Prawns are my favourite protein to work with, not only because they are easy to store, defrost and cook but also because they are so versatile. You can BBQ them, add them to soups, serve them as appetizers or feature them in your mains. They taste delicious in wraps, on pizza, in salads, you can replace almost any protein with some good old prawn. I always keep frozen prawn on hand for a quick meal or unexpected company.
Prawn Tempura is hands down one of the best ways to cook and have prawns. Tempura is a popular Japanese recipe of vegetables and seafood, encrusted in a light and airy batter and fried till golden. Vegetable and seafood tempura are on the menu of almost all Japanese restaurants throughout the world. Prawn tempuras are remarkably simple to make and require only 3 ingredients: flour, eggs, and ice water. You only need to make sure you follow the tips I have shared below for restaurant-like results.
- Make sure you have all the ingredients you want to coat (seafood, vegetables) ready before you make the batter. If you let the batter sit for too long wheat gluten will activate resulting in a soft-chewy coating.
- Sift the flour before using to get rid of any lumps and making it easier to incorporate into the batter.
- Always use ice water for a crisp coating. You can also place the batter bowl on top of ice to keep it chilled when you begin frying.
- Do not over mix the tempura batter, a few lumps are ok. To avoid over-mixing gently dab the flour with chop sticks instead of using a whisk.
- Make sure the oil is at the right frying temperature before you mix the batter. To test the oil insert a chopstick into hot oil, if small bubbles form around the chopstick it is at the optimal temperature. If the oil is too cold the tempura batter will absorb too much oil, if it is too hot it will burn.
- Do not overcrowd the wok or frying pan as the chilled tempura batter will bring the oil temperature down. It is best to fry in batches.
You can serve Prawn Tempura with your preferred dipping sauce like a wasabi mayonnaise dip.
- Corn Starch for dusting
- Vegetable Oil for deep frying
- Egg 1; large
- Ice Cold Water 1 cup
- All-Purpose Flour 1 cup
Prepare the prawns by washing them and patting dry with a paper towel. If you want to prevent the prawns from curling whilst frying use this technique to straighten shrimps. Place the shrimps belly side up on a chopping board or work surface. Using a sharp knife make two to three cuts 5 mm deep. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Using your hands straighten the prawn and it will hold shape.
Heat oil in a wok. The oil temperature should be around 170 ℃ to 180 ℃. Make sure to maintain the temperature throughout the frying process.
Sift the flour into a large bowl. Mix cold water and egg together and whisk until well combined. Pour whisked egg mixture into flour and stir gently using chopsticks. Do not mix the batter too much, a few lumps are okay.
Lightly dust prawns with corn starch. Dip dusted prawns in tempura batter, shake of excess batter and then transfer into hot oil. Fry prawns until golden about 2 minutes. Transfer fried prawn tempura on to a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil. Fry prawns in small batches. Do not overcrowd the wok as the cold tempura batter will lover the oil temperature. Serve immediately with your favourite dipping sauce.