Fried to light, crispy perfection, this shrimp tempura – complete with easy tempura sauce – is a quick and delicious option for an appetizer or main course. Ready to enjoy in roughly 30 minutes, this easy-to-follow recipe delivers restaurant-style tempura made right in your own kitchen.
🍤 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- In the mood for take-out, but trying to cook at home more often? You’re in luck! This recipe delivers light, crispy, restaurant-style shrimp tempura in roughly 30 minutes, without needing to leave the house. With this combo of ease & flavor, you’ll want to make this dish over and over again.
- We’ve even included a simple recipe for warm tempura sauce to really complete the meal. Of course, you’re welcome to replace it with a sweet and sour sauce, eel sauce, or any other sauce you like!
- Shrimp tempura is delicious all on its own, but it’s also great in a sushi roll, on top of miso or udon soup, or with a side of hibachi-style fried rice, lo mein, or stir-fry veggies.
👩🍳 Chef’s Tips
- The key to perfectly light and crispy fried tempura is to keep the batter cold. Chill the ingredients before getting started, and put the batter in the fridge whenever needed to keep it from warming up. You’ll also have to work quickly. The shrimp need to go in the fry oil as soon as they’ve been dipped in batter.
- The temperature of the fry oil is really, really important. I highly recommend using a candy thermometer or a deep-fry thermometer that clips to the side of the pot. That way you can monitor the temperature the whole time you’re cooking. Remember – adding the shrimp tempura to the oil will cool it off a bit. Make sure you let it come back up to 350°F before adding the next batch. If you don’t have a thermometer, you’ll need a wooden spoon instead. Dip the handle end of the spoon in the oil, and if you see bubbles rapidly form around the wood, your oil should be good to go.
- Ever seen shrimp tempura and wondered how they managed to get the shrimp so straight? It’s because of the slits cut into the belly of the shrimp! By cutting 4 or 5 shallow, horizontal slits in the shrimp, you make the shrimp flexible enough to bend backwards and straighten out. This way, you’ll get a nice, even coating that fries evenly, too.
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For the Tempura Sauce
- 1 teaspoon dashi powder
- ¾ cup water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin or rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
For the Shrimp
- 2 cups fry oil with high smoke point sesame oil, peanut oil, etc.
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled, deveined
For the Tempura Batter
- ¼ cup cornstarch chilled
- 1 cup all-purpose flour chilled
- 1 large cold egg
- 1 cup very cold water
- Small saucepan
- 2 whisks
- 2 Large plates
- Paper towels
- Wire cooling rack optional but encouraged
- Large pot or large wok
- deep fry thermometer
- paring knife
- Small mixing bowl
- Medium mixing bowl
- Slotted spoon
For the Tempura Sauce
- Heat small saucepan over medium heat. When saucepan is warm, add dashi powder and water. Whisk well until ingredients are fully combined, then bring mixture to simmer.1 teaspoon dashi powder, ¾ cup water
- When dashi mixture begins to simmer, add soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Whisk to incorporate ingredients, then continue simmering 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar has dissolved completely.2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons mirin, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- If serving tempura sauce shortly after making, turn heat under saucepan off and leave sauce on burner to keep warm. If serving tempura later, remove saucepan from heat and allow sauce to cool completely, then transfer to glass jar with lid (or similar airtight container) and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Warm sauce before serving.
To Prepare Shrimp
- Line large plate with paper towels. For crispier shrimp, place wire cooling rack over paper towels. Set aside.
- Heat large pot on stovetop over medium-high heat. When pot is warm, add 2 cups neutral oil. Continue heating pot until oil reaches 350° Fahrenheit.2 cups fry oil with high smoke point
- While oil comes to temperature, prepare shrimp by making 4 to 5 small, shallow, horizontal slices or slits on underside of shrimp. Do not cut through shrimp completely.1 pound large shrimp
- Gently bend shrimp backwards slightly to straighten, then set shrimp aside on second large plate. Repeat until all shrimp have been sliced and straightened as desired.
For the Tempura Batter
- Place chilled cornstarch in small mixing bowl. Set aside.¼ cup cornstarch
- Add chilled flour, cold egg, and cold water to medium mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients together until combined, being careful not to overmix. Some lumps remaining will be fine.1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 large cold egg, 1 cup very cold water
- Pat shrimp completely dry with paper towels.
- Working in small batches, dredge shrimp in cornstarch, coating well on all sides. Shake excess cornstarch back into bowl, then immediately transfer shrimp to wet batter. Dip shrimp in batter, coating shrimp completely. Hold shrimp above bowl and allow excess batter to drip off, then immediately place shrimp in 350°F oil.
- Repeat battering process, adding shrimp to fry oil until shrimp take up no more than half of fry oil surface. Do not overcrowd pot.
- Fry shrimp until golden brown, approximately 2 minutes. Once golden, remove shrimp from fry oil with slotted spoon and transfer to wire cooling rack over paper towels. Using slotted spoon, remove any fried batter or crumbs from fry oil and discard.
- Repeat process until all shrimp have been battered and fried. Allow shrimp to rest on wire cooling rack just long enough to drain excess fry oil.
- Serve fried shrimp immediately with warm tempura sauce.
- Wire Cooling Rack: Optional, but encouraged for crispier tempura. If you drain the excess oil by placing the shrimp directly on a paper-towel-lined plate, the shrimp will sit in the excess oil. A wire cooling rack elevates the shrimp above the excess oil, preventing soggy tempura.
- Tempura Batter: For a really light, crispy batter, it’s important that all the batter ingredients be cold. If needed, mix everything together and then place the batter in the refrigerator to keep it cold until you’re ready to batter the shrimp. The tempura needs to be fried immediately after coating the shrimp.
- Leftovers: Refrigerate extra tempura sauce in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.
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