Basic and easy recipe for tasty shrimp tempura.
This post contains affiliate links. Read the disclosure policy.
About Shrimp Tempura
I’ve mentioned before that I’m slightly obsessed with mastering shrimp recipes, thought I haven’t been able to branch out as much as I’d like. I have to supplement each shrimp recipe with a night or two (or three) of steak or chicken in order to stay in the boyfriend’s good graces. Compromise is healthy in a relationship.
However, there is one shrimp recipe that I could probably get away with making more often: Shrimp Tempura. We’ve tried it at multiple different restaurants, but no one has ever done it better than Sushi Eye, our usual hangout when we want good food, good service, and happy hour sake bombers. So when I first started to research shrimp tempura, I was ready to blog though a multitude of different recipes. Because logically, if we’ve had it so many different ways at so many different places, there must be many different ways to make it, right?
As it turns out, no. Almost all the recipes for tempura batter call for all-purpose flour, water, an egg. That’s it. The real secret seems to be in the ratio and the temperature.
Once I realized this, I decided I’d start out with the most basic (and thorough) recipe I could find, located here. I definitely liked how it turned out, but the real question I had to ask myself was whether it as good as Sushi Eye’s shrimp tempura. I don’t think it’s quite there yet, but as time goes on and I make shrimp tempura again I’m going to adjust the recipe until I find the sweet spot. Overall I think this is a great starter recipe and still captures the flavor of what shrimp tempura should be.
Like my super classy “flour” label? Sorry, the new containers came before I had found the labels I wanted for them.
- 1 lb shrimp large or jumbo
- 1/4 cup corn sharch
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 200 ml water
- 1 egg
- 1 qt vegetable oil
- 1 splash soy sauce
Tools You’ll Need
- 2 large mixing bowls
- Measuring for cups and milliliters
- Stirring utensils
- Deep fryer or large, deep set skillet
- Candy thermometer or other means to measure the temperature of the oil (up to 350 degrees)
- Paper towels
If you’d like the standard look for shrimp tempura (straight bodies instead of the usual shrimp curl), begin by shelling the shrimp but still leave the tail & last section of shell intact.
Make 3-4 cuts along the underside of the shrimp, but be careful not to cut all the way through. Bend the body of the shrimp back to help extend the cuts you’ve already made.
To test how you’ve cut the shrimp, you should be able to lay them flat on their bellies without the shrimp curving or rolling over.
If the shrimp have an odor, roll them in a few tablespoons of cornstarch, then rinse them with cold water. Drain and place in a bowl. If you’d like, add a few splashes of soy sauce and toss the shrimp around.
Fill the deep fryer or skillet with vegetable oil and heat to about 350 degrees. If you’re having trouble telling when the temperature is right, you can also stick a wooden chopstick in the oil. If it boils around the wood, the oil is ready.
While the oil heats up, prepare the batter. Add the large egg to the 200 ml of water. The egg and water combined should equal 1 cup. Whisk them together.
Add the flour to a large mixing bowl. Pour the egg water into the flour, then slowly mix together until the flour is mostly saturated. Don’t worry about clumps in the batter – that’s totally okay.
Dust the shrimp in cornstarch, then dip them in the batter, covering the exposed fleshy part of the shrimp.
Drop them in the heated oil, trying not to crowd them together. I was able to fit about 3 shrimp in my deep fryer at a time.
Let the shrimp sizzle until the batter is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Place the shrimp on a paper towel to cool and soak off excess oil. Serve them immediately.
And that’s it – you’re done!
Did you try this recipe? Do you have a suggestion or correction? Leave a comment & tell me about it!
- Remove shells except for tail and last section of shell. Make 3-4 small cuts along the underside of the shrimp, being careful not to cut all the way through. Bend the shrimp back to extend cuts if needed. Shrimp should be able to lay flat on its belly without rolling over.
- Toss shrimp in about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, then rinse with cold water. Place in a bowl and splash with soy sauce.
- Add vegetable oil to deep fryer or skillet. Heat to 350 F.
- While oil is heating, add the large egg to 200 ml of water. Egg and water together should equal about 1 cup. Whisk them together.
- Add the flour to a large mixing bowl.
- Pour the egg water in with the flower, stirring until flour is mostly saturated. Clumps in the batter are okay.
- Dust shrimp with remaining cornstarch and dip in batter, generously coating the body of the shrimp.
- Drop shrimp in the heated oil. Avoid crowding shrimp.
- Cook shrimp until batter is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
- Place shrimp on a paper towel to cool and drain excess oil. Serve immediately.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I'm not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.