In the last year or so I have really taken a liking to sushi. I hadn’t tried it much before that, but the more I try it, the more I like it, love it, can’t get enough of it. Each time I try different types of rolls, but the one I can’t live without is shrimp tempura roll. I am dying to try making it at home but first things first, I had to figure out how to make the shrimp tempura itself. This recipe is from an issue of Cook’s Illustrated from last summer and now I am totally regretting not trying it sooner.
We were both crazy in love with this dinner. The batter coating the shrimp is light, crisp and delicious. According to the people at Cook’s Illustrated, the vodka is critical to the texture of the coating so it should not be omitted or replaced with a substitute. On the whole this was actually a pretty quick dish to throw together and I would say the most time consuming part is waiting for the oil to come to temperature. I served this with slices of grilled pineapple and stir-fried bok choy. A ginger-soy dipping sauce recipe is included with the shrimp, but I must say that I personally wasn’t a big fan of it. It didn’t even taste bad per se, it was just really overpowering to the flavor of the shrimp. This was a fantastic meal all around, and one we will surely be enjoying again and again!
1½ qts. vegetable oil, for frying
1-1½ lbs. jumbo/colossal shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
1 large egg
1 cup vodka
1 cup seltzer water
For the dipping sauce (optional):
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tbsp. mirin
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 green onion, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 200˚ F. Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. This will be used to keep the first batches of shrimp warm while the remaining shrimp are being fried.
Fit a large Dutch oven with a clip-on thermometer and fill with the vegetable oil. Heat over high heat until the oil reaches 385˚ F.
While the oil is heating, whisk the flour and cornstarch together in a large bowl. In another bowl combine the egg, vodka and seltzer water; whisk to blend. Wait until the oil comes to temperature before proceeding.
Once the oil reaches 385˚ F, pour the egg-vodka mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture and whisk gently just until combined. Add half of the shrimp to the batter and submerge completely. Using tongs, remove shrimp from the batter one at a time, allowing excess batter to drip off. (The temperature of the oil should now be at 400˚ F. ) Carefully place the coated shrimp into the oil. Fry until the shrimp are light golden brown, 2-3 minutes, stirring to prevent the shrimp sticking together if necessary. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle lightly with salt. Once the excess oil has been absorbed by the towels, transfer to the wire rack and place in the oven to stay warm.
Return the oil to 400˚ F and then repeat the process with the remaining shrimp. Serve immediately.
(To make the dipping sauce, whisk together all ingredients in a bowl.)
Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, May/June 2009