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.
CHOICE OF SHRIMPS:
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.
BEER BATTER INGREDIENTS:
- 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.
BEER BATTER VS. WATER BATTER RECIPE?
- 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.
CLEANING THE SHRIMP
- Clean the shrimp. Rinse all, cut off the heads, set aside on a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
- Using scissors, cut off the legs and antennas.
- Cut through the shell on top of the shrimp until the last shell that holds on to the tail.
- Remove all the shells around the shrimp body, BUT LEAVE THE SHELL that holds on to the tail on.
- Set aside shrimp on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess moisture
- In a bowl, add Showa tempura batter mix + beer. Mix well with chopsticks. It should resemble pancake like consistency.
- Add canola oil into a pot, 3 inches deep. Place a deep fry thermometer into the pot.
- Heat the oil until it reached 160C/320F.
- 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.
- Starting with the squash first, dip 5 squash slices into the batter. Ensure evenly coated.
- Shake off excess batter.
- Carefully and gently drop it into the hot oil.
- Deep fry for about 1.5 – 2 minutes.
- Then carefully fish it out and place it on a rack.
- Repeat steps 10 to 14 until all squash are done.
- Repeat steps 10 to 14 until all shrimp are done.
- Repeat steps 10 to 14 until all shrimp heads are done.
You can freeze this. Here is how I do it – see 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.
– 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.
HERE IS HOW TO CLEAN YOUR OIL TO RE-USE:
- 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.