One of our favorite restaurant treats is big tempura shrimp. Since we go to restaurants now less than we once did, I’ve learned to make it at home.
Ironically we have found that we can get bigger shrimp in Montana than we did in California. That is with the exception of the giant, succulent and delicious ones we got at The Sea Pal Cove in Fort Bragg, Ca. Since I’m now a long way from Fort Bragg, I’m on my own.
Imagine my surprise when I learned how simple it is to make the shrimp ?!
Clean as many shrimp as you want to prepare. Start with the absolute biggest shrimp you can find. They will shrink when you cook them.
Working from the back of the shrimp forward remove the shell entirely. Leave the tail on. Check for any accumulated sand along the back side of the shrimp and remove it. Along the back of the shrimp run a small sharp knife from the front of the shrimp to the tail. Cut deep but not all the way through.
Now, butterfly the shrimp and pat dry on both sides on a paper towel. Set aside while you mix the tempura batter.
The tempura batter is surprisingly simple.
Into a small mixing bowl sift 1 cup of flour. You should sift it twice to insure all lumps are gone. In another bowl gently whip one egg to barely incorporate the white and the yolk.
Measure 1 cup of water and add ice cubes. Once icy cold, pour 1 cup of water into the egg. Use a strainer to insure none of the ice gets into the egg. Stir the flour into the egg and water mixture. Gently mix. Now you’re ready to fry the shrimp.
When ready to fry, make sure that your frying oil is between 340 F and 360 F. Any higher and it will be too crispy. Any lower and the tempura will absorb too much oil and won’t get crispy enough. I use an electric deep fryer with a temperature control dial. I use vegetable oil.
While you are waiting for the oil to heat, keep the batter refrigerated. It needs to stay very cold.
When oil is ready to fry, carefully dip the shrimp into the batter and place 3 or 4 at a time into the fryer basket. Submerge into the hot oil. Shrimp should be golden brown but not over done. They usually float to the top when they’re ready.
Serve with drawn (melted) butter and lemon juice on the side.
- You can use fresh or frozen shrimp. Frozen shrimp will easily thaw when placed in water.
- The batter mix will go a long way. When dipping the shrimp in the batter hold it by the tail and let the excess batter drip off.