EBI FURAI (ebi fry, Japanese fried shrimp, for six)
Ebi furai is a popular yoshoku dish in Japan. Yoshoku is a dish adapted from western cuisine by Japanese during the Meiji Restoration, from 1868 to the early 1900s. Other yoshoku include kare raisu (curry rice), hambagu (Japanese hamburger steak), tonkatsu (pork cutlet) and korokke (croquette), among many others. Ebi furai is a common offering in Japanese bento (or lunch) boxes.
For the tonkatsu sauce:
1 tablespoon ketchup
2-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1-1/8 teaspoons sugar
For the shrimp:
18 extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined, leaving the last segment of the shell and the tail intact
potato or corn starch
2 tablespoons sake
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko
oil for deep frying
- Make the tonkatsu sauce. Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well blended. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Prepare the shrimp. Make a couple of slits on the underside of each shrimp and bend it backwards to straighten it (this is intended to prevent the shrimp from curling when it hits the hot oil). Sprinkle the shrimp with cornstarch (to absorb the smell and any dirt on the shrimp), then rinse under cold running water. Put the shrimp into a small bowl, add sake and allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
- Fry the shrimp. Season the shrimp to taste with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour, then in beaten egg. Return to flour and dredge again, and then repeat the egg dip. Finally, dredge in the panko, and shake off any excess.
- Heat oil in a deep heavy skillet (Fill to about ½ inch depth — 2 cups of oil for a 10 inch skillet, 3 cups for a 12 inch skillet — DO NOT increase the amount of oil. Hot oil will bubble up, sometimes dramatically, when the shrimp are dropped in. If it overflows the skillet and makes contact with the flame below, your kitchen will be on fire.)
- When the oil reaches 350*, transfer the shrimp to the skillet in batches of about eight at a time, using a slotted spoon. (Resist the temptation to make larger batches. More shrimp will reduce the heat of the oil and the shrimp will stick together and not cook properly. More shrimp also increases the chance of an oil overflow.) Fry, turning the shrimp as they brown, until they’re evenly golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch.
- Transfer shrimp to a wire rack or a tray lined with paper towels to drain excess oil. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the temperature at about 350 and repeat the process until all the shrimp have been fried, scooping bread crumbs from the oil between batches to prevent burning.
adapted from Namiko Chen, Just One Cookbook