Shrimp Tempura 海老の天ぷら

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Shrimp Tempura | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Tempura is one of the most popular type of Japanese food that is widely enjoyed around the world. Among all kinds of tempura, shrimp tempura is probably most common one as you see on menus in Japanese restaurants.

Besides being a standalone dish, shrimp tempura is also served as part of donburi (Tempura Donburi) or soba/udon noodle soup (Tempura soba/udon).

Shrimp Tempura | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

More than a month ago, one of my favorite food bloggers, CG from Cooking Gallery, requested the shrimp tempura recipe.  If you haven’t visited her blog, you must check out her cutest bento (lunch box) collections.  CG’s bento is always superb and her creations always make me smile…  If you want to spice up your lunch box for your kids, her blog is definitely a great source for inspiration.

If you want your Shrimp Tempura to look like ones from restaurant (extra batter around shrimp), please see video below.

Did you see the person dip his hand in the oil???  Crazy, isn’t it?

If you are vegetarian, you might enjoy Vegetable Tempura.

Vegetable Tempura | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

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Shrimp Tempura
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 10 pieces
Ingredients
  • 10 large shrimps
  • Corn starch for dusting
  • Oil for deep frying (vegetable oil : sesame oil = 10 : 1)
Tempura Batter (egg + water : flour = 1 : 1)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) egg + water (1 cold large egg (40ml) + 200 ml ice water)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) all purpose flour
Tempura Sauce
  • ¾ cup (200 ml) dashi (or ¾ cup water + 1 tsp. Hondashi)
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. mirin
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2" (5 cm) daikon radish, grated and squeeze liquid out
Instructions
  1. To make tempura sauce, combine dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat and let it simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. To prepare shrimp, read step-by-step instructions with pictures on How To Prepare Shrimp for Shrimp Tempura to make shrimp straight.
  3. In a deep fryer, heat 1½" (3 cm) of the oil to 338-356F (170-180C). You can check the temperature with chopsticks or with a thermometer. When you see small bubbles around chopsticks, it’s pretty much ready for deep frying. If you want to read more about deep frying method, please read How To Deep Fry Food.
  4. To make tempura batter, sift the flour into a large bowl.
  5. Add the egg into very cold water.
  6. Whisk the egg mixture vigorously and discard the form on the surface.
  7. As you slowly pour the egg mixture into the flour, mix the batter but do not over mix. It's okay to leave some lumps in batter. Keep the batter cold all the time.
  8. Dust corn starch on top of shrimps.
  9. Coat the shrimp in batter.
  10. Deep fry until golden brown. Do not crowd the fryer with shrimps; leave at least half of oil surface empty. Transfer cooked shrimp tempura to a wired rack or a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil. Between batches, remove the crumbs which will burn and turn the oil darker if left in fryer.
  11. Grate the daikon and squeeze the liquid out. Serve shrimp tempura with warm tempura sauce and grated daikon.
Notes
Make batter right before deep frying to avoid activation of wheat gluten.

When you put too many shrimps, the oil temperature will drop quickly. Make sure to keep the right temperature for frying at all times.

For vegetarian tempura, you can use vegetables such as sweet potato, kabocha squash, lotus root, king oyster mushrooms, etc. Instead of regular dashi, vegetarians can use kombu dashi.

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.

Editor’s Note: Photos and recipe updated in November 2013.

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  1. Nami, we ordered Tempura whenever we take meal in Japanese restaurant, especially my daughter and I love it! Thank you so much of sharing this recipe and the good tips on how to get crispy Tempura, am going to try soon.

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  2. Nami, this is what I call the complete guide to shrimp tempura! I have never posted shrimp tempura although I make it sometimes: my shrimps were always extremely curled (instead of the belly cuts etc.) and only a week ago I realised I kept on using the wrong type of shrimp…. They were very thick but short. Now I know where to find the ones from your photos and hope I’ll manage to make them!
    Looking at your step by step photos I want to have tempura now! The video is fantastic! This person must do tempura very often… I find myself more and more resistant to heat every year. I think hands simply get used to this, but he is incredible!

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  3. Hi nami :)
    Ohh… U just a helper!!
    recent day I try to find any great tempura recipe at youtube, I already apply them but the result is not as great as show on the video :(
    I think when I find a bigger shrimp I will try ur recipe :)
    Tq!! 😉

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  4. I love tempura! Thank you for posting this! I don’t eat shrimp (I know, I am weird… hehehe), but I would LOVE to try this recipe with something else… maybe some vegetables? It looks so crispy and delicious!!! Ohhh I can see that guy from the video dipping his fingers in boiling oil… how does he do that?????? Scary!!! 😉

    6
    • I guess he’s been doing that every day and oil to him is just like water! You can substitute with veggies like eggplant, kabocha, shiitake mushrooms, sweet potatoes, green beans, asparagus, shiso leaves, etc. In Japanese restaurants in the US, you also see broccoli, zucchini, carrot etc although they are not very common ingredient for tempura in Japan.

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  5. Very interesting tip to include ice cubes in the batter. I’ve seen the batter being mixed over an ice bath but adding ice cubes is much easier. I like such tips. I actually thought of tempura when I got up this morning, its been a while since I had it!

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  6. Nami you’ve absolutely no clue how much I love shrimp tempuras. I am so craving one NOW! I indulge in these when we have the Dubai Shopping Festival…. that’s when they set up the Global Village. And i make it a point to go to the Japanese Pavillion just to eat prawn tempuras.

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  7. Hi Nami.
    Ooh shrimp tempura! Love them! There’s this restaurant that I go sometimes which serves them with different types of salt – green tea being one of them. Yum. Thanks for bringing great jap food into our homes. :)

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  8. I really want to try tempura! I have heard so much about it, seen so many tutorials on how to make the perfect ones that i can’t wait to actually try it!
    What vegetable do you think I can use to make tempura?

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    • Hi Chinmayie! You can substitute with veggies like eggplant, kabocha, shiitake mushrooms, sweet potatoes, green beans, asparagus, shiso leaves, etc. In Japanese restaurants in the US, you also see broccoli, zucchini, carrot etc although they are not very common ingredient for tempura in Japan.

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  9. I didn’t know that ice cubes have to be added to the batter. Looks dellshh!! I have always had shrimp tempura at Asian restaurants, but really never tried making those at home. Thanks for this unique recipe

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  10. Hi Mai! You can substitute with veggies like eggplant, kabocha, shiitake mushrooms, sweet potatoes, green beans, asparagus, shiso leaves, etc. In the Japanese restaurants in the US, you also see broccoli, zucchini, carrot etc…although they are not very common ingredient for tempura in Japan.

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  11. This is probably my most fav thing from Japanese cuisine..Love Love Love the way you explained the techinque behind it..I always wondered how it was so crisp..now I know..I can have a pound of those fried shrimps :)

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  12. Yum yum yum! Shrimp Tempura is one of Trinity’s favorite dishes! Everytime we go to our favorite Japanese restaurant, her usual is a plate of shrimp tempura and a side order of fried rice, they would be gone before my spicy tuna rolls even arrive! Thanks for sharing Nami!

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  13. Oh Nami, now it is I who wants to be your neighbour. I love tempura prawns especially in soba noodle soup. I don’t deep fry that much. I’m very accident prone. The guy in the video seems to be swirling the oil with his bare hands! Talk about asbestos fingers.

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  14. MMM!!! This one is another hit for me!! Most of my friends love sushi and we have this wonderful sushi restaurant here, I got a “crunchy” sort of roll, that had shrimp tempura in it. I ordered it for myself, thinking no one else would want it as it was tempura and ended up with only one piece as everyone else loved it too!
    Nicely done, Nami!!

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  15. I love tempura- I didnt know the trick of adding ice cubes to the batter! So smart Nami chan! :) I love enoki mushroom and eggplant tempura, oh and green beans too! My best friend likes this one place that does tempura natto. Your pics made me crave japanese- so that is where I am heading for lunch!

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  16. YAY…!!!! Finally the recipe is on :D)!! Thank you so much, Nami…:)! The tempura looks gorgeous and I am so going to make it…:)!! Pity that it’s so late already here, or I would have tried your tempura recipe :)! If I don’t arrive home too tired tomorrow, I’ll definitely give it a try and make myself happy (just like your husband and kids ;)!!). Btw, you’re right, that guy is crazy, dipping his hand in oil…! I guess he’s so used to making tempura, he doesn’t notice the heat anymore ;)!

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  17. What a beautiful job you did with these, Nami. And I can see why they never stuck around long enough for you to take pictures. I’d be all over those!
    PS – interesting you should think that the word “Nanaimo” sounded like Japanese..it’s the name of a city on Vancouver Island, but it is definitely a First Nations (Native American) word, so I imagine that the roots of the two languages are somewhat similar.

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  18. Another great recipe Nami. I love stopping by to get inspired. Your tempura looks perfect. I get such a kick out of the Cooking Gallery`s bento recipes. I wish I had known about them when my kids were young.

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  19. Delicious! I love tempura of all kinds but my daughter loves shrimp the best. I know about the ice-cold batter, which makes me feel nervous about trying it. I don’t like soggy or oily tempura; can’t bear it! Probably I should practice and become proficient :)

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  20. Nami, the shrimp tempura looks so good…almost makes me want to eat shrimp. I’m not a shrimp fan but I do make it for my family. I like you step-by-step and how-to tips. Do you use all purpose flour?, for some reason I thought rice flour. I don’t deep fry too often so this will help me want to do it right! I find it interesting that the veggies you said to use all have a pretty high water content. Does that help them turn out better when deep frying? I couldn’t watch the video, (I’m on a different computer) I’ll try later! Thanks CG, great suggestion!

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    • Hi Lyndsey! Yes, I use all-purpose flour. Hmm, I’m not sure the veggies will turn out better because of high water content, but it’s quite delicious when it’s coated with batter and deep fried. Thanks for your question and comment Lyndsey. :-)

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  21. I am crazy about tempura .. and I always thought that you need bread crumbs for that. I have to try this recipe. Looks so delicious. And that man is crazy to dip his hand in that hot oil. I have seen many chefs doing that .. i think they just get used to :)

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  22. You make everything looks so easy to make. Hubby and my mother in law loved shrimp tempura. Depending on how Tiffany feels I may make some these days.
    She got a virus and for the last couple of days she had fever, today we ended up at the ER :(

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  23. I could not keep watching the video any longer…watching this guy keep putting his fingers into the steaming hot oil, just gave me the “creeps”…no sensory feeling in his hands?
    Love your shrimp tempura, and the perfect recipe! I also love veggies dipped into the tempura batter, as well!
    Great recipe, and totally professional presentation along with the video, as well!

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  24. Nami – you just got me very excited and hungry at the same time. It’s almost midnight in Malaysia, but now I can only think of some crunchy delicious tempura. Yum…As always, your tutorial is excellent! I love your trick of getting that restaurant style skin.

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  25. Awesome recipe Nami! That is such a great tip about the temperature difference, I didn’t know that! Do you not use panko breadcrumbs for tempura? I’ve also heard that a little bit of sparkling water or seltzer in the batter helps keep it light and crisp, have you heard of this? I can’t wait to try!!

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    • Thank you Katherine! No, we don’t use Panko for tempura. When it is coated in Panko, we call it Ebi Fry (Fried Shrimp) in Japanese and it’s quite common menu at home and Japanese restaurants. I learned about the sparkling water technique from fish and chips batter. “Traditionally” tempura recipe doesn’t include sparkling water (plus it’s not widely known or “common” drink in Japan). I think I should give it a try with cold sparkling water instead of iced water next time to see the difference! Thanks Katherine!

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  26. I love the pictures! And I love tempuras, especially shrimp ones :) In home, my mom sometimes uses squids too. Thanks for the article on how to devein and prepare the shrimps, I always wondered how restaurants get their shrimps’ tails so nicely shaped.

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  27. Nami, sorry this is late. Super post, as ever – gosh, that video with the tempura-d fingers is something else! Love your shrimps all neatly laid out, awaiting the magic dip. It’s ages since I made tempura and you’ve inspired me to get back on it again. It always seems such a song and dance in the kitchen, but it’s SO worth it. Yours looks fantastic!

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  28. Nami, my other half is a chef in arestaurant and his best seller is tempura prawns! He hates them because everybody orders them!! I’m going to show him this recipe, I think he uses beer or fizzy water though. He wears gloves to dip them in the fryer not like that nutter in the video!!

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    • Hi Natalie! I’m so happy to hear his best seller is a Japanese dish! =) I see the beer/fizzy water technique in Western cooking (like fish and chips) but traditionally it’s not common method in Japan (plus sparkling water is not widely known or common drink in Japan). Oh it’s good that he protects his fingers…. I get some burnt marks on my hand from deep frying and it doesn’t look nice at all…

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  29. Nami, you are always my favorite cooking teacher! I have always wanted to make tempura but haven’t tried it yet. Fortunately deep-fried batters, doughnuts, etc. translate to gluten-free cooking easily. I never knew the proper name of the dipping sauce either (tentsuyu) so now I feel properly educated! Hope you are having a wonderful time with your mom!

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  30. I love shrimp tempura but have never known how to make it. I feel like I get an entire education in Japanese cuisine following your blog Nami. Thank you!

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  31. Wow! I am so impressed, but why I am not surprised that you would do such a beautiful job!! Your family is so blessed to have you!! Shrimp Tempura is one of my favorite dinners, and I think I might be able to pull this off! THANK YOU, THANK YOU NAMI!! Hugs :-)

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  32. Aw, the video above doesn’t show up for me – The whole “dipping the hand in oil” thing though – I assume that’s working on the same concept as the idea they tested on that TV show, Mythbusters, where you can actually plunge your hand into molten aluminium with no problems if you do it in a special way. I think I’ll leave that for the braver people though.

    When you say “add more batter with a spoon”… is it just a case of picking up the shrimp and dribbling some batter over it, or can I re-dip it in the batter or something?

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    • It shows on Firefox. I think some users told me Internet Explore 8 doesn’t render correctly. Haha that’s scary! I think they make tempura everyday that skins got tough and tip of their fingers don’t feel anything….

      “add more batter with a spoon” means to add more crispy skins around shrimp, you need to add extra batter. So you scoop some batter with a spoon and pour it over the shrimp that is deep frying in the oil. You do it in the beginning of deep frying. Hope it’s clear now… sometimes I can’t express well in English…

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      • Oh, I’m using Firefox, though I think maybe it’s a problem with accessing Youtube over my network here at work at the moment. If I visit Youtube it’s showing up all funky… just text – no pictures, everything in one big column instead of being arranged about the page. I’ll try again at home I think 😉

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  33. Recks

    Hi NAMI, i’ll try this one out. BTW your name means “delicious” in Visayan Language (secondary to the main dialect here in the Philippines). No wonder your recipes are great. God bless. :)

    76
    • Hi Recks! Sorry for my late response. Thanks for the message! Really? It’s great to know what my name means in other language! I’m glad my name means “delicious” rather than the opposite. 😉

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  34. Nami, I’m making tempura tonight, but using vegetables. So I searched all over for a good recipe and I trust yours. Will definitely try your batter, sounds terrific! Thanks for sharing. I know I’ve read this recipe before and now I can’t recall why I didn’t leave a comment. Thanks again :-)

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  35. Amy Chua

    I always like a cook that does not hide any information. You really share all you know.
    Your step by step photographs are one of the best I have seen. Your short chats are nice touch and informative. I will visit your site in future…bookmarked

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    • Hi Amy! Thank you so much for your kind comment. I’m happy to hear you like my recipes with step-by-step photos. Hope you continue enjoying reading my blog. Thanks for writing! :)

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  36. Pamela

    Hi nami,

    I just loved the tempura recipe which I am going to try today, thanks so much for sharing this recipe, every time go to a Japanese eatery I always have tempura.

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  37. Mary khoo

    Hi nami,

    I just tried this recipe yesterday. It was nice n crunchy right after frying but my only problem was the shrimp tends to get soggy after a while. Do you know what I am doing wrong?

    By the way, I tried your chawanmushi recipe. It’s excellent. Exactly like those in the restaurants. My 3 year old daughter is a picky eater but chawanmushi wins every time. She finishes it all!!

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    • Hi Mary! Tempura is meant to be eaten right after being deep fried (the best experience is to eat tempura at the bar in tempura specialized restaurant). It will never been crispy and crunchy like the moment you deep fried after a few minutes. It’s hard to tell what went wrong as I wasn’t in your kitchen, but you can try your best to remove excess oil when you pick up tempura from oil. Extra oil definitely makes it soggier. And if you have a wire rack, please use it instead of paper towel, so it helps moisture to escape from the bottom of tempura. Hope this helps!

      I’m so happy to hear that your daughter enjoyed my chawanmushi recipe! Thank you for letting me know! :)

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  38. neko

    Hi Nami! I just found your tempura recipe and I would like to give it a try. Would it be okay to use baking soda instead of baking powder? Or will it make a huge difference? Thanks and keep it up with this great blog!

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    • neko

      Btw, I also found another tempura recipe that uses a whole egg, not just the yolk. How does using or not using the egg whites affect the finished product? Thanks again!

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      • I used a whole egg for my Vegetable Tempura recipe. To me, the use of egg white doesn’t really make a huge difference as Tempura recipe requires so other important skills to make perfect tempura. Personally I won’t really see the difference, or it’s more like it’s hard to compare as each time I cannot make tempura the exact same way… Sorry I cannot help much. :(

        http://www.justonecookbook.com/recipes/vegetable-tempura/

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    • Hi Neko! Baking powder and baking soda are both leavening agents, and even though they are not the same chemical we can substitute one for another in recipes.

      I googled and found out that triple the amount of baking powder to equal the amount of baking soda. So, you just need 1/3 of baking soda. Hope this helps. :)

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  39. Keegan

    Hi there! You have a really wonderful site and I love the way you show how easy some of this stuff is (I really feel like I could make them haha). I just have a question about the garnish in this recipe. Now this may sound kinda dumb, but do you want to include the liquid from the daikon? Or is it like you squeeze it out from the grated pieces then put those into your sauce? Just a little confused sorry.

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    • Hi Keegan! Thank you for your kind words! I’m glad to hear step-by-step pictures are helpful. For grated daikon, I squeeze most of liquid, but I won’t squeeze really hard, just enough moist (but not dripping). Hope that helps! Thanks again!

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  40. Thank you so much for posting such detailed steps, Nami. It’s so nice to see the technique when it’s a method of cooking you are not familiar with! (I’ve done this for many of the recipes on my own blog, but rarely see it on other blogs.) Now I finally know the secret to those straight prawns :-)

    We’re in the process of completely renovating several rooms in our home, one of which is our kitchen, and I can’t wait till it’s done so that I can try your delightful Japanese recipes!

    All the best from Boucherville, Qc, Canada

    marie, the EpicureanPiranha

    PS. You have a lovely family!

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  41. ciara tsang

    hi im ciara tsang desu yurushiku onegaishimasu.i’ve beeb their in japan since 2004-2006 as a performing artist.One of mthe most of my favorites is your shrimp tempura,ramen,and tonkatsu.rice nori too. and i want to go back their to taste again your delicious and mouth watering foods…you can add me on my facebook accounnt just search ciallan.pre

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  42. Alana

    Nami – You should know that I found your website through a google search on shrimp tempura. I was amazed with your step by step picture instructions on preparing the shrimp tempura and subsequently got hooked with your other recipes. I did make shrimp tempura and it was a huge success with my guests. I also appreciate your explanation on why we have to follow certain steps. Helps me to remember what I should do or avoid. Thanks so much for your good work on your blog.

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    • Hi Alana! I’m so happy to hear my instruction was easy to follow – that’s one of my goals when I write my recipes. I’m glad shrimp tempura came out well. Thank you so much for your feedback!

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  43. Kathleen DiTommaso

    Whoa. That’s some tempura. I have a new found respect for restaurant tempura (done the way in the video). My chopsticks simply aren’t long enough as I hate hot oil on my skin…but I then again I love tempura so I persevere!
    Thanks yet again for an informative lesson!

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    • Thank you Kathleen! Tempura requires some skills in order to achieve that crispy texture, not soggy or oily butter. I’ve been practicing for many years but still I feel like I could improve. Practice makes perfect. :)

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  44. Nanette

    I made the shrimp tempura last night. I was wondering if the oil temperature was correct? Usually frying oil is 375. It seemed to take forever to get golden. Also my batter was too thick I think. Perhaps I was too cautious about over stirring it.?

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    • Hi Nanette! Oil temp should be 170-180C (338-356F) which is very standard for shrimp tempura in Japan. You want to make sure shrimp is thoroughly cooked, and when you fry at 375F (190C), the outer layer gets golden brown way too quickly before shrimp is cooked. So in order for shrimp to be cooked inside and outside is not dark burnt color, you need your oil to maintain between 170-180C. Hope this helps!

      It might take some practice to know the good consitency of the batter. If you see bits and pieces that are not mixed in, that’s okay. Add a bit of cold water if you feel batter is too thick. :)

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  45. Thanx so much for the wonderful AUTHENTIC recipe Namiko! Daikon is impossible to find here in Greece, what should we substitute with? Can we omit it? Sorry if this sounds stupid, we don’t have any experience with authentic Japanese cuisines.
    Panos and Mirella

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    • Hi Panos and Mirella! Don’t worry about grated daikon. It’s good to have, since it makes the tempura dipping sauce more refreshing, but you can totally eat tempura without it. :)

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