Shrimp Tempura With A Twist

     Anyone who's ever tasted and enjoyed shrimp tempura, knows that the batter is very light and crisp. You may have tried to make this at home with the coating you usually use for chicken but found it was a bit too heavy, and clumpy where the shrimp curls.

     I ran across this recipe from America's Test Kitchen and tried it myself. It was fantastic. Here's how to do it like your favorite restaurant, crispy, light and delicious!

      You'll need:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup seltzer water 
  • batch of jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
     Mix four with cornstarch. In separate bowl, combine egg, vodka, and seltzer water. When oil reaches about 385 degrees, combine the flour mixture with the liquid mixture and whisk gently till just combined. Oil should reach 400 degrees by now and you can drop several of the shrimp into the batter and letting the excess run off, put them one by one into the oil. They should be done in about 3 to 4 minutes.

     Important Tips:

  1. To prevent shrimp from curling too much, make two cuts bellyside about an inch apart
  2. Do not combine flour and liquid untill the last minute otherwise the batter can begin to toughen up
  3. The oil must be kept very hot while cooking these shrimp.
  4. Make sure when you first put them in the oil they don't stick together. You can use any utensil to move them around that can stand up to being in hot oil.
  5. Since the batter will begin to toughen a little while sitting, make a fresh batter after several batches if you are making a large quantity.
  6. Place on paper towel when you remove them from the oil and serve as soon as possible.

Photo by Neil Conway