Christoph's™ Shrimp Tempura
A Japanese Style Shrimp Appetizer
Servings: 3 to 4
Image may be subject to copyright. Original source unknown.
Shrimp Tempura ― an appetizer made in heaven! I was introduced to this delicatessen when working with Japanese customers. A favorite place of mine was called Sakura, in Arlington Heights, IL. We would go there on Friday nights, because the head chef and owner would personally shop for fresh seafood on Thursdays.
Instead of an appetizer, I ordered it as a meal ― 16 delicately prepared prawns. Oh, what a delight. Tempura and Chivas Regal. I gained a reputation of "The American who ate 50+ shrimp tempura." Of course, we all know how fireside stories are told and get exaggerated over time. But I did not mind and still devour a few to this day.
Ingredients ― Shrimp
- 12 Jumbo Shrimp
- 1 cup Rice Flour or Cake Flour
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 1 cup cold sparkling water
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1–1/2 pounds shelled and deveined medium shrimp
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Cornstarch, for dredging
Ingredients ― Dipping Sauce1
- 1/2 cup fish stock
- 6 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Mirin ― Japanese Sweet Rice Wine
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. Hoisin sauce
- 3/4 tsp. Wasabi mustard
1 For a more traditional sauce, see "Options."
Image may be subject to copyright. Credit: theSpruceEats
Prepare the Sauce
- Mix all sauce ingredients
Prepare the Shrimp
- Peel, devein, wash shrimp ― tails on;
- Cut shrimp at angles halfway through;
- Flatten shrimp and stretch to length;
- Thoroughly dry the shrimp on paper towels;
- Dredge the shrimp in cornstarch, shake off excess ― set aside;
Prepare to Fry
- In a medium, 3" deep saucepan, heat 1–1/2" of vegetable oil to 350°F ― 365°F;
- Place a wire rack unto a baking sheet and place it near the stove;
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and salt;
- In a bowl, mix sparkling water, ice water and slightly blended egg;
- Mix egg–water and flour. Stir with a fork just until blended. The batter can remain slightly lumpy;
- Pour some batter into the hot oil and spread throughout oil;
- Hold 2 shrimp by the tails in hand, swirl them quickly through the batter and drop them into the oil.
- Corral each shrimp and with a fork and spoon add floating batter to build up on the shrimp ― amount as desired;
- Continue to add batter to the oil and swirl batter;
- Repeat with the remaining dredged shrimp;
- Fry the shrimp until golden brown, about 1–1/2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to the rack to drain.
- Shrimp should be straight and not limp when finished.
Image subject to copyright. Credit Cuisine Paradise.
What is Mirin?
Mirin, also known as sweet Japanese rice wine, is a syrupy liquid that is used as a seasoning and glazing agent. It is a type of rice wine similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol and higher sugar content. The alcohol content usually ranges from 1% to around 14%. Therefore, it easily burns off during the cooking process.
Mirin has a sweet flavor, which makes it a nice contrast when used with saltier condiments, like soy sauce or miso.
Types of Mirin for Cooking
In general, there are 4 types of mirin: hon mirin (“real” mirin, 本みりん), mirin (みりん), mirin-like condiment (みりん風調味料), and mirin-type condiment (みりんタイプ調味料). Hon mirin is usually imported and can be expensive. Mirin-like or mirin-type condiments are cheap and widely available, but they do contain more sugar and some additives.
To learn more about the different types of mirin mentioned above, Click Here.
Benefits of Cooking with Mirin
- adds a mild sweetness to dishes
- helps tenderize meat
- helps to mask any dishes with strong fishy and gamey taste
- helps the flavors to better absorbed into the dish.
- adds luster and a nice glaze to dishes
What Can I Use to Substitute Mirin?
Although it won’t be exactly the same, you can substitute mirin with sake and sugar. The ratio of sake and sugar should be 3 to 1. For example, for 1 tbsp drinking sake, mix with 1 tsp of granulated sugar.
This content was extracted from the Just One Cookbook website. Nami is a Japanese home cook based in San Francisco. Please visit her website for a plethora of real Japanese cooking.
The difference between good and bad tempura is the batter — the goal is a light, crisp coating that doesn't absorb oil when fried. There are several important steps for achieving this texture:
- Dry the shrimp well before dipping them in the batter. This will help the batter adhere.
- Don't overmix or blend the batter. When you stir in water, mix gently just until the flour is moistened. Don't attempt to work out the lumps, or the batter will become heavy.
- The water should be very cold. This batter will remain light when fried.
- Mix the batter just before frying. Making it ahead will result in a heavy batter and coating.
- Be sure the oil is at the proper temperature. If not hot enough, the batter will absorb oil before it cooks, and the result will be greasy Tempura.
Image subject to copyright.
Oh, and don’t forget … Some Nihonshu 日本酒 or Chivas Regal … !
Copyright — All material, information and images are © 2022–2023 Christoph G. Olesch, unless otherwise noted, and may not be reproduced without permission. Certain content, material, information and images may be subject to copyrights by their respective authors and owners, as indicated, and may not be reproduced without written agreement by their authors. All rights reserved.