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Homemade Shrimp Tempura Recipe from a Sushi Chef

Tempura is steam cooking.


Total: 30 minutes

Prep: 5 - 10 minutes

Set up: 10 minutes

Frying: 5 minutes

Just like making great sushi is not as easy as it looks, making great tempura is not easy either. How could it be so difficult, you may wonder. Isn’t it just frying shrimp? Sure, but just like anything else in life, sometimes, the simplest thing can be the most difficult to master.

Your tempura (and mine too) may not come out to be the great shrimp tempura like the one made by the master tempura chefs in Japan (yes, there are Michelin-stared tempura restaurants in Tokyo.), but there are some simple steps you can take to make your shrimp tempura tastes good.

My guess is many people think tempura is a method of cooking in which you use oil to cook the ingredients. Technically, that is not a correct understanding. Tempura is steam cooking. When the tempura batter is cooked by the oil, it will coat the ingredient. As the internal temperature rises, moisture from the ingredient will evaporate and becomes steam, which will be trapped inside of the cooked tempura batter. Therefore, the key idea is to utilize the temperature inside of the tempura batter to cook the ingredient, even after you take it out from the oil. Cook not all the way in the frying oil, but about 80% in the oil. Your tempura will continue to get cooked after being taken out from the oil.


Tempura Batter

Make “egg water” first. When you make egg water, make sure to pour water in a bowl first, then add the egg. If place the egg in the bowl, and add water, it will produce undissolved egg white. If making egg water is too much of a hustle, simply add mayonnaise to the tempura batter instead.

Cold water vs. Normal water?

Many recipes call for ice cold water or add water to the tempura batter. The verdict, according to the Michelin stared Japanese tempura chef, there is no need to use ice cold water. “It will only make it difficult to fry because it will create more temperature difference between the batter and the oil.”

Thaw Shrimp in Salt Water

You can use frozen shrimp instead of fresh one. But when you thaw frozen shrimp in water, shrimp will lose its flavor. Instead, make 1% salt water (200g water, 2g salt), and thaw.


  • 6 - 8pcs Shrimp, (size 21/26)

  • 1 egg

  • 100 g (3.3 oz.) Flour

  • 300cc (1.5 cups) water

  • Rice Bran Oil (or Canola Oil)

  • Sesame Oil


  • Mayonnaise


  • Cutting Board

  • Knife

  • Large Spoon

  • Small sheet pans (or plate)

  • Small Bowl

  • Whisk

  • Frying pan

  • Tong or Long Wood Cooking Chopsticks


Prepare shrimp

  1. Remove the shell. Cut the back side of the shrimp, remove and discard the vein.

  2. Score the inner part of the shrimp with a knife by cutting it halfway into the meat. P

  3. lace the shrimp on the cutting board, press firmly with your fingers to detach the tendon. When you press the shrimp, it should make a breaking sound.

  4. Decorative tail - Cut the end part of the tail at 45degrees angle. When fried, it makes the shrimp tail look nicer.

Making Tempura Batter

  1. Make “egg water.” In a small bowl, pour 300cc (1.5 cups) of water first, then egg.

  2. Egg white is water soluble, so when you place it egg in the water, egg white will dissolve first, then egg yolk. When you beat egg in a bowl first and then add water, some of the egg white will sit at the bottom of the bowl, undissolved.

  3. Strain 60g/2 oz. of flour into a bowl, add 60g/2 oz. egg water (egg water: flour = 1:1)

Frying Shrimp

  1. In a frying pan, pour rice bran (or canola) oil and Sesame Oil to 3cm/1 ¼ inch deep. The ratio of Rice Bran Oil: Sesame Oil is 3:1.

  2. Heat the frying oil to 190C/375F.

  3. You can check the temperature by dropping some tempura batter in the oil. If the batter hits the bottom and rises to the surface immediately, the oil is ready.

  4. Place flour in a sheet pan. Place prepared shrimp in a sheet pan, coat with flour. Life up the shrimp, shake to remove the excess flour.

  5. Hold the tail and dip the shrimp into tempura batter. Life up, hold it for three to five seconds to remove the excess batter.

  6. Place the batter coated shrimp into the oil. Fry for one to two minutes until light yellow. Remove from the oil, let the shrimp sit on a paper towel to remove excess oil.


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