Full disclosure, this is really a cooking 101 post. The super simple technique used here also works perfectly for chicken nuggets or strips!
I’m a pretty huge fan of almost anything fried. I love sprinkling salt on freshly fried chicken, potatoes, tempura veggies, you get the idea, and dipping it in the nearest savory sauce. Last weekend I found myself with a little girl asking for one of her all time favorites… buffalo chicken wings. I’m going to just come out and say it, I didn’t feel like going to the store to get chicken wings because I was feeling lazy and also I was in my yoga pants with no makeup which surely would have meant I would have ran into at least a dozen people I knew. Thankfully, I did have some frozen shrimp and I just knew that they would do the trick.
There are so many ways you can make shrimp delicious. From a simple cornstarch to a heavy beer batter, shrimp hold a batter well and because they don’t take long to cook, are super easy to fry. My favorite way to fry shrimp is inspired by a Japanese restaurant I was a server at during a summer while I was on break from college. I would probably rate myself as a solid “B-” as a server. I couldn’t remember an order if my life depended on it so I had to write everything down, unlike those show-off servers that go around huge tables taking everyone’s order from memory. I also never charged people for extra ginger with their sushi, which was supposed to be $.25, because I thought the idea of charging a quarter was ridiculous. As you can see, I’m one to really live on the edge.
But back to the shrimp. At the restaurant, we prepared this shrimp similarly to my below recipe to insert into a sushi roll. For that, you don’t want curled up shrimp, you want it as straight as possible so that the roll is even. The shrimp can also be prepared this way for most anything, on a rice bowl, in a shrimp taco, or as buffalo shrimp. You can easily leave the shrimp in their natural curl as well, but I like to lightly pound out the bottoms to allow for more surface area for the delicious panko.
For this shrimp, I do a simple 3 step process using bowls of flour, egg and panko. I season each of the three bowls separately, depending on what kind dish I’ll be serving them in. For the buffalo shrimp I just used salt and pepper, since the sauce is so flavorful. If I was putting the shrimp in shrimp tacos I might add some cumin or chili powder. If I’m making a fried shrimp rice bowl, I might add five-spice powder. For inserting into a sushi roll, I like to just keep it simple with salt and pepper.
If you’d like to make a simple buffalo sauce for your shrimp, just combine a scoop of mayo with some franks and a bit of lemon juice or rice vinegar. Keep adding franks until it’s as spicy as you’d like. Or in our case, until you’re at the point where you are sweating profusely while eating.
This simple fried shrimp recipe is perfect for shrimp rice bowls, rolling into a sushi roll, making shrimp tacos or like us, buffalo shrimp!
Shrimp – 1 lb – peeled and deveined – I like to use jumbo or extra jumbo
Flour – 1.5 cups
Eggs – 3
Panko – 2 cups
Salt and Pepper or whatever spice you’d like!
Vegetable or other frying oil – 2 cups
Using a mallet or other hard, flat surface, softly pound down the thick end of the shrimp until they are fairly flat. You must be gentle while doing this, as shrimp pieces can easily break off. Repeat with all shrimp.
Using three medium sized bowls, add flour to one, panko to another and in the third the three eggs with a couple tablespoons of water, beaten. Season all three bowls with salt and pepper.
In a large sided heavy pan, add oil until it is approximately 3 inches high. You want to be sure the shrimp have enough room to float around. Set temperature to medium. To test the temperature, throw a couple pieces of panko into the oil. If the panko immediately bubbles and floats to the top, the oil is ready. If the panko sinks, wait longer or turn up the temperature slightly.
Once the oil is ready, dip the shrimp into the flour so it is fully coated. Next, dip into the beaten egg then finally into the panko. Gently drop the shrimp into the oil and fry, turning occasionally, for approximately 1-2 minutes, until the outside is a nice brown. Do not add too many shrimp to the pan as it will get crowded and affect the oil temperature. I usually only fry 3 shrimp at a time. Remove from oil and set onto a paper towel to dry. Repeat with all shrimp and enjoy!