You can make shrimp tempura at home with ingredients you have on hand! It will taste just as good as any Asian restaurant, and best of all, it will take minutes to prepare!
You don’t have to go out to enjoy this Japanese dish, enjoy shrimp deep-fried in this crispy batter when you prepare this from scratch. It’s super easy to make these delicious Japanese restaurant appetizers in your own kitchen. And, not a single ingredient is difficult to find. This is a basic and easy shrimp tempura recipe for tasty shrimp in a crunchy tempura batter.
How did Shrimp Tempura get started?
You might be curious about the origin of tempura shrimp, or tempura in general. Frying food in a batter in Japan can be traced back to the middle of the 16th century. The idea of batter frying was brought to Japan by the Portuguese, which explains why tempura is not a Japanese word but is Latin based. It derives from the word tempora, as in quatuor tempora (the ember days) when Catholics give up eating meat. Tempura became a favorite dish of the first shogun of the Tokugawa/Edo era,Tokugawa Ieyasu.
What is Tempura Batter?
Tempura batter is made with flour that is often mixed with ice water. The ice water helps to create a very light and crispy texture. My copycat recipe uses club soda instead of ice water. There are specialty flours available that are designed to give you super crispy tempura. However, regular flour will work provided you don’t overdo stirring the batter. Too much stirring will activate the gluten in the flour, and you will end up with a batter that isn’t as light as you want. This easy to make copycat tempura batter recipe will inspire you to fry up shrimp, other kinds of seafood, and fresh vegetables.
Since this recipe is a wet batter, it is not suitable for an air fryer. The batter will drip off before it cooks. If you want to make crispy shrimp in an air fryer, I would batter the shrimp with an egg wash and panko breadcrumbs.
Some Tips for Making Shrimp Tempura:
- The club soda will work better if it is VERY cold.
- Mix the batter ingredients just to the point that the dry ingredients are combined. Do not overmix.
- For deep frying the shrimp, use at least 3 inches of oil in your pot.
- How long to fry the shrimp? Make sure the oil is hot enough before you start and try not to crowd the shrimp together. Ideally, fry at 375 degrees for just 2-3 minutes until the tempura batter is golden brown.
- Do NOT place the fried shrimp on paper towels. The paper towels will generate steam, and you will lose that crunchy texture you’ve strived to achieve.
Make Shrimp Tempura Anytime!
This shrimp tempura recipe makes the best Japanese appetizer. It’s made with a light batter and fries super crisp in no time. Note that it’s important not to fry the shrimp for too long. Serve this as an appetizer with a dipping sauce every time you have an Asian-themed dinner. Or pair your shrimp tempura with rice and some vegetables for a light meal.
Love copycat Japanese-style dishes? Try these favorite copykat Japanese recipes.
- 1 1/2 pounds shrimp deveined
- 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups corn starch
- 2 cups club soda or super cold water
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds optional
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs optional (parsley, chives, thyme are suggested)
- oil for frying
- Deep fryer
- Baking sheet
- Peel and devein shrimp.
- Preheat oil to 350 degrees in a deep fryer or pour enough oil to a large pot to deep fry.
- Mix together flour, corn starch, and club soda. Stir until just blended. If desired add some of the fresh herbs to the batter.
- Dip shrimp one at a time into batter. There is no need to dip the tails. Deep fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, the batter should crisp up, do not let the batter brown, the shrimp will over cook.
- Drain shrimp on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds and herbs on top if desired.