The poetic name of this dish refers to the illusion of rising white mists created by the deep-fried transparent noodles that cling to the shrimp. This classic Japanese appetizer is one of the most popular party foods in my repertoire. The shrimp are particularly scrumptious when piping hot, if your kitchen can accommodate immediate service of fried foods, but they’re crunchy-delicious at room temperature, too.
You’ll need to cut the brittle noodles into
If you choose method one, fit your food processor with the metal blade and pull apart the bunch of noodles as best you can, placing them around the blade to load the bowl evenly. Pulse-process with many short stops and starts. It will make an enormous amount of noise. As the large mass begins to break up, you may want to remove half or even two thirds of the noodle pieces and continue processing in small batches. Because the friction is so great, the bowl may begin to feel a bit warm to the touch. If that happens, let the machine rest for a minute or two, then continue to process until all the pieces are about
If you choose method two, use the sharpest pair of scissors or kitchen shears you have. Place the noodles inside a large, sturdy, clear plastic bag. Place the hand in which you’re holding the scissors inside the bag. Secure the bag to your wrist with string or a rubber band, but be careful not to make your tie uncomfortably tight. Snip away at the noodles, assured that the small pieces won’t fly all over your kitchen.
Whichever method you choose to cut your noodles, if you experience difficulty because they seem a bit soggy, place them in a 200-degree oven for about 10 minutes before resuming your cutting efforts. Noodles can be cut weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container on your shelf.
Peel the shrimp, keeping the last section and tail intact. Make a shallow slit down the back of each shrimp and remove the “vein,” which is really the intestinal tract. Flip the shrimp over and make two or three shallow diagonal slits across the underbelly. Gently press on these slits to straighten out the curved shrimp and keep them from curling when fried. Rinse the shrimp quickly under cold water, than pat dry.
Season the flour with the salt and Japanese pepper, and lightly dust the shrimp in the mixture. Be sure to dust the tails as well. Dip the shrimp, one at a time, in the beaten egg whites, then roll them in the cut noodle pieces. Each piece of noodle will puff and expand considerably, so don’t be concerned by gaps between the brittle pieces before frying. The shrimp can be coated 1–2 hours in advance of frying, and if you plan on doing so, cover them lightly with paper towels, then refrigerate until it’s time to fry them.
Heat at least
Serve hot or at room temperature, with lemon or lime wedges on the side.
© 1985 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.