (at the joints) to straighten them.
- Flip-over to the top-side and score the shrimp half-way through (at the joints) at a slight angle.
- Use your fingers to squeeze the shrimp and stretch them out.
- Dry them on paper-towels. Finally, coat each shrimp with flour and pat-off any excess. Set aside until frying time.
- Pour cold water into a bowl. Place ice cubes in to keep it batter cold. Add the salt and egg. Mix everything together.
- Then add in the flour. But do not whisk it in! Instead, gently push in the flour until all of it becomes moistened. It's good to have lumps in the mixture. (Reference video for more details.)
- Put oil into pot or fryer. Turn on medium heat and bring up to 340~360F. Place a few drops of batter into oil to gauge the temperature (refer to long text above).
- When oil is ready, slowly pour a little bit of the batter into the oil. Stir-around with chopsticks (be careful of oil!). Let the flakes cook for 10-15 seconds.
- Use a strainer (or other utensil) to gather some flakes into a corner of the pot. Then pick-up a shrimp and dunk into the wet batter. Place the shrimp in the corner, on top of the flakes. Use chopsticks (or a fork) to cover the rest of the shrimp with flakes.
- Fry until light golden color (roughly 1-2 minutes). Repeat for each shrimp.
- Throw in a few ice cubes to keep the batter cold. A cold batter translates to a light texture when fried.
- Do not over-mix or whisk the batter. Gently push the dry ingredients into the water until they become soaked. It will look lumpy - that is what we are looking for!
- See video for more details