Shrimp Tempura


Do you know anyone who doesn’t like shrimp tempura, other than those with an allergy to shrimp? I love shrimp tempura. Ever since we had a Sunday ritual in the early 1970’s where the family would have dinner at Kimpura restaurant in Makati, and I was grossed out by sashimi, I would either order the shrimp tempura or the sukiyaki. That is, if we weren’t splurging and having some beef teppanyaki. A few years later, this upstart Japanese restaurant whose name simply escapes my fading memory banks, opened right near the corner of Pasay Road and EDSA and they made this bold “All You Can Eat” Tempura offer and one day, I think I ate some 28, yes read TWENTY EIGHT, pieces of tempura at one meal. Granted, they were smaller than usual, with a small shrimp probably cut in half and stretched out to maximize the seafood, coated in lots of batter and deep fried. If I attempted that today, I think I would leave the restaurant in a stretcher.


I have read up several times on tempura and have always aspired to doing it well at home. Some of the tips I have picked up through research include a mixture of sesame or peanut oil and vegetable oils for a more fragrant deep fry. Also, a mixture of vegetables and ingredients… Plus the importance of size of the vegetable or seafood cuts as they can’t be too big or give off too much steam to alter the final crispness and succulence of the treat. At any rate, these were some pretty good tempura we made at home. I am not posting a recipe yet as I am not yet 100% satisfied with the efforts. But keep your batter light-ish, chill it, and have your oil hot and clean. Remove floating bits of burning batter or Japanese breadcrumbs. Don’t forget a proper dipping sauce with lots of grated radish. Oh, and steamed white rice. Yum. I love shrimp tempura. But these days I am happy with about 4-5 jumbo pieces, not 28…


57 Responses

  1. Hi MM!
    I love shrimp tempura too!!! I’ve tried cooking it at home but I find it hard to replicate the ones being served in most Japanese restaurants. I want it to turn out light and airy too. Did you use breadcrumbs with this recipe?

  2. MM, me too. This is a regular order for me if I’m at a Japanese restaurant but if I’m cutting costs, I order fish tempura instead. BTW, do you still feel that way about sashimi?

  3. I love shrimp tempura. I’ve tried using the tempura batter, which they say has to be cold before you dip in the hot oil, along with the japanese bread crumbs. Sad to say it still comes out looking like an anorexic camaron rebosado. Haven’t been able to perfect this thing. Can you also give some tips how you make the dipping sauce? I bought one Japanese brand the grocery but I think I’m doing something wrong. The instructions are in Japanese and it’s medyo maasim. I still haven’t tweaked it yet since I’m so frustrated with the way the shrimps look when their cooked.

  4. Hello MM,
    My kids love tempura so much. I do hope that you would post your recipe soon because I have never been satisfied with my own tempura. I’ve been experimenting so many times but my eldest son would just say, can we go to our favorite Japanese restaurant please? Thus, that’s one comfort food for my family that I would rather order from our favorite japanese restaurant. My sister said that the batter should be chilled over a pan of iced water. I have tried that but my tempura was still not as crispy as my kids would like them to be.
    I would be looking forward to your recipe MM.

  5. kulasa, you don’t have to add breadcrumbs to the tempura. besides dipping it in the cold batter, the japanese also drop more batter onto the shrimp. kinda like “spraying or splashing it with more batter to make it look the way it looks when we order it from a restaurant. on the shrimp, they also make cuts along the shrimp so it straightens out when cooked, not curved. :)

    i believe the dipping sauce also has grated ginger? not just radish? the best tempura i’ve had was in the narita airport–i’m sure it’ll even be better if i actually step on japanese soil, not just for a stopover. lol.

  6. I think the restaurant with the Eat-all-you-can tempura was Saisaki. At least, that’s the one I remember that had the promo.

  7. Katrina and Ana, I think it was years before Saisaki made the same offer… it was another name, I think… Mandy, yes, grated ginger is also in the sauce. Evangeline, we did use panko or japanese breadcrumbs, but in restaurants, they just use the batter. Em Dy, no, I like sashimi today. Trina, yes we did use breadcrumbs…

  8. fellow tempura lover here, one fo the lastest food find Tempura wise is Yutaka Izakaya in Aurora Blvd..check my blog:)

  9. what you have here is what the japanese call ebi (shrimp) fry which is different from tempura. ebi fry uses panko while real tempura is mainly batter out of flour, egg and cold water.

  10. I remember when I was 12, my sister and I attempted to make tempura. My mom bought us a bag of shrimp and the stuff to make the batter. I honestly can’t remember how it turned out. I do rmember my sister and I were both traumatized from shelling and deveining those shrimps. I couldn’t eat tempura for the next two years.

  11. Hi Marketman,

    The name of that restaurant was Miyako.They also had a branch by Quezon Ave. and in Roxas Boulevard. To the best of my recollection you had to finish the camote and the vegetables that came with the shrimp.

    I have had many successful batches of tempura using different recipes. I now resort to using the red and white tempura flour along with an egg yolk and some cold soda water (I used to use ice cubes which proved to be dangerous when making huge batches). For added crunch sometimes I add a combination of rice flour and corn starch. Good luck with your experiments.

  12. You’re Tempura looks good, I can’t wait for you to post the recipe! I so love shrimp tempura with lots of white rice and soy sauce with lemon! Oh my mouth is watering right now! I remember when I was pregnant, there was this resto downtown, where i would phone ahead with my order (shrimp tempura) just before I leave my desk for lunch so that when I walk in it’ll be ready! And yes, i’ve done this for 5 days straight and munching “alone”, just me and the shrimps, oh so good! :)

  13. I love tempura too and after several experiments, I’ve come up with a recipe that works for me. In my tempura batter I use ice cold water, rice flour, and egg white only (i omitted the egg yolk because it tends to soften the crust when it fries up). Unfortunately I haven’t been able to document the exact measurements of the ingredients since I tend to go by consistency of the batter. Hope you find your perfect tempura recipe too!

  14. I remember Miyako and their all you can eat offers. I think they used to advertise in the papers along with stories about how many meals some people ate. As for tempura batter, they sell a lot of these in Japanese stores (Sakura, etc.) but you have to ask the people there how to prepare it since all insructions are in Japanese.

  15. shrimp tempura is my absolute favorite…i also love it’s distant cousin-coconut shrimp, which i make with panko and coconut flakes …yummy! i miss tempura in the philippines! where i live now in illinois, the ones that are available tend to be heavy with batter(and oil) so it’s a turn off. do let us know when you’ve perfected your recipe. thanks!

  16. I have to agree with bijin’s observation. It looks like you might have cooked Ebi Fry. But that’s OK because to me, if you use the Tempura dip, then you’re eating shrimp Tempura. It is the best either way!

  17. It was Miyako. They even had their waiters walking around continuously replenishing your plate with shrimp.

  18. Yup, the name of that restaurant was Miyako. I have very fond memories of that place! My record was only 18 tempuras, not 28 :-) But I was 8 years old at that time, so that was still A LOT!

    Please post your recipe when you’ve eperfected it, MM. I’ve attempted tempura at home but I’ve never replicated that light fluffy batter.

  19. I use this recipe from Filipino Kitchen Library by A.Jaraza, C. Aquino & H. Jaraza. For the batter: mix 1 egg, 1 cup flour, 1/8 tsp baking powder, about 1/2 cup water and 2 ice cubes to keep the batter cold. I did add Japanese breadcrumbs (Panko) to the recipe. After I dip the shrimp in the batter, I roll it on the breadcrumbs.

    For the sauce, I based the recipe in Dorothy’s Cooking School Cookbook by D. Ferreria. 1/2 cup water, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tspn grated ginger, 3 tbsp grated radish. On the sauce, I sort of adjust the measurements according my taste. Usually, I put a lot of sugar.

    Very quick prep time and yummy results!

    P.S. My family loves to eat at Sakura and it’s located on the corner of Pasay Road and Edsa right by Slimmer’s World? I wonder if that’s the same one you’re talking about. Love their sushi especially their uni. Arggggh! Wish I could fly home just to eat there.

  20. Yes, I remember Miyako too. I think one year they even had a contest for a Hongkong trip for the person who ate the most of that all-you-can-eat offer. I think the person that won it ate about 48 orders in one sitting.
    Looking forward to your recipe.

  21. Hi, MM!

    In one of those travel shows on Discovery Travel and Living, a Japanese woman demonstrated how she made tempura — I don’t remember exactly what ingredients she put in but I do remember seeing her add ice cubes to her batter while she was mixing it (to keep the batter cold).

    I love shrimp tempura and that’s the only reason why I go to Japanese buffets. ^_^

  22. MIYAKO! Yes. Mrs. MM kept saying it starts with an M, but we couldn’t remember the name… thanks! And now I have learned something new, with breadrumbs is ebi fry, without breadcrumbs is tempura…. have to keep experimenting for now. :)

  23. I was in Hawaii a few years back and I ate Tempura for lunch everyday for 1 week.Up to this day I still love tempura,but only occasionally.

  24. I had remembered in the early 90’s we had eaten at Saisaki for an all you can eat shrimp tempura. We ate too much that time. Pizza Hut had also an all you can eat pizza that time. It’s just funny remembering those memories.

    We used to eat at Saisaki probably 2-3x per week and remembered me and my friend saying, “Saisaiki again” when medical representatives used to invite us. Another fellow doctor heard us and was smiling.

  25. your tempura looks inviting… i would dip in wasabi mayonnaise…yummo!

    as to what Mandy said about spraying and splashing with more batter – yep, i’ve definitely seen japanese chefs do this when i ate at tempura bars in japan.

    with tempura batter, in addition to using cold water, i’ve also heard that it should not be well mixed, ie, should be lumpy. apparently, this helps make the crust light.

    i especially like tempura made from julienned vegies.

    good luck with your experiments!

  26. i developed an allergy for shrimps after devouring them when i was still a kid- but, fortunately for me, i can tolerate them now. probably because i have stopped eating them for quite some time. i love tempura- shrimps or vegetables! on another note MM, i just voted for you as the best food blog on the blogger’s choice awards. even if you don’t win, you are a sure winner for me. thanks for making everyday a simply good reading day.

  27. I consider myself fortunate to have known and worked with Choju who turned out to be my mentor in honing my baking skills. He often invited me to have dinner with his family which I considered an honor. His wife Tomoko taught me the rudiments of making tempura. I learned that timing is everything in tempura frying…making the outside very crisp while the inside of the prawn is sweet and succulent, therefore it is vital to fry them quickly at a high temperature and the batter made just before frying…I have done this countless times and each time it always turns out just perfect…For the dipping sauce; 2 cups dashi (if not available, you can substitute fish stock), 2 dried shitaki mushrooms soaked in the dashi or fish stock overnight, about 8 tbsp. light shoyu (japanese soy) 7 tbsp. mirin (if not available…substitute a little sherry or white wine with a pinch of sugar)…Squeeze as much water as you can from the shitakiand put THAT SHITAKI flavoured dashi in a pot together with the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

    For the batter: 1 cup ICE COLD WATER, 1 egg beaten, 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted twice and then left in the refrigerator overnight which is one of key secrets in batter (cold ingredients!)…Stir the icy water into the beaten and SIEVED egg , then sift in the CHILLED FLOUR and LIGHLY FOLDseveral times using chopsticks or fork. IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO STIR IT …BATTER SHOULD STILL BE LUMPY!!!!Now, when ready to fry….Heat plenty of oil…you can use vegetable oil with a little sesame oil …in a wok. Just before frying , raise the oil temperature to 340 degrees F or until a drop of batter floats! It only takes about 2 to 3 minutes to fry the prawns. Serve with a mound of grated dailon(labanos)and grated ginger. A sheet of Papel de Japon is normally placed under he tempura to absorb excess oil. Serve at once with the dipping sauce. Another tip I learned from Tomoko is to make sure that the prawns are thoroughly dried on several sheets of paper towel so the batter will cling to the prawns. There’s nothing more annoying than eating tempura “HUBAD” !!!

  28. MM for years I suffer shrimp allergy last year I actually could eat shrimps without having to suffer nasty allergies. Imagine the joy of re discovering tempura once again…

    PS our crew fished 3 mahi mahi and 1 wahoo….. posted the pics

  29. Oh..I forgot MM to say that if you have leftover tempura batter, it makes really good finger-licking OKOY!!! I grate some squash (using the big holes on box grater), add thinly sliced onions and green onions, add a little atsuete (for color)a pinch of baking powder and salt and pepper to taste and just ENOUGH BATTER to bind it but not swimnming in batter. Then I drop about 1 heaping tablespoon into the hot oil. Remove with slotted spoon and those little nuggets that floats as well….add those little nuggets to NABEYAKI …YUM!!!! OKOY done this way is ever sooo light, and crispy!!!!

  30. betty q THANK YOU THANK YOU for those wonderful tips and recipes…. now I have to go get more shrimp… hmmm…. perfect tempura here I come…

  31. ice cubes

    how come that’s all I use? but like betty q, lumpy batter for me, too!

  32. Back in the 80’s, Saisaki ran an All-you-can-eat for their tempura. I remember some friends from the Ateneo Basketball Team would gobble up some 30+ pcs. at a time. Sometimes up to 40+ pcs. especially after a practice. I never joined. I was happy with my Sushis and makis. Now I love tempura. But when I do order, I usually order the shrimp along with the vegetable tempura.

  33. Oh, and here is the kicker, the origins of tempura are through Portuguese missionaries that landed in Japan in the 16th century, apparently. I was going to go into this on a post on Tempura, but figured I should mention it here… As Japanese as it seems, it started off somewhere else! :)

  34. talk about serendipity. i just received my supply of dashi from my brother-in-law and now, i now what to do with it aside from the usual miso soup made from miso beas paste…i will also definitely try ms betty q’s recipe…sounds very reliable.

  35. Thank you, betty q (copied and printd out ur recipe)!!! This sounds like a goldmine in tempura making! Though am not fond of okoy, the batter sounds perfect for zucchini sticks and other veggies!

  36. Just to clarify guys. There are 2 types of japanese fried shrimp. The one with breadcrumbs is called Ebi Furai and the other the Ebi tempura.

  37. Metro supermarket in Market Market, and Makro sell prawns that have already been prepared for tempura. It means these prawns have already been deveined and scored so that they are guaranteed to be stick-straight when you fry them. They cost around P299 for 30 pieces of shrimp.

  38. wow!!! i absolutely love tempura same as the others on here. i was in gradeschool when we had our weekly ritual of having lunch in Kimpura after Sunday mass. Aside from the teppanyaki steak, we always order ebi tempura. i miss those days!!! the restaurant then had a giveaway of calendars with the different Japanese recipes at the back. that’s where i got the recipe of it. unfortunately, i lost the recipes when i still living in Manila :(

  39. I was playing in my mind about blogging a frightful stressful weekend I just had….

    Then I read this.

    Of course, how can I forget the good lunch that acted as a buffer for the rollercoaster Saturday Sunday.

    Had Uni and Salmon sashimi…and Ebi Tempura :) at Kamameshi QC

  40. Call me a wierdo but I enjoy the veggie tempura more than the shrimp tempura itself!!! I especially love the camote and okra and can eat a whole bandehado of it. Needless to say, I crawl to bed right after and sleep off the tempura OD for about 3 days. LOL!!!

  41. Like much anything deep fried in batter while still piping hot with dipping sauce. Shrimp, camote and kalabasa tempura are the best. Thanks MM for featuring this and betty q thanks a million again for unraveling the secrets of making perfect tempura. betty q your recipe is now my roadmap to successful and crispy tempura.

  42. hi trish,

    i love shrimp tempura but i would want to try your veggie tempera… can you share your recipe with me?


  43. You’re right MM, I don’t think I do know anyone who doesn’t like shrimp tempura! There’s just something homey, comforting and gastronomically fulfilling about foods coated in carbs and deep-fried in fat! HAHA :)

  44. I want to mention one other key ingredient when frying tempura is to use peanut oil. Peanut oil has a higher smoking point than regular vegetable oil allowing for a crispier batter. Keep in mind though that some people might be allergic to food containing peanuts.

  45. I super love Ebi Tempura!! :D i was lucky to have a chef of my friend’s japanese restaurant cook a tempura buffet for my birthday last year. too bad my hubby’s allergic to seafoods =(

  46. Guys, Try eating tempura with fresh lemon and dipped in a little salt, with or without the dipping sauce. Quite good….

  47. Try these tips: Make sure the batter is REAL COLD, set some ice water under the bowl to make sure the batter is cold. For me, I omit the Japanese breadcrumbs. When I prepare the shrimps by dipping it in the batter, I make sure that I get some of the batter on the tips of my fingers because this is essential to imitating the tempura they serve in Japanese restos. When you fry the shrimp, use the batter that got to your hands during prep to swirl around the shrimps that are already frying. This will help you get the “sharp edges” when you fry the tempura.

    Tip when frying: Don’t throw the shrimp in the hot oil right away. Instead, slowly place each shrimp in the hot oil and move it to and fro in the oil to let the batter spread out. I saw this tip on the Food Network while I was in LA, if done correctly, the Tempura would come out just like the ones in Japanese restos

  48. The Young Chef knows what he’s talking about. Great tips. Temperature in both batter and oil is important, but the technique in frying also matters. You can’t just dump in the shrimp. You have to throw it in with forward momentum so that it swims forward, or as The Young Chef says, sprinkle batter to create batter bits so that they adhere to the shrimp. Also, while the regular batter commonly uses an egg, some other versions don’t use egg. Egg is mostly used in Tokyo, but in other parts of the country they don’t use egg. Personally, I don’t like using egg because the coating tends to get soft quicker after frying.

  49. Hi. I also love tempura. My husband likes sashimi. Can anyone teach me how to prepare salmon sashimi? Can I buy the salmon being sold at farmer’s cubao for sashimi?

  50. Back in Zamboanga where seafood is cheap and plentiful, my uncle and grand-uncle made a mini contest one new year’s eve dinner. paramihan ng makakain na sugpo. I was I think 14 or 15 then. I was the winner hands down with 35 full sized jumbo prawns. I think I was ready to give up at 34 pieces…but I ate one more to round it off. My relatives were stunned that I had such unladylike appetite. haha

    Today, here in Manila, I think I’m going to have to blow a substantial chunk of my paycheck if I were to buy 35 jumbo prawns…and most of the ones I have access to are almost always not as sweet, juicy or fresh tasting as the ones back in Zambo.



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