Anything coated in a light batter and then deep-fried to crispness is a win and this recipe is no exception. Even better is its versatility. It can be eaten plain, dipped, dunked, or tossed in a sauce of your choice, or used in a variety of dishes. As for the batter itself, use it for just about any thing from shrimp to vegetables!
Six simple ingredients are all you need to bring this recipe to life. Shrimp, potato starch (or arrowroot if you prefer), soy sauce, 100% whole wheat pastry flour, ice cold water and an egg (cold from the fridge). The use of the ice-cold water is a must. More to that, the lower gluten content in the whole wheat flour, aside from being healthier, also lends to creating a crispier texture once fried!
The cuts in the shrimp are important to keep them from curling and ensure an even cook since we won’t be frying them for long.
To be honest I notched them a bit too deeply (blame my sharpened knife) but the batter will fill in the gaps!
After prepping the shrimp, we’ll toss them in soy sauce and then lightly coat them in potato starch. Next, we’ll make the batter. (Just before you do, it’s a good idea to put your oil to heat. You want your batter as fresh as possible which means you don’t want to make it and leave it to rest, but rather you want to begin using it immediately.)
The batter is made by combining the ice cold water, egg, and flour together. Do not overmix! Overmixing causes the batter to be sticky which will result in an oily and heavy final product. Also note that the addition of the egg and use of whole wheat flour results in this batter a bit on the darker/yellower side.
For a batter that is closer to a lighter Japanese-style tempura, you can add a touch more ice water to think it out.
With your batter made to your liking, all that’s left to do is dip your shrimp in and fry them in oil to give us…
…A deliciously crispy, golden brown shrimp that I love to snack on or use in my own Homemade Brown Rice Sushi!
Clean Eat Batter-Fried Shrimp
- Ensure the shrimp is peeled and deveined. I personally remove the tails but if you prefer to keep them on that's up to you. Wash the shrimps thoroughly under cool water and drain.
- Add the soy sauce to the shrimps and toss.
- Make three cuts on the underside of each shrimp and slowly straighten each one out and lay them flat. The cuts should go no more than halfway through.
- Roll each shrimp through the cornstarch and set aside.
- Add enough oil to a pan or wok so that the shrimps will be fully submerged once added. Heat the oil to 375°F (190°C) and maintain that temperature.
- While the oil is heating, combine the ice cold water and egg together. It's very important that the water is as cold as possible.
- Add the flour all at once and mix together until a loose batter is formed.
- Holding a shrimp by its tail end, dip it into the batter and drag it back and forth a couple times to ensure an even coating on all sides.
- Hold the shrimp over the bowl to allow any excess batter to drip off.
- Add the shrimp one at a time (up to three in a small pot) into the preheated 375°F (190°C) oil and fry until golden brown (approximately 2 minutes) Remove from the oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels so that any excess oil is soaked up.
- Serve or use immediately.
- If you notice a slight smell coming from the raw shrimp you can sprinkle a tablespoon of potato starch over them and then rinse the shrimp. Do this before you notch them and then proceed with the recipe as directed.
- Use an egg that is cold from the refrigerator along with the ice water.
- When making the batter, do not over mix it. You want it to be loosely folded together. Some lumps are perfectly fine.
- If you notice that the batter is too thick, add a little extra water to thin it out. The thickness of the coating can be adjusted to suit your taste.
- To achieve the iconic rough tempura exterior, dip your fingers in the batter and drizzle little droplets of the batter over the shrimp as soon as you add the shrimp to the oil. These droplets stick to the shrimp and create a rugged layer, adding extra crunch and texture to the shrimp.