This Rock Shrimp Tempura is made with fresh shrimp, flour, vegetable oil, egg, panko crumbs, cold water, and served with a spicy mayo.
One of my favorite appetizers has always been Nobu's Rock Shrimp Tempura. The Nobu Creamy Spicy sauce actually has an egg yolk in it. I wanted to recreated it without an egg - my recipe's sauce only has mayonnaise and Sriracha. You will be deep frying the shrimp into a pot of vegetable or canola oil, so its important to use a small pot so you don't have to use too much oil.
What is Rock Shrimp?
Rock shrimp is a type of shrimp that is native to the western Atlantic Ocean, from Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. They are called "rock" shrimp because they live and breed in rocky, deep-water areas.
Rock shrimp have a hard outer shell and a sweet, delicate meat that is similar in taste and texture to lobster. However, they are smaller in size than traditional shrimp, and their meat is more difficult to extract from the shell. To make the meat easier to eat, rock shrimp are typically split open and deveined before they are cooked.
Rock shrimp are often cooked by boiling, steaming, grilling, or frying. They are commonly served as an appetizer or as part of a seafood platter. They are also used as an ingredient in dishes such as seafood stews, paella, and sushi.
What is Rock Shrimp Tempura?
Rock shrimp tempura is a Japanese dish that consists of rock shrimp that have been battered and deep-fried until crispy. The shrimp are typically coated in a light tempura batter made from a mixture of flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and ice-cold water, which gives them a crispy and airy texture.
To make rock shrimp tempura, the shrimp are first cleaned, peeled, and deveined. Then, they are lightly dusted with cornstarch and dipped in the tempura batter. The shrimp are then deep-fried in hot oil until golden brown and crispy.
Rock shrimp tempura is often served as an appetizer in Japanese restaurants and is typically accompanied by a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, mirin, and dashi broth. The dish is usually garnished with grated daikon radish, grated ginger, or sliced green onions.
What you will need
- Shrimp, cleaned and deveined
- Vegetable oil
- Panko crumbs
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Rock Shrimp Tempura Recipe
*See video below for step by step instructions.
Start by placing a small pot full of oil on low heat, until heat reaches 375°F on a candy thermometer. It is super important to use a candy thermometer when deep frying.
Make the batter. In a bowl, mix the egg, cold water, and flour. In another bowl, add the panko crumbs.
Dip the shrimp into the batter and then toss into the panko crumbs. Repeat with the rest of the shrimp.
When the oil is hot enough (around 375°F), deep fry the shrimp until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. You may need to do this in batches.
In a bowl, add the mayonnaise and sriracha and serve on the side. Garnish with chopped scallions or chives.
Hint: Make sure to use a candy thermometer to control the temperature.
What to serve with Rock Shrimp Tempura
Rock shrimp tempura is a delicious dish that pairs well with a variety of sides and condiments. Here are some ideas:
- Rice: Rock shrimp tempura is commonly served with a side of steamed white rice or sushi rice.
- Salad: A light and refreshing green salad, such as mixed greens or cucumber salad, can complement the fried shrimp and add some crunch.
- Vegetables: Stir-fried or roasted vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, or bell peppers, can add some color and nutrition to the dish.
- Dipping sauces: Soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, or spicy mayo are popular dipping sauces for rock shrimp tempura.
- Miso soup: A bowl of miso soup can provide a comforting and savory contrast to the crispy shrimp.
- Edamame: Salted boiled edamame is a classic Japanese appetizer that can be served alongside the tempura.
- Soba noodles: Soba noodles can be served hot or cold and make for a tasty and filling side dish.
- Pickled vegetables: Pickled ginger, daikon radish, or cucumber can add a tangy and refreshing taste to the meal.
- Shrimp: To make your life easier, buy the shrimp cleaned, peeled and deveined. Go to your local fish market for the freshest fish they may have.
- Panko Crumbs: The panko crumbs add an amazing texture to the shrimp. I get my panko crumbs from Trader Joe's.
- Oil: You can use vegetable or canola oil for deep frying.
- Scallions: I love garnishing with scallions, green onion or chives.
- Egg: For best quality tempura, use cage free, organic eggs from your local supermarket.
- Flour: I used plain all purpose flour to make the batter.
- Mayonnaise: This mayonnaise is used to make the spicy mayo. You can use store spicy mayo, but I love making my own with sriracha. Feel free to add lemon wedges as well.
Rock Shrimp Tempura Variations
Rock shrimp tempura is a versatile dish that can be prepared in many ways. Here are some variations you can try:
- Spicy rock shrimp tempura: Add some heat to your tempura batter with chili flakes or hot sauce, and serve with a spicy dipping sauce.
- Coconut rock shrimp tempura: Mix shredded coconut into your tempura batter for a tropical twist, and serve with a sweet chili sauce or pineapple salsa.
- Teriyaki rock shrimp tempura: Drizzle the fried shrimp with teriyaki sauce and serve over a bed of rice.
- Wasabi rock shrimp tempura: Add some wasabi powder to your tempura batter and serve with a wasabi mayo dipping sauce for a bold and spicy flavor.
- Curry rock shrimp tempura: Mix curry powder into your tempura batter and serve with a side of coconut rice for a fusion twist.
- Lemon rock shrimp tempura: Sprinkle some lemon zest over the fried shrimp and serve with a side of lemon wedges for a fresh and tangy flavor.
- Panko rock shrimp tempura: Replace the traditional tempura batter with panko breadcrumbs for a crunchier texture, and serve with a spicy mayo dipping sauce.
- Garlic rock shrimp tempura: Add minced garlic to your tempura batter for a savory and aromatic flavor, and serve with a side of garlic aioli dipping sauce.
Check out this Shrimp Sausage and Rice Recipe dish too!
To make rock shrimp tempura, you will need the following equipment:
- Deep fryer or a heavy-bottomed pot: You will need a deep fryer or a heavy-bottomed pot to heat the oil for frying the shrimp. A deep fryer is more convenient, but a pot works just as well.
- Thermometer: A thermometer is needed to measure the temperature of the oil. The ideal temperature for frying tempura is around 350-375°F (180-190°C).
- Mixing bowls: You will need mixing bowls to prepare the tempura batter.
- Wire whisk or chopsticks: You will need a wire whisk or chopsticks to mix the tempura batter. Whisking the batter with chopsticks will help to prevent over-mixing and create a lighter batter.
- Strainer or slotted spoon: You will need a strainer or slotted spoon to remove the fried shrimp from the oil.
- Paper towels: Paper towels are needed to absorb the excess oil from the fried shrimp.
- Plate: You will need a plate to serve the rock shrimp tempura.
- Optional: A spider strainer or a skimmer can be used to remove any bits of batter or debris from the oil between batches, and a cooling rack can be used to keep the fried shrimp crispy.
How to store Rock Shrimp Tempura
Rock shrimp tempura is best served immediately after frying, but if you have leftovers, here's how to store them:
- Let the fried shrimp cool down to room temperature.
- Place the shrimp in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag.
- Store the container or bag in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
- When ready to reheat, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Place the shrimp on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until heated through and crispy.
Note: Reheating the shrimp in the microwave or in the frying pan can make them soggy, so it's best to use the oven method for best results. Also, avoid storing the shrimp for too long as the tempura coating will lose its crispiness over time.
Rock Shrimp Tempura Recipe Top tips
Here are some top tips for making rock shrimp tempura:
- Use fresh rock shrimp: Fresh shrimp will make a huge difference in the taste and texture of your tempura. Make sure to buy high-quality, fresh rock shrimp from a reputable seafood market.
- Keep the batter cold: It's important to keep the batter cold as you're frying the shrimp. This will help the batter stay crispy and prevent it from becoming greasy.
- Don't overcrowd the pan: When frying the shrimp, make sure to only cook a few at a time. Overcrowding the pan can cause the temperature of the oil to drop, which will result in greasy, soggy shrimp.
- Use a high smoke point oil: When frying the shrimp, use a high smoke point oil like vegetable or canola oil. These oils can withstand high heat without burning or smoking.
- Use a candy thermometer: A candy thermometer ensures the oil stays at the temperature needed.
- Drain excess oil: Once the shrimp are cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
- Serve immediately: Tempura is best served immediately while it's still hot and crispy. Enjoy your rock shrimp tempura with a side of soy sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove