Camaron rebosado is the Filipino version of Japanese shrimp tempura but more often served with sweet and sour sauce.
We don’t eat shrimps too often at home. First, they’re so expensive. Second, for decades I was allergic to crustaceans. When I finally started to overcome my allergy little by little, my younger daughter, Alex, became allergic to shrimps.
Where do we stand now? I can eat shrimps as long as they’re fresh. I still have problems eating shrimps in restaurants. Alex, in her determination not to take decades to overcome her allergy, decided she’d eat two or three shrimps at a time and progress from there.
So, we had camaron rebosado for dinner tonight. Great timing as I finally get a chance to update the recipe I published on April 29, 2009.
Cooking camaron rebosado begins with the proper preparation of the shrimps. Pull off the heads, peel off the shells, slit the back and devein. I have written a comprehensive post about the procedure. Just go and see how to clean, peel and devein shrimp and prawn which, incidentally, includes a short discussion about the difference between prawns and shrimps.
When the shrimps have been cleaned, press them between stacks of paper towels to remove as much moisture as you can. This ensures that the batter will stick to the shrimps rather than slide off them.
A lot of cooks add a beaten egg to the batter — I don’t because combining egg, flour and water results in a bread-like texture that turns crisp only after prolonged frying which is the surest way to overcook the shrimps and turn them dry and rubbery.
I cook camaron rebosado with tapioca starch and ice-cold water. I don’t overmix the batter so that tiny lumps of starch remain. These lumps become really crispy during frying.
What are the signs of well-cooked camaron rebosado?
1. The shrimps are moist and juicy. Never rubbery and dry which they become with overcooking.
2. The batter should be light and crisp — thick enough to coat the shrimps but thin enough to let you see the natural color of the shrimps through it.
If you can’t see the shrimps anymore, the batter is too thick. You might as well be serving fried starch garnished with minuscule shrimps. We see this kind of trick in not-so-good restaurants. They use small shrimps which are cheaper then triple dip them in batter to make them appear larger on the plate. This is home cooking. We don’t do cheap tricks like that.
- Remove the heads and shells of the shrimps, leaving the tails on — not for decoration but to making dipping in the batter easier.
- Slit the backs of each shrimp and remove the black vein that runs through it length. This is the shrimp’s digestive system that contains its waste and you really don’t want to ingest it.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
Pat the shrimps dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
- In a wide shallow bowl, place 1/4 c. of starch.
In a mixing bowl, place the remaining starch and ice cold water. Mix lightly.
Holding a shrimp by the tail, dredge in flour then dip in batter until well coated.
Carefully drop into the hot oil. Repeat and cook the shrimps in batches of four to six. This is a very short frying method. If the temperature of the oil is right, the coating should turn lightly golden and crisp in less than three minutes by which time the shrimps should be cooked through.
- Drain the fried shrimps on paper towels.
- Serve the camaron rebosado imeddiately with sweet chili sauce on the side.
This is an updated version of my camaron rebosado recipe published in April 29, 2009.