Here’s the thing with popcorn shrimp: I love it as much as anyone loves eating buckets of battered, deep-fried shrimp at your local Chili’s/Boston Pizza/mid-range restaurant chain, but popcorn shrimp is tasteless. I often think, am I really eating shrimp? Or am I eating batter that tastes like cardboard, dipped in an outrageously sweet neon orange sauce?
Lots of people like fried shrimp, and Filipinos do too. Marinating shrimp in cane vinegar, garlic and a few twists of pepper does wonders for how the shrimp taste when you finally dunk them in batter and dip them in hot oil to fry. I promise you will never look back, and unfortunately will now probably pass on another commonly eaten form of fried shrimp - the ones that come with a Chinese take-out combo.
Nastasha's Camaron Rebosado
This recipe for battered, deep-fried shrimp is adapted from "Let's Cook With Nora".
500 g shrimp (de-veined and shelled, tail-on)
3 cups vegetable oil
1/3 cup cane vinegar
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
1 egg (beaten)
Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a medium bowl. Add shrimp and mix well to ensure all the pieces of shrimp are coated with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap, then set aside. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
When the timer rings, pour the oil into the pot and attach the candy thermometer. Place the pot over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350 F (this should take about 15-20 minutes).
While the shrimp continues to marinate, prepare the batter. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients: salt, pepper, baking powder and flour. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine wet ingredients: water, milk and egg. Whisk well.
Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Keep whisking until it becomes smooth and has the consistency of thick pancake batter. Set aside.
Drain shrimps and discard the marinade.
Once the oil reaches 350 F, take a piece of shrimp (hold it by the tail) and dunk it into the batter until fully coated on all sides. Let the excess batter drip for a second or two. With your clean hand, grab the tongs and carefully, slowly lower the shrimp into the oil. Repeat 5 or 6 times for one batch. Do not fry more than 6 pieces of shrimp at a time to avoid crowding the pot!
When the shrimp turn golden brown, about 4 minutes, remove and transfer to a cooling rack or plate lined with paper towels.
Allow the oil to come back up to temperature before frying another batch. It will likely take about 4-5 batches to fry 500 g of shrimp.
Equipment: candy thermometer, a deep and heavy-bottomed pot, 2 medium bowls, 1 small bowl, wire whisk, tongs, cooling rack/paper towels