Succulent shrimp coated with Panko breadcrumbs and fried till golden brown, this Japanese fried shrimp called Ebi Fry (Ebi Furai) is a popular Yoshoku dish in Japan. Enjoy it with tartar sauce or tonkatsu sauce!
The children love shrimp, especially when it’s coated with crispy panko and deep-fried! Ebi Fry, or we call it Ebi Furai (エビフライ, 海老フライ), is a classic western style Japanese dish and a popular menu for Okosama Set (Children’s Meal) at family restaurants.
What is Ebi Fry?
Ebi Fry is one of the most popular Yoshoku dishes. Yōshoku refers to a Japanese-style western dish, which originated during the Meiji Restoration between 1868 and early 1900.
Besides Ebi Fry, popular yoshoku dishes include:
- Curry Rice (Karē Raisu カレーライス)
- Japanese Hamburger Steak (Hambāgu ハンバーグ)
- Spaghetti Meat Sauce (ミートソーススパゲッティー)
- Tonkatsu (Pork Cutlet トンカツ) or Chicken Katsu (Chicken Cutlet チキンカツ)
- Korokke (Croquette コロッケ)
- Omurice (Japanese Omelette Rice オムライス), and more!
As you can see from their names, these “new” Japanese western-style dishes are written in katakana.
How to Make Ebi Fry (Fried Shrimp)
This dish is very easy to make. The main ingredient is large prawns, breaded with flour, egg, and Panko breadcrumbs before being deep frying.
Panko (パン粉) is a Japanese-style breadcrumb traditionally used as a coating for deep-
Panko has become more popular as part of Western dishes and nowadays you can find it in the Asian food section of most grocery stores.
Homemade Tartar Sauce
Ebi Fry is usually served with tartar sauce or Tonkatsu sauce. I personally prefer Tonkatsu sauce, but today I also made homemade tartar sauce in case you prefer over Tonkatsu sauce.
Freeze Extra Ebi Fry for Another Day!
I usually make a lot of Ebi Fry at once and freeze them once they are deep-fried and let cool.
I love making Ebi Fry Sandwich with soft dinner rolls (We call them Butter Roll (バターロール) from a Japanese bakery. They are so delicious with fried shrimp!
It is also a very common menu item in bento (Japanese lunch box) and my son almost always selects an Ebi Fry Bento at bento stores when we travel in Japan. He doesn’t look what else is in the bento; he just wants that fried shrimp.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Ebi Fry (Japanese Fried Shrimp)
- 1 lb prawn (17 extra jumbo/colossal prawns such as black tiger; 4-5 shrimps weigh 3 oz)
- kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 3 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 4 cups neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.) (for deep frying)
- 2 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell)
- ¼ onion
- 1 pickle (or 7 cornichons/gherkins)
- kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt) (to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- ½ lemon
- 4 Tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
- parsley (optional)
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make Tartar Sauce
- Let’s make Tartar Sauce first. We start with boiling eggs. I learned this method at Home Economics in elementary school and still practice till now. Put water in a saucepan, and gently put eggs. Make sure the eggs are completely covered by water. Bring the water to boil on medium heat. Meanwhile you rotate the eggs with chopsticks or a spoon once in a while (this is a tip to make sure the egg yolk will be in center). Once the water boils, lower heat but keep the water boiling (but don’t let the eggs jumping around) for the next 12 minutes. Discard the water and run under cold water. When eggs are almost cool, they are ready to peel.
- Meanwhile you dice the onion finely and soak the onion in cold water for 10 minutes to get rid of bitter flavor.
- Finely chop the pickles.
- Drain the onion after 10 minutes. Put it the center of paper towel and squeeze the excess water out.
- In a bowl, break the eggs into small pieces with a fork.
- Add the pickles, the onion, salt and pepper and squeeze some lemon juice. Then add the mayonnaise (and parsley) and mix all together. Cover and keep it in the fridge until Ebi Fry is ready.
To Make Ebi Fry
- Ebi fry’s prawns are very straight. You can follow my directions to make straight shrimp.
- Season the prawn with salt and pepper.
- Dredge the prawns with flour, and then beaten egg (I do not dilute the egg mixture, but you can do so with 1 Tbsp of water or milk). Next you usually go to Panko, but for Ebi Fry, you double dredge with flour and egg. So after the egg, you go back to flour, then egg, and finally panko. Don’t forget to shake off the excess.
- Heat the oil to 350ºF (180ºC). If you're new to deep-frying, here's my tip on how to deep-fry.
- Gently put 2-3 prawns in oil and deep fry them for about 2 and a half minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer Ebi Fry onto a wire rack or paper towel-lined tray to remove excess oil.
- Between batches, make sure to scoop up the bread crumbs to keep the oil clean. These burnt crumbs make the oil dark.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days and in the freezer for a month.