Fried shrimp is something I gravitate to on any restaurant menu; however, so many restaurants execute this dish poorly. Too many establishments feature dense cakey breading and dried-out shrimp. However, when fried shrimp are done well, they are an absolute pleasure to eat.
We are particularly drawn to the Japanese execution of fried shrimp, for which they use Japanese Panko breadcrumbs, containing air-pockets, which create a light, airy crunch with each bite. We also use a simple egg wash and only a light coating of flour to avoid that cakiness, from which too many fried shrimp recipes suffer. Moreover, we pinpoint the cooking time to ensure that the shrimp are cooked but remain plump and juicy inside.
Finally, we dip them in a non-traditional but wildly delicious mango-habanero dipping sauce with a splash of lime juice and freshly grated ginger. So, dive in below to experience the best fried shrimp in town!
The Origin of Panko Fried Shrimp
Panko (which means “bread child” in Japanese) are breadcrumbs that originated in Japan. They are light and airy. Additionally, they create a crispy yet fluffy texture, comparable to cornflakes, as one crunches into them.
The history of Panko’s inception is unclear, but there appear to be two leading theories:
- One explains that bread and the technique of frying in oil were introduced to Japan by the Portuguese between the 15th and 17th century, which prompted the country’s use of Panko for battering and frying a range of meats and shellfish.
- Another theory explains Panko was created when World War II Japanese soldiers were forced to make bread using the electric currents from a tank’s batteries, which produced an airiness in the bread’s quality. This discovery led to creating breadcrumbs with this type of bread.
Regardless of its origin, its unique quality makes it a prevalent ingredient in Japanese cuisine today, from Tomkatsu fried pork to Panko fried shrimp.
How to Peel, Devein, and Butterfly, the Shrimp
Before frying the shrimp, be sure to peel, clean, devein, and butterfly the shrimp. To peel the shrimp, use scissors to cut along the middle back of the shell, and use your hands to peel it away from the shrimp’s body. Keep the tail intact if you prefer to plate the shrimp with their tails. Alternatively, remove the tails if you prefer to eat the entire fried shrimp in one bite.
Deveining the shrimp is simply removing the shrimp’s digestive tract before cooking it. The digestive tract is a long visible black line down the spine of the shrimp. Use a paring knife to scrape it from the spine of the shrimp.
Finally, cut a long slit along the spine of the shrimp to butterfly it. The technique of butterflying allows the shrimp to cook more evenly and creates a more attractive presentation.
Still unsure of how to peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp? Allow Emeril Lagasse to show you the steps in this video.
How to Make an Egg Wash
To fry the shrimp, begin by whisking together an egg wash. When the shrimp are dipped into an egg wash, the Panko breadcrumbs will stick more easily to the shrimp’s body. To make an egg wash, whisk together the following ingredients:
How to Make Fried Shrimp
To make fried shrimp, heat the oil in a sufficiently deep frying pan. For this process, use high-heat oil. We use grapeseed oil for our recipe, which can be safely heated to 420 degrees Fahrenheit (216 degrees Celsius). Ensure a 1/2-inch of the frying pan is filled with oil. Turn the stovetop to medium-high heat to ensure the oil does not heat too quickly. Use a thermometer to gauge the temperature.
When the oil reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 degrees Celsius), add the shrimp to the hot oil. Turn the heat on the stovetop to medium to hold the heat steady at this temperature.
It is important not to crowd the shrimp during the frying process. So, cook the shrimp in batches, if necessary. Cook the shrimp for 30 seconds on either side until crispy and golden brown. Place them onto a paper-towel-lined plate once cooked.
Tips for Frying Panko Shrimp
- Use large shrimp such as 21/25 or 26/30 per pound if the shrimp are purchased without the heads and shells. If the shrimp you buy have heads and shells, purchase U12 or U15 in size. The “U” means “under,” so “U12” means “under 12 shrimp per pound,” and “U15” means “under 15 shrimp per pound.”
- Dip the shrimp into the flour mixture, and then the egg wash. Finally, roll the shrimp in the Panko breadcrumbs.
- Use your fingers to pack the Panko onto the shrimp’s body to ensure they are well-coated in Panko.
- The Panko will clump together with the egg wash during the dipping and breading processes, leaving you with sticky Panko that does not coat the shrimp well. Accordingly, we recommend using 2-3 plates with a shallow mound of Panko breadcrumbs to avoid this issue.
- Fry 5-7 shrimp at one time to ensure the shrimp are not crowded in the frying pan. Then, fry the next 5-7 shrimp, and so on until all shrimp are fried.
Reheating and Storage
Store fried shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consume them for up to 4 days. To reheat them, place them on a baking sheet and warm them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) for 10-15 minutes. You may also reheat them in the microwave for 1 minute at 70%. However, the oven method will ensure they retain their crispy and crunchy texture.
Visit your local liquor store and request a bottle featuring these characteristics to find the perfect pair.
- Color: white
- Notes: lemon-peel, stone fruit, lemon zest, minerality, sour cream, sour milk
- Geography: old world
- Structure: medium to full-bodied, medium acidity, aged in oak
Love Your Leftovers
Extra Fried Shrimp?
Extra Mango-Habanero Sauce?
Purge Your Fridge
You just finished munching on our fried shrimp with mango-habanero sauce, and you are left with the following excess ingredients:
- Habanero Pepper
Try these Spiced Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce and garnish with pickled habanero.
Fried Shrimp with Mango-Habanero Dipping Sauce
- 1 lb. shrimp
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup flour
- 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil fill the pan with oil so that 1/2-inch of oil sits in the pan
- 2 tsp salt
- ground pepper
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp sugar
Mango Habanero Dipping Sauce
- 0.85 oz. mango diced
- 1/2 habanero pepper finely diced
- 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 thumb ginger grated
- 2 tbsp yogurt
- 1/4 tsp salt
Prepare Herbs and the Shrimp
- Finely chop the cilantro.
- Peel, clean, and devein the shrimp.
- Cut the spine of the shrimp halfway through the flesh to butterfly the shrimp.
- Dry the shrimp well.
Pickle the Habanero Pepper
- Clean and finely dice the habanero pepper.
- Combine apple cider vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a saucepan.
- Place the saucepan on the stovetop at high heat. Boil for 3 minutes or until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, and pour the pickling liquid into a mixing bowl over the diced habanero peppers.
- Allow it to sit for 20 minutes.
Prepare the Dipping Station
- Whisk together eggs and milk. Generously season with ground pepper.
- Pour Panko breadcrumbs on a plate.
- Fill a bowl with flour. Generously season with salt and ground pepper.
Drudge the Shrimp with Eggs, Flour, and Panko
- Coat each shrimp with flour.
- Then, dip each shrimp into the egg mixture.
- Finally, coat each shrimp generously with Panko breadcrumbs.
Prepare the Mango Habanero Sauce
- Grate the ginger, and dice the mango. Set aside.
- Combine diced mango, grated ginger, lime juice, and yogurt into a food processor. Blend until smooth.
- Stir in salt, chopped cilantro, and pickled diced habanero.
Fry the Shrimp
- Fill a cast-iron skillet with grapeseed oil so that the oil fills 1/2-inch of the pan.
- Heat the oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 degrees Celsius).
- Add the shrimp (in batches) to the hot oil. Cook for exactly 30 seconds on each side.
- Add the cooked shrimp to a paper towel-lined plate. Allow the shrimp to cool for 5 minutes.
- Serve fried shrimp with mango habanero dipping sauce.
- Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and finishing salt.