Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura

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This month's Cooks Illustrated included a recipe for the perfect shrimp tempura. The secret ingredient was a cup of vodka in the batter. This ensured that the batter stayed light and airy from the first batch until the last.

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In addition to the shrimp, we had button mushrooms, onion rings, and sweet potatoes.

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The shrimp and veggies turned out perfectly. The batter was light and crisp.

Shrimp Tempura

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs of deveined and peeled shrimp, with tail
  • 1 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of cornstarch
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup of vodka
  • 1 cup of seltzer water
  • pinch of salt
  • vegetable oil for frying
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Directions

Fill a heavy bottomed saucepan 2-3 inches full of vegetable oil, fitted with a thermometer. Heat pan over medium high heat, until the temperature reaches 385 F, then make the tempura batter.

Mix together flour, cornstarch and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the flour mixture. In a large measuring cup, measure the seltzer water and vodka, add the lightly beaten egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Combine until just a few lumps remain. Once the oil has reached 400 F, add half of the shrimp to the tempura mixture to coat. Place the tempura coated shrimp in the hot oil carefully. Fry for 3-4 minutes and remove from oil. Add second batch of shrimp to the batter and repeat. Shrimp can be kept crisp on a cooling rack placed over a sheet plan in a 200 F oven. This recipe makes ample tempura batter, so feel free to dip and fry any vegetables or proteins you have on hand. Cooking times will vary though.

Cooks included a recipe for a ginger-soy dipping sauce that turned out nicely.

Ginger-Soy Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of mirin
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 finely minced garlic clove
  • 3 teaspoons of finely minced ginger
  • 1 chopped scallion

Directions

Combine all ingredients and serve alongside the tempura shrimp and vegetables.

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Here's the finished product. There were four of us, and we polished it all off. I'd say it was a success!