Crunchy Fried Shrimp

Ebi Furai

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

    as a main course

Appears in

This is unquestionably one of the most popular dishes in Japan. Its fans range from the nursery-school set—for whom these breaded fried shrimp are a favorite lunch-box treat—to full-fledged grown-ups, who never seem to tire of eating the crunchy crustaceans at home and in restaurants.

Ingredients

  • 2 dozen large shrimp, with shells and tails intact
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • cups panko (Japanese coarse bread crumbs)
  • corn, soy, or other vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • few drops goma abura (aromatic sesame oil), optional
  • tonkatsu sōsu (a thick, dark, spicy sauce), optional

Method

  1. Remove the shells from the shrimp, keeping the last segment and tail intact. Make a shallow slit down the curved back of each shrimp and remove the vein. Flip the shrimp over and make two or three shallow diagonal slits across the underbelly. Gently press on these slits to straighten out the shrimp and keep them from curling further when fried. Rinse the shrimp quickly under cold water, then pat them dry.
  2. Season the flour with the salt, and lightly dredge each shrimp in the mixture, being sure to dredge the tails well. Beat the egg and cold water together, and dip an entire shrimp in the mixture, then toss it into the coarse bread crumbs. Shake the bowl of crumbs a bit to coat each shrimp thoroughly. Repeat with all the shrimp. You can bread the shrimp several hours before frying them, if you need to. Transfer them to a paper-lined plate and refrigerate, but bring them back to room temperature before frying.
  3. Pour at least 2 inches of oil into a wok or other deep-fryer. If you add a few drops of aromatic sesame oil, it will impart a marvelous nutty taste. Heat the oil to approximately 350 degrees. Test the temperature with a few bread crumbs that have egg wash on them. They should gently sizzle on the surface, coloring slowly to a golden hue.
  4. Fry the shrimp in two or three batches for about 1½ minutes. The breading will turn golden, and the meat opaque and firm. Flip the shrimp once during the frying, about halfway through. Drain well on paper towels.
  5. Serve with the thick, dark, spicy sauce drizzled over them. The shrimp are delicious hot or at room temperature.

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