Tempura is one of the best known Japanese dishes. But for most of us, it’s a restaurant dish, not a homemade treat. You might be surprised to learn how easy it is to make shrimp tempura or ebi tempura at home.
Making authentic Japanese food at home
The thought of making Japanese recipes can be intimidating. Japanese cuisine is known for a careful use of ingredients, crisp knife cuts and time-honored traditions. But shrimp tempura, also known as ebi ten, is a sophisticated but simple dish.
This authentic Japanese recipe comes from Nakano, a highly regarded maker of Japanese knives. It is from the company’s new cookbook, aptly entitled Japanese Cookbook.
What is tempura?
According to Nakano, the cooking technique employed to make tempura is known as hanaage, which translates to blooming flower. When tempura is fried in hot oil, the batter blooms like a flower.
Foods used for tempura are coated in a special batter to produce this chemical reaction. Tempura cooking produces morsels that are crispy without being greasy, as it is with this crispy shrimp tempura recipe.
Although today tempura is one of the most popular Japanese cooking techniques, tempura recipes didn’t originate with the Japanese. The tempura frying technique was developed by the Portuguese and only adopted as an integral part of Japanese cookery in the 18th century.
How to make tempura batter
The key to good tempura is the tempura batter recipe. To ensure a crunchy tempura, follow the instructions exactly as written to create this light, flour and egg yolk batter. (That’s right, a good tempura batter recipe doesn’t involve breadcrumbs.)
You must keep the batter cold at all times but the most important step is to incorporate the flour slowly but do not over mix. You want a batter that is light and airy without excessive lumps. (It will be a little bit lumpy once all the flour is incorporated.) Once the batter is mixed, it should be used right away.
You can use this batter recipe and technique for tempura prawns as well. Just remember not to crowd the pan when using these larger crustaceans.
Ultimately, if you follow these simple instructions to the letter, you’ll have a plate of flakey, airy shrimp, sure to impress and delight whoever is lucky enough to share your table.
It's easy to make light, crispy shrimp tempura at home with this easy, Japanese recipe.
- For the Tempura:
- 4 to 5 Tiger Prawns with tail
- 1 Egg yolk large
- 1 cup All-purpose flour
- ½ cup Cold water
- 1 tbsp. Japanese mayonnaise
- Canola oil as needed
- For the sauce:
- ¾ cup Dashi stock
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 3 tbsp. Soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. Mirin
- 2- inch Daikon radish grated
For getting straight fried shrimp tempura rather than curved ones, make slits on the underside of the shrimp’s half-way through. Flip and make tiny cuts on the front belly also. Pat it dry with paper-towels. Keep aside.
Start by placing all the ingredients needed to make the sauce in a medium-sized saucepan.
Heat it over medium heat and bring the sauce to a boil.
Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer.
Continue simmering until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Off the heat and set it aside to cool.
Now, heat oil in a wok over medium heat and allow it to heat. Tip: Make sure to maintain the same temperature and heat at all times.
In the meantime, sift the flour. Mix the cold water and egg in a medium-sized bowl until whisked well. Remove the foam that appears at the top.
Next, gradually stir in the flour to the egg mixture. Do not over mix and keep the batter cold at all times. It is ok to have few lumps since over mixing can cause problems. Furthermore, make the batter just before frying as the cold batter allows it to have the light texture when fried.
Sprinkle potato starch over the shrimp.
Now, dip the shrimp in the batter until coated well and shake off the excess.
Finally, place them in the frying pan and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes or until they are golden brown. Tip: Make sure to not over-crowd while frying as it can make it soggy.
Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate and remove the excess oil.
Serve it hot with the dipping sauce.
If you prefer, you can even add 2 to 3 ice cubes to the batter to keep it cold.
Toppings: Top it with togarashi or seven chili spice for added heat.
Serve with: You can serve it with a dipping sauce called Tentsuyu or with matcha and yuzu salt.
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