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Shrimp tempura featured image

Crispy Japanese Shrimp Tempura (海老天)

  • Author: Yuto Omura
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 10 shrimp 1x


How to make a small batch of light and crispy shrimp tempura (ebi ten). Makes 10.


  • 10 large shrimp (Japanese tiger, black tiger or white legged)
  • 100ml cold water
  • 50ml sparkling water
  • 15g potato starch or corn starch
  • 75g weak flour (cake flour or all purpose) + extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise (or half a small whisked egg)
  • 2 ice cubes (optional)
  • Oil for frying (vegetable, canola, peanut or white sesame)


  1. Measure out 100ml of water into a jug and place it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Place sparkling water in the fridge too. (Preferably an unopened bottle.)
  2. Sift 15g potato starch and 75g cake flour into a bowl. Mix them together and place the bowl in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  3. While your tempura batter ingredients are chilling, prepare your shrimp. Remove the shells and veins (see in post for how) but leave the tails intact.
  4. Place the prawns in a bowl with 2 pinches of salt and 1 tsp of corn starch and rub them over the surface of the prawns.
  5. Once evenly covered, wash the shrimp under cold running water to rinse off the salt and corn starch.
  6. Dry them with kitchen paper and transfer to a chopping board.
  7. Place the shrimp on its side and with the tail folded in half and trim it diagonally. The pointy tip should be cut off and be the shorter part of the diagonal. (This stops oil from splattering out when it's frying and it looks nicer too!)
  8. Turn the prawn so the belly is facing up, and make diagonal incisions along the whole body. The incisions should be about 1cm apart and go about ½ way through the prawn.
  9. Once 30 minutes have passed, start preheating your oil to 180-190°C (355-375°F).
  10. In a bowl (or jug), add a few tbsp of the chilled water and 1/2 tbsp of mayonnaise. Mix until well combined, this loosens up the mayo. (Alternatively, whisk a small egg in a separate bowl and add half to the water instead.)
  11. Pour the rest of the chilled water and 50ml of chilled sparkling water into the bowl.
  12. Add the flour/starch one third at a time, gently drawing crosses through the mixture with the chopsticks to incorporate it. (Do not whisk or over mix.)
  13. Test your oil by adding a drop of batter, if it sizzles and floats you're ready to fry.
  14. Add a couple of ice cubes to the batter and mix to make it extra cold. (optional)
  15. Dry the shrimps with a paper towel and coat them thin layer of flour.
  16. Dip them in the batter and then carefully place them into the oil. Make sure not to overfill the pot. (Keep the batter in the fridge between batches.)
  17. Fry for about 2 minutes or until crispy but before they turn golden.
  18. Once cooked, place on a wire rack to allow the excess oil to drip off.
  19. Serve and enjoy!


This recipe makes a small batch and uses mayonnaise instead of eggs. If you want to use egg, whisk the egg in a separate bowl and use half. For bigger batches, see my tempura batter recipe here.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Deep frying
  • Cuisine: Japanese

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