Easy Japanese Recipes

How To Prepare Shrimp For Shrimp Tempura & Ebi Fry

How To Prepare Shrimp for Shrimp Tempura | Easy Japanes Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Do you like Shrimp Tempura and Ebi Fry and wonder why the shrimps are so straight?

Shrimp Tempura | JustOneCookbook.com

Shrimp Tempura

Ebi Fry (Fried Prawn) | JustOneCookbook.com

Ebi Fry

How do we make this signature shape?  It’s very easy to do!  I’ll show you how to do it in step by step tutorials here.

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How To Prepare Shrimp For Shrimp Tempura & Ebi Fry
Prep time
Total time
  • Prawns or large shrimp
  • 1 skewer/toothpick
  • a small bowl
  • Potato starch or corn starch
  • 1-2 Tbsp. sake
  1. Pull off the head if it is still attached. Pull off the outer shell. Keep the last segment of shell and the tail tip on.
    Prep Shrimp 1
  2. Devein the back of shrimp with a skewer. The vein runs right along the back. Insert the tip of skewer sideways about ½ inch down from the head of the shrimp and pull the skewer tip up towards you. This will lift up the vein and you can pull off the vein with the skewer or with your hand. If vein is broken, then insert again a bit lower towards the tail. If you can’t find the vein, then don’t worry about it.
    Prep Shrimp 2
  3. Make a couple of slits underside. Hold the shrimp with both hands and bend it backwards (belly-up) to make it straight. Straighten the shrimp as much as possible in order to get the desired shape.
    Prep Shrimp 3
  4. Cut the tip of the shrimp tail as you see below.
    Prep Shrimp 4
  5. Remove dirty water in the tail by holding the tip of the knife down on the tail and moving it from left to right (see #1) squeezing the water out from the cut tip. If you skip this process, water retained in the tail might create splatter in the oil. Then take off the shell from the middle tail. You just need to pull it out (see #2).
    Prep Shrimp 5
  6. Sprinkle some potato/corn starch and coat the shrimp. Potato/corn starch will absorb the smell and dirt from the shrimp. Rinse the shrimp under running water.
    Prep Shrimp 6
  7. Add 1-2 Tbsp. of sake and rub with hands. Discard the liquid after 10 minutes (no need to rinse).
    Prep Shrimp 7
  8. Now it's ready for Shrimp Tempura or Ebi Fry.
    Prep Shrimp 8
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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  • Bam's Kitchen December 11, 2012, 2:57 am

    I am going to follow your directions to the “T” next time to try to get my Ebi straight. I have tried other measure before and to no avail… Yours are beautifully straight.

    • Nami December 16, 2012, 1:49 am

      I’m glad this How To was helpful! Thank you Bam! :)

  • ursula December 15, 2012, 1:51 am

    Looks good!

    • Nami December 16, 2012, 1:50 am

      Thank you ursula! :)

  • Armie December 16, 2012, 2:04 am

    Wow! Such easy to follow this thank you. My daughter loves shrimp tempura because of the “crunchy-ness.” I am going to make this for her. Just hope it’ll come out all nicely straight. Thank you!!

    • Nami December 16, 2012, 2:10 am

      Hope your daughter enjoys it as much as my son does. :) When you are straightening, it looks like shrimp is going to tear or break… but don’t worry. You really need to “pull up” and push the shrimp with your thumbs to make it straight. If it’s still curls up, just repeat… Hope this helps!

  • Ngoc January 25, 2013, 5:56 am

    Love the way you show us in detail steps & pics. Thanks! :)

    • Nami January 25, 2013, 10:25 pm

      Hi Ngoc! Thank you so much! Happy to hear you think this is useful! :)

  • Toya January 28, 2013, 3:10 pm

    Due to a severe allergy to avacado I find myself skipping my beloved sushi, but I don’t have to. I can just make my own. This guide has been very informative and helpful I can’t wait to try it.

    • Nami January 29, 2013, 12:41 am

      Hi Toya! When I think of sushi, avocado is the least ingredient to think of, maybe because I usually eat “nigiri sushi” and not sushi rolls. :) I’m glad to hear this tutorial was helpful. Thank you so much for your kind feedback!

  • Jo Panumpang March 15, 2013, 4:34 am

    Hi I love to try this, is their an alternative for sake?

    • Nami March 15, 2013, 8:19 pm

      Hi Jo! If you are trying to avoid alcohol, then I can’t think of any alternative. But if you just don’t have sake, then use dry white wine. That’ll help. Basically you want to get rid of fishy smell and flavor by soaking them in alcohol. Hope this helps!

      • Vienne April 6, 2015, 1:32 am

        i think u can try using tamarind juice or lime juice to rid off the fishy smell..

        • Nami April 6, 2015, 5:13 pm

          Thank you for the info, Vienne! :)

  • milkteaxx September 18, 2013, 8:48 pm

    thanks for such practical tips!

  • luz divina February 1, 2014, 9:57 pm

    I really understand the steps..and I guess my students will also understand too…

    • Nami February 1, 2014, 11:16 pm

      Thank you Luz! :)

  • Gee Willikers May 4, 2014, 4:23 am

    Thank you for the advice about the tail water and splatter

    • Nami May 5, 2014, 11:34 pm

      You’re welcome, Gee! Glad the tip was helpful! :)

  • Sankalita Roy August 18, 2014, 7:12 am

    Thanks for such beautiful description, I am thinking of making tempura for my mother on her birthday, but in our country sake is not available, can you suggest any alternative? :-/

    • Nami August 19, 2014, 12:16 am

      Hi Sankalita! Thanks for your email. I responded to your email in detail, so please check your inbox for my answers.

      For other readers, sake is used to get rid of fishy/seafood smell. Whatever your method used in your cuisine works as well. In Japan we use sake to remove gamey smell from meat and fishy smell from seafood. :)

  • Rev. C.H. Cooper August 19, 2014, 8:30 am

    No Room For Improvement! ” Thank you! “

    • Nami August 19, 2014, 10:26 am

      Thank you Rev. C.H. Cooper! :)

  • Shaznay Lovi September 11, 2014, 4:07 am

    your tips help me cook the best tasting shrimp everrrrr….thanks

    • Nami September 11, 2014, 11:28 am

      Thank you so much for your kind feedback Shaznay! I just saw your instagram link – looks yummy! :D

  • JoAnne Hayashida November 28, 2014, 10:13 am

    Why is the last section of shell on the prawns left on?

    • Nami November 28, 2014, 6:23 pm

      Hi JoAnne! You can remove it but tail may detached easily while trying to remove or while cooking etc. :)

  • anya February 12, 2015, 7:19 pm

    Hi Nami i just wondering how long can i keep it in the freezer?

    • Nami February 17, 2015, 4:53 pm

      Hi Anya! Do you mean after you are done with step 8? I usually keep it in freezer until I’m ready to prepare… If the shrimp was previously frozen, I don’t recommend to defrost and then back to freeze. It will lose the quality of shrimp by freeze-defrost-freezing. Hope this helps! :)

  • susan February 25, 2015, 7:09 pm

    I did this, my shrimp were straight. Fried them they curled. Do you know why?

    • Nami February 26, 2015, 4:07 pm

      Hi Susan! The most important part is at step 3 (4th picture). You really need to straighten the shrimp and stretch the back of shrimp as much as possible with force. Hope that helps!

  • Stephanie March 2, 2015, 6:50 pm

    I am 2,500 miles from my favorite Chinese (Utah Noodle) they pound the shrimp flat before battering them and cooking them in cast iron frying pans. I begged the owners for the recipe when I came to the east coast. They have been in business for decades and said when they tried it at home, they could not duplicate the flavor. I found a reasonable substitute at Sam’s Club and they discontinued the product!!! Your recipe is a life saver. Thanks for the step by step and all the photos. I never would have attempted it without you! HUGS

    • Nami March 3, 2015, 9:31 am

      Thank you Stephanie! I hope you enjoy this recipe! :)

  • rania April 15, 2015, 4:05 pm

    Very easy recipe