For a special treat, indulge yourself with this Jumbo Shrimp Tempura. This appetizer is paired with a light and fluffy fresh Sour Cream Sauce for a mouthwatering experience.
Learn the secret to make the perfect tempura batter, and the tips to make this your go to appetizer for your next gathering.
An Eastern crispy snack or starter! If you are a fan of Japanese cuisine, you may be familiar with some foods such as sushi and the like.
Another popular Japanese dish that you may want to try out is the Shrimp Tempura. The dish originated from Japan and it features shrimps deep-fried with tempura batter.
What is shrimp tempura
Many historians believe that this dish originated in Japan where it is referred to as Ebi no Tempura or Ebi Ten.
While this might be true, the concept of using tempura which forms the basis of this dish was introduced to Japan by Portuguese missionaries sent by the Catholic church to Japan.
These missionaries brought the western style of cooking which involves coating foods in flour and frying them accordingly.
It was also around this time that wine got introduced to Japan.
The first form of Japanese tempura was the Nagasaki tempura which comes from the Namban cuisine.
Namban was the Japanese name for the Asian colonies under the control of western powers in the 16th century.
This tempura emerged around the end of the 16th century, also known as the Azuchi-Momoyama period.
The tempura batter at this time featured sugar mixed in flour and covered by the thick batter that contained sake and then fried in lard. This batter is eaten as it is because it already contains seasoning.
This form of tempura was regarded as the origin of all tempura in Japan. By the 17th century, the culinary culture in Japan at the time started flowing from west to east and so did the popularity of the tempura batter too.
It soon got to a region known as Kamigata which includes Osaka and Kyoto.
Tempura had other names in this region. It was called tsukeage and it involves covering food in batter and frying them.
In Kyoto, vegetable oil and sesame seed oils were used to fry the batter. Also, because this region is close to the influence of Buddhism and the religion forbade eating meat, most people enjoyed their tempura with vegetables.
Now, Shojin is the term for vegetarianism in Buddhism and so tempura was also known as Shojin Tempura in this part of Japan.
Ingredients for making Shrimp Tempura
Shrimp: We highly recommend you use Jumbo or Colossal shrimp. Ensure that these shrimps deveined and peeled. Depending on your preference, you can choose to leave the tail of the shrimp on or off.
Tempura Mix: The tempura is the heart of this dish. The tempura batter is usually airy, and this is because of the baking powder (or baking soda or club soda) used in its preparation.
If you get it right, the tempura batter should not be soggy or greasy. It provides the coating around the shrimps and helps to enhance their flavors rather than concealing them.
Baking Powder and Cornstarch: To make the tempura batter, you need an all-purpose flour which serves as the base for the tempura, as well as cornstarch and baking powder that serve as a binder for the batter and adds to the crispness of the whole dish.
The baking powder is also used as a leavening agent as well as lightens up the texture of the batter.
Seasoning: Seasoning the dish is simple. Kosher salt and red pepper flakes (or Chinese red pepper flakes can be used) which acts as a seasoning.
Deep Frying or Air Frying: For best results we recommend that you deep fry the shrimp in canola oil, but you may also use vegetable oil, peanut oil, or preferred oil for deep frying.
If you are air frying, we recommend you use an oil spray of your choice to spray the basket and the shrimp. Be sure to spray the shrimp in between cooking for best results. Air fry for 8-10 minutes at 390 degrees F.
Preparing your batter
While the shrimp is not part of the batter, it is an important part of the dish. It is important to get it out of the way before proceeding with other parts of the process.
We recommend that you thaw out the shrimp (if they were frozen), peel and also devein them. Rinse the shrimp in cold water and pat dry.
When cleaning any kind of meat – seafood, red meat, or poultry, we like to use vinegar and or lemon. You can see our method here in our poulet en sauce recipe.
If you do not want your shrimp to curl, you can make slits on the front of the shrimp and pull it backwards. This will allow the shrimp to remain straight while frying and not curl up.
Combine all of dry ingredients and whisk it.
Add water then whisk it rapidly. This will make your batter light and airy.
The combination and consistency of the batter must not be too thick or liquidly. It must be homogenously.
Dip the cleaned Shrimp into Tempura.
Heat the frying oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit then deep fry the shrimp for 4-5 minutes or until golden color.
Transfer the cooked shrimp onto a paper towel plate.
Preparing The Sauce
To prepare the serving sauce, whisk the sour cream, then add lime zest and lemon juice. Continue whisking until well combined.
Serve your shrimp with the sauce on the side with red pepper flakes.
Tips for making shrimp tempura
Use oil with a high smoke point so that it doesn’t burn. Ideal oil types include sesame oil, canola oil, sunflower, or vegetable oil.
Keep the temperature of oil steady as it affects the crispness of the shrimp
Ensure you cut slits into the shrimp as it allows it to fry well
Storage of the Shrimp Tempura
It is important to mention that Shrimp Tempura is best enjoyed immediately after preparation. However, if you happen to have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container for 2 days.
You can reheat the dish in an oven or air fryer.
Using an oven, you will need to use a baking sheet. Place the shrimp on the baking sheet in a preheated oven (325 degrees Fahrenheit) for 5 to 8 minutes.
More shrimp recipes you’ll enjoy
After trying this shrimp tempura recipe, we recommend you try one of these shrimp recipes next:
It warms our hearts to see the recipes you make from this site, and we’d especially would love to know if you tried this recipe.
Also, we would appreciate if could give it a star rating below.
Jumbo Tempura Shrimp
- 1 Deep fryer
- 1 Air Fryer Optional
- 2 lbs. Shrimp deveined and peeled
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ cup Cornstarch
- 2 tsp. Kosher Salt or to taste
- 1 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1 cup Water
- 4 cups Canola Oil
For The Dressing
- 1 ¼ cup Sour Cream
- Zest from 1 Lemon
- Juice from 1 Lemon
- 1 tbsp. Chinese Red Pepper Flakes
- Thaw out the shrimp (if they were frozen), peel and also devein them. Rinse the shrimp in cold water and pat dry. Set it aside. Prepare the shrimp by Combine all of dry ingredients and whisk it. Add water then whisk it rapidly. This will make your batter light and airy. The combination and consistency of the batter must not be too thick or liquidly. It must be homogenously.Dip the cleaned Shrimp into Tempura.
- Heat the frying oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit then deep fry the shrimp for 4-5 minutes or until golden color. Dry fry in batches.Transfer the cooked shrimp onto a paper towel plate. Serve your shrimp with the sauce on the side with red pepper flakes.Preparing The SauceTo prepare the serving sauce, whisk the sour cream, then add lime zest and lemon juice. Continue whisking until well combined. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.