Shrimp & Kabocha Tempura Recipe

photo of a plate of golden crisp shrimp and kabocha tempura

Sharing our family’s current favorite tempura recipe – tasty and easy!
Previously, we experimented with making tempura batter mix from scratch but from a health perspective, tempura is something we would eat only a few times a year.

So we might as well satisfy our tempura cravings and use my mother in law’s tempura recipe (she’s Japanese). This recipe is tastier and easier – it uses Showa Tempura Batter Mix. We love it – you can find them at your local Japanese or possibly Asian grocery store for under $10 dollars USD/CAD.

Today, I made shrimp, shrimp head and kabocha squash tempura, but you can tempura anything – sweet potatoes, mushrooms, eggplants, okra, sweet peppers, green beans etc.

We used fresh Colossal sized U-15* raw shrimps from Costco Canada. But we have used 16/20* defrosted frozen raw shrimps before as well.

U-15* is the ideal size for tempura but 16/20* shrimps would work well too*. Nothing smaller than that.

*These numbers let you know how large the shrimps are. U-15 means less than 15 shrimps per pound. 16/20 means 16-20 shrimps per pound. The lower the number the larger the shrimp.


  • 500g U-15 or 16/20 fresh or defrosted raw shrimps
  • 1 kabocha squash*** scrubbed well, seeds removed, 1/8 inch thick slices
  • 2 cups Showa tempura batter mix, ~200g
  • 1 3/4 cups cheap pilsner or lager type beer**
  • canola oil

**if you don’t want to use alcohol, or if you ran out of beer, you can use substitute beer with water with this formula:
160g cold water for every 100g of Showa Tempura batter mix.
***if you can’t find kabocha squash in your area, you can use butter cup squash instead. Similar in taste.


  • I tried both batters. See Photo 1A below.
  • My husband and I found the beer batter to have a more robust flavor.
    The beer batter tempuras came out to be darker in color whereas the water batter tempuras came out to be a light colored batter. Try both out and see which you prefer. I tried the water batter recipe because I ran out of beer.



  1. Clean the shrimp. Rinse all, cut off the heads, set aside on a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  2. Using scissors, cut off the legs and antennas.
  3. Cut through the shell on top of the shrimp until the last shell that holds on to the tail.
  4. Remove all the shells around the shrimp body, BUT LEAVE THE SHELL that holds on to the tail on.
  5. Set aside shrimp on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess moisture

  6. In a bowl, add Showa tempura batter mix + beer. Mix well with chopsticks. It should resemble pancake like consistency.

  7. Add canola oil into a pot, 3 inches deep. Place a deep fry thermometer into the pot.
  8. Heat the oil until it reached 160C/320F.
  9. When you deep fry, make sure the oil always stay within 160C/320F and 180C/356F. Otherwise the oil might burn. Try to keep it within the lower side of this range.

    DEEP FRY TIP: Deep fry the vegetable tempura first, to keep the oil clean.

  10. Starting with the squash first, dip 5 squash slices into the batter. Ensure evenly coated.
  11. Shake off excess batter.
  12. Carefully and gently drop it into the hot oil.
  13. Deep fry for about 1.5 – 2 minutes.
  14. Then carefully fish it out and place it on a rack.
  15. Repeat steps 10 to 14 until all squash are done.
  16. Repeat steps 10 to 14 until all shrimp are done.
  17. Repeat steps 10 to 14 until all shrimp heads are done.

You can freeze this. Here is how I do itsee Photo 5A below.
– I wrap 4 or 5 pieces of tempura, without overlapping in cling wrap.
– Then put them into a large zip lock bag, keeping as much air out. We place it in a large zip lock bag as the cling wrap is not air tight, and the tempura may slip out if not held together in a zip lock bag.
– Freeze.
– TO REHEAT: Unwrap and place frozen tempura on a oven safe rack in a preheated 325F/162C oven and bake 6 mins or until crispy.

IF YOU FORGOT AND DEEP FRY THE SHRIMPS FIRST (like I did), you may realize oil would have turned dark after doing the shrimp batch. That’s ok.


  • Take a larger pot, place a large strainer over it. Line with 2 layers of paper towels. Then carefully pour the hot oil through the paper towels.
  • Once the oil is filtered through, discard paper towels and residue.
  • Wash your deep frying pot, and make sure its wiped dry with a paper towel.
  • Then add in your filtered oil and proceed with making tempuras again.
photo of showa tempura batter mix shrimps and kabocha - beer batter versus water batter
Photo 1A: Beer Batter Recipe vs Water Batter Recipe
plate of shrimp and shrimp head tempura using showa batter mix
Photo 2A: Tempura Shrimps & Shrimp Heads done! Shrimp heads are soo juicy and tasty!
photo of a plate of tempura shrimp, juicy shrimp heads and kabocha squash
Photo 2B: Tempura Shrimp, Shrimp Heads & Kabocha Squash!
photo of showa tempura batter mix packaging
Photo 3A: SHOWA tempura batter mix. They come in 700g or 398g packs.
Photo of how I freeze tempura. First wrap with clingwrap without overlapping. Then place them all in a zip lock bag (to prevent the tempura from slipping out of the cling wrap)
Photo 5A: How a freeze tempura. First wrap with cling wrap, without overlapping tempura. Then place in a zip lock bag removing as much excess air as possible.