Tempura is one of the most popular types of Japanese food. It is enjoyed around the world. Shrimp Tempura, or Ebiten, is common to the menus of most Japanese restaurants. Ebi means shrimp and ten comes from tempura. When served, shrimp tempura is usually coated with crispy tempura batter crumbs. The cooking method which makes tempura batter bloom like a flower in hot oil is called Hanaage), hana means flower and age means deep frying.
Serve these crisp, fried shrimp with a hot mustard sauce or sweet & sour sauce. The tempura batter may be used for other recipes. Try it with vegetables, too. Tempura is traditionally served on a bowl of rice or with boiled soba noodles and shredded carrots or daikon radish.
The difference between good and bad tempura is the batter—the goal is a light, crisp coating that doesn't absorb oil when fried. There are several important steps for achieving this texture:
- Keep all the ingredients cold.
- Don't over-mix the batter. Use chopsticks or a spoon, never a whisk. When you stir in the water, mix very gently just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Don't attempt to work out the lumps, or the batter will become heavy.
- Be sure the water you mix in is very cold. This will make a cold batter that will remain light when fried.
- Mix the batter just before frying. Making it ahead will produce a heavy coating.
- Dry the shrimp and veggies well before dipping them in the batter. This will help the batter adhere.
- Be sure the oil is the proper temperature. If it's not hot enough, the batter will absorb oil before it cooks and the result will be greasy tempura. The temperature must remain constant throughout the cooking process.
- The dipping sauce of your choice can be made ahead of time.
- 12 shrimp (large)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup ice water
- 1 qt vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted (for dusting)
- Remove heads and shells from shrimp without removing tails. Devein the shrimps.
- Make two or three incisions on the stomach side of the shrimp to straighten them. Lightly press the back of shrimp to straighten.
- Remove the dirt from the tails of shrimp, using a knife.
- Dry shrimps on paper towels.
- Beat an egg in a bowl. Add ice water in the bowl.
- Add sifted flour in the bowl and mix lightly.
- Heat the oil to 340-350 F.
- Lightly flour shrimp.
- Pick the tail and dip shrimp in the tempura batter and coat the shrimp completely.
- Immediately deep-fry the shrimp until crisp.