Butterfly Shrimp Tempura

4 cups vegetable oil

12 large shrimp

1 egg

¾ cup ice-cold water

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

leaves, as garnish

3 lemons, sliced

Serves 2–4

The Japanese version of deep-frying, tempura is easy to make. In addition to sliced lemon, serve the tempura with soy sauce, cayenne pepper, or salt and black pepper for dipping.

  • Heat the oil to 350° in a deep-fat fryer, large heavy saucepan, wok, or electric fondue pot.

  • Rinse the shrimp under warm running water and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the main shell from the shrimp, but leave on the tails. To butterfly the shrimp, cut a deep slit along the back of shrimp. (Be careful not to cut right through the shrimp.) Press out the flesh on either side of the cut to form the butterfly “wings.”

  • In a small bowl, stir the egg into the ice water. Stir in the flour to form a thick, lumpy batter, being careful not to overmix (the batter should resemble a pancake batter).

  • Dip the shrimp into the batter and deep-fry in the heated oil. Fry the shrimp until the batter is golden brown and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp. Drain on paper towels. To serve, place the tempura on a plate and garnish with the fresh cilantro leaves and lemon slices.

To the Table

Does Japanese cuisine seems full of obscure and unknown foods? If so, you can take heart in knowing that its most important ingredient is very familiar. The answer is found in the Japanese expression for “Let's have a meal” (Gohan ni shimasho). Gohan means cooked rice, so the phrase literally is “Let's eat cooked rice.”

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