Shrimp Tempura

Published May 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

Why this recipe works:

For a shrimp tempura recipe that would produce sweet, fresh-tasting shrimp covered in a light, crisp coating, we chose the largest available shrimp, since it’s easy to overcook small ones. Finding that a high temperature gave us greaseless tempura, we deep-fried the shrimp in a large Dutch… read more

For a shrimp tempura recipe that would produce sweet, fresh-tasting shrimp covered in a light, crisp coating, we chose the largest available shrimp, since it’s easy to overcook small ones. Finding that a high temperature gave us greaseless tempura, we deep-fried the shrimp in a large Dutch oven in 400-degree oil. For our tempura batter recipe, we substituted cornstarch for flour, which contributed to lightness, and we substituted a surprise ingredient—vodka—for water, finding that alcohol mixed with flour didn’t produce toughening gluten and burned off during cooking, leaving no traces of alcohol flavor.

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Serves 4

Do not omit the vodka; it is critical for a crisp coating. For safety, use a Dutch oven with a capacity of at least 7 quarts. Be sure to begin mixing the batter when the oil reaches 385 degrees (the final temperature should reach 400 degrees). It is important to maintain a high oil temperature throughout cooking. If you are unable to find colossal shrimp (8-12 per pound), jumbo (16-20) or extra-large (21-25) may be substituted. Fry smaller shrimp in three batches, reducing the cooking time to 1½ to 2 minutes per batch. See Straighten Out Your Shrimp below for tips on preventing the shrimp from curling.

Ingredients

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