Fortunately for me, I had the opportunity to watch and assist a Sushi chef in her kitchen. I watched attentively, stealing tricks of the trade in a subtle manner. *sneaky grin*:P
Tempura flour is available from most Asian supermarkets and is commonly sold in the "Add water" variation so there shouldn't be too many complications of any sort there.
Some may wonder, "How much water?". I would reply; "It's in the feel of the hand" Haha....try to get the batter consistency into the feel of crepe batter, a milkshake left out too long or maybe beaten egg yolks if thats easier to picture. From my very inaccurate eye, I would say I had 1 cup of water to almost 1/3 cup flour. It really depends on the brand as well.
Here are a couple of pointers with the prawns:
- Always use large fresh prawns (Banana prawns or Tiger prawns work best with tempura). It's okay if they are frozen; as long as you are certain that they were frozen "fresh" and not left out for too long before the fishmongers packed them away in to the freezer.
- Dunk the prawns in cold running water to wash/peel them if they have not been shelled. Leave the little tail bit of shell on.
- Turn prawns curled up on the chopping board; *sorta like a smiley face facing up* and make gentle slits of 2 cm increments along the whole body of the prawn.
- Flip the prawn over and lie flat on the chopping board. Working from tail to end; gently press down with fingers close to each other to create a long flat, fragile piece of shrimp meat.
- Always coat your prawns well in the flour to allow the batter to stick. Remember the tiny crevices between slits. Be gentle, the prawns break easily at this point.
- Add water to the unused flour and heat the oil in the fryer.
- Fry the prawns in HOT oil. To test if the oil is ready, shake a couple grains of salt into the oil. The oil is ready when you hear a sharp sizzling noise. They should be fried very quickly and not left in for too long. Prawns do not take too long to be overdone.
- The pictures taken here were made for a very homely family-type lunch, but if you would to have extravagant looking prawns with sprays of batter and butterfly battered prawns, try flicking a pair of chopsticks dipped in batter of the hot oil. You should get beautiful sprays of crisp batter to coat the prawns. It makes them appear larger and more heroic~ Haha..try assembling the prawns on the platter with these crisp bits too. Scope them out and drain excess oil on a paper towel.
*sigh* I wish I lived close to a fish market....I would make more seafood If I drove. LOL