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 (海老の天ぷら) is probably most common one as you see on menus in Japanese restaurants.
What is Shrimp Tempura
In Japan we call Shrimp Tempura Ebiten (エビ天). Ebi means shrimp and ten comes from tempura. Seafood is often used as ingredients for tempura besides vegetables and among seafood, shrimp is definitely the most popular.
When you order shrimp tempura at Japanese restaurants, it’s usually coated with crispy tempura batter crumbs. The cooking method when tempura batter bloom like flower in hot oil is called Hanaage (花揚げ), hana means flower and age means deep frying.
Did you see the person dip his hand in the oil??? Crazy, isn’t it?
However, if you go to tempura restaurants in Japan (yes, there are tempura specialized chefs in Japan), they will not serve shrimp tempura with excess batter because they want you to enjoy the flavor that comes from the ingredient and not to be distracted by the crispy tempura skin.
You will see shrimp tempura with extra crispy batter on a noodle dishes or tempura donburi dishes.
Tips To Make Perfect Homemade Shrimp Tempura
At home, most people don’t make shrimp tempura with Hanaage technique as it’s more difficult. We simply coat the shrimp with batter and deep fry.
Here are some helpful tips on making tempura.
- Keep all the ingredients (flour, water, egg) cold.
- Never overmix the batter, and it’s okay if there are some flour lumps in the batter.
- Start deep frying as soon as you make the tempura batter.
- Keep the oil temperature steady at the same temperature.
- Just half of oil surface should be covered with ingredients.
I hope you enjoy making this Shrimp Tempura recipe! If you try it, don’t forget to share your picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #JustOneCookbook. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!
- 10 shrimps
- potato/corn starch (for dusting)
- neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc) (for deep frying) (vegetable oil : sesame oil = 10 : 1)
- 1 large egg (cold 1 large egg = 40 ml)
- 200 ml water (iced water)
- 1 cup all purpose flour (1 cup = 240 ml = 120 g)
- ¾ cup dashi (¾ cup = 200 ml) (or ¾ cup water + 1 tsp Hondashi)
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp mirin
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 inch daikon (2" = 5 cm) (grated and squeeze liquid out)
Gather Tempura sauce ingredients.
- 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.
- To prepare shrimp, read step-by-step instructions with pictures on How To Prepare Shrimp for Shrimp Tempura to make shrimp straight.
- In a deep fryer, heat 1 1/2" (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.
Gather Tempura batter ingredients.
- To make tempura batter, sift the flour into a large bowl.
- Add the egg into very cold water.
- Whisk the egg mixture vigorously and discard the form on the surface.
- 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.
- Dust corn starch on top of shrimps.
- Coat the shrimp in batter.
- Deep fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Do not crowd the fryer with shrimps; leave at least half of oil surface empty. Don't over cook the shrimp as they becomet tough texture. 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.
- Grate the daikon and squeeze the liquid out. Serve shrimp tempura with warm tempura sauce and grated daikon.
- 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.