Shrimp Tempura

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!

Shrimp Tempura
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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
Kosher salt

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

14 Responses

  1. I don’t know much about sushi myself, but this looks delicious!! Beautiful picture.

  2. I’m not a sushi fan, but I LOVE some tempura! I’ve had some success making it at home, but I’m always up for trying a new recipe.

  3. Though I’m vegetarian, I’m known to occasionally eat prawns, especially if I’m eating asian cooking, and these look very nice, i agree also, the photo is lovely.

  4. Oh wow! Tempura shrimp is so so SO good, these look amazing!! I love Cooks Illustrated and America’s test kitchen, everything they publish is so good 🙂 This page is getting bookmarked. I plan on making these soon, thank you for posting it!

  5. Annie, i must know, where do you go for sushi? I live in Avon, right by Clarian West, and have had a hard time getting my hands on good sushi since i moved here almost two years ago. Please let me know, my tummy will thank you 🙂

    • Sarah,
      We must live pretty close by, I’m in Avon as well. Our favorite place on the west side is Tegry Bistro in Brownsburg. I loooove that restaurant, they have great sushi and other food as well. I also love Kona Grill in Clay Terrace but don’t often make the trip up there.

  6. this looks delicious!

    Congrats on being one of the top 50 mom food bloggers.

  7. oh, last time I have eaten this in Portugal three years ago and I still remember how delicioust it was

  8. You are a genius! i just discovered your blog and i think it’s fantastic! everything looks delicious and I’m so excited to try all the different recipes you posted! 🙂

  9. Oh, what a fantastic idea to use vodka. I LOVE your tempura. Usually it’s so gloppy and thick, but yours is just perfect. 🙂

  10. I read this before work this morning and couldn’t get it out of my head all day so I stopped for seltzer water & shrimp and making this tonight! I won’t tell my husband that I’ll be using a cup of his good vodka. 🙂

  11. Found your blog through Bobbi + Mike. These recipes look great — might have to try them out!

  12. This sounds delicious. Cooks Illustrated never fails to produce a good recipe! I could imagine this in sushi. Shrimp tempura rolls are amazing!

  13. I love tempura!!! Love yours!

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