How to Make Shrimp Tempura Sushi

Tempura style maki (rolls) are exceptional. Battered or fried fish or veggies with sushi rice as a buffer can be an incredible introduction to the concept of raw food items. The shrimp tempura sushi has crispy shrimp, cucumber, and avocado in sushi rice and seaweed roll.

To make shrimp tempura sushi at home, first, make your rice vinegar seasoning. Next, cook your savory sticky sushi rice. After that, make your tempura batter, and fry your shrimp. Use your sushi rice and shrimp tempura to make a sushi roll.

Shrimp tempura sushi is not only an excellent beginner sushi meal but is easy to make at home. This article will guide you through the entire process. It will outline pertinent sushi cooking topics such as:

  • How to choose the best rice variety for sushi
  • How to prepare classic sushi rice
  • How to make your sushi rice seasoning at home
  • Tips about making excellent shrimp tempura

The History of Sushi

Japan, the home of sushi, holds sushi in high esteem. Perhaps you have read about Kiyoshi Kimura, who paid 333.6 million yen ($3,253,275) for 278kg (613 lbs) of bluefin tuna? The proprietor of Sushi Zanmai chain, Mr. Kimura made the outrageous purchase to prove to the world that his sushi bars serve only the best, fresh, and tastiest of sushi eats.

Mr. Kimura’s act may seem odd to the rest of the world but not to the Japanese. Here sushi is king. They regard these tiny mounds of vinegary rice, seafood, and seaweed so highly that they will pay any price for the best.

To them, sushi is a meal that you revel in, not wolf down. It is an art for special occasions, which has taken over the world. You will find it surprising the almighty sushi has a very humble beginning. The history of this sophisticated meal whose enjoyment is a sign of good taste starts in the early third century BC.

Its birthplace is the Mekong river paddy rice fields alongside modern-day Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Fishing farmers would use glutinous rice to slow down the catch’s decay. They would gut and rub their fish with salt, then leave it to dry in a barrel for a few weeks. 

To preserve it for longer, they would scrape off the salt and pack their dehydrated fish with rice. Placing the fish in barrels, they would weigh it down with heavy stones and leave it to rest for months. The anaerobic fermentation would turn the rice’s sugars into acids, but they only ate the pungent, tasty fish back then.

Wars and conquest brought this preservation method to Japan and China, and nare-sushi or salted fish sushi was born. It was back then a poor man’s meal for rice farmers, but it soon gained prominence. The Japanese fermented the fish for shorter periods to cut down on its rank smell.

This process left the rice tart instead of sour. It went well with the fish and had the perfect flavor. Soon, the cooks were making rice vinegar transforming the Japanese palates to acetic. Even pickles and vegetables would have hints of vinegar.

Over time, the Japanese did away with the fermentation process since they had plenty of salt-water fish. In the 17th century, fast sushi (haya zushi) came to be. Sushi rice made with vinegar complemented by cured or cooked fish swept over Japan’s cities.

The literal meaning of the word sushi is “sour-tasting.” Sushi rice is sticky and has a sour and savory or umami taste. As seen, the Japanese love their sushi. The condition of the sticky vinegared rice is one of their primary concerns. It can make or break your sushi dish.

How to Make Excellent Sushi Rice

Sushi is an all season’s kind of food. It is a perfect dish for date nights and birthdays. It is not only beautiful to look at but is low in calories. The aura of most sushi bars is exceptional.

That said, the cost of good sushi could eat into your pocket. If you love sushi and want affordable healthy sushi at home, start with the shrimp tempura roll. The very first step that you need to master is the art of making sushi rice.

Sushi rice is the hero ingredient in Japanese style sushi. Vinegared rice is not only the base food for the best makizushi or rolled sushi, but it is the building block of other Japanese dishes. As an illustration, it makes the best inari sushi.

Inari sushi or inarizushi is a sweet Japanese snack made by wrapping sushi rice in deep-fried tofu skin. To make it more savory, you can add seaweed or vegetables. The quality of your sushi rice has a significant effect on the quality of your shrimp tempura sushi. 

You need to make your sticky rice as authentic as possible. You can make your rice on your stovetop, Instant Top, or Japanese rice cooker. To start, you will need to buy the best rice variety for your sushi.

Which Is the Best Rice Variety for Sushi Rice?

Most western rice dishes call for long-grain rice. Sushi rice is different. You need Japanese short-grain rice to make the best-vinegared rice. The best rice for sushi is the super-premium grade Japonica variety. In its absence, the medium-grain will do.

To make sushi rice, you will need to boil it to perfection and then add a mixture of sugar, vinegar, and salt while it is still hot. Fan it to cool it down as you season it for a fluffy but firm, shiny sheen rice dish.

Some cooks make the mistake of using any Asian origin rice for sushi. Most rice varieties from the region surrounding Japan are hardly glutinous, as they need to be for sushi-grade rice. There are many types of rice varieties out there. If you are going to use Japanese short-grain, white rice, go for the following:

Uruchumai, a popular Japonica rice variety. It has a sticky texture, and you can easily eat it with a chopstick. It is the grain behind the popular sake.

Mochigome, another Japonica grain, is more glutinous. It is perfect for mochi or rice cakes. It has a chewy texture.

Koshihikari is the most popular and choice of rice variety in Japan. The Koshihikri from the Niigata Prefecture’s Uonoma ara is the most pricy variety in the island country. There is now the US and Australian grown Koshihikaru.

Calrose is a California rice variety. It is sticky on cooking and has a creamy, tender texture. Calrose results from the 19th-century gold rush that brought in Asian immigrants to the US by droves. With rice as a dietary staple, some not so successful gold miners turned to rice farming. The California variety is a medium grain, not short.

Pro Tips When Choosing the Best Rice for Shrimp Tempura Sushi

Do not buy even the best super premium grade Japonica if it is too old. The prime age for sushi rice is between half a year to a year. You can push the limit to 13 months old rice, but the Japanese like to keep their sushi rice “Shinmai.”

They ask the seller for Shinmai rice or the current year’s crop whenever they go to the grocer. They will stock up on harvested mature and dry rice 6 months after the fall harvest and pile it up for their sushi rice needs.

Such rice is perfectly dry and only needs an equal measure of water for each cup of rice. Rice that is older than one year hardens and requires more water to cook it. For this reason, the results of such rice are difficult to gauge. For consistency of results, use Shinmai rice.

Sushi rice and Arborio rice may look similar in size, shape, and stickiness level when you cook them. Nevertheless, Arborio is suitable for your risotto and not sushi. As it matures, the Arborio grain will deform, attaining a toothy firm center when cooked. Therefore, it is always al dente, which does not bode well for your shrimp tempura sushi.

How Do You Make Rice Vinegar?

Rice vinegar is a very common seasoning in Asian food. You will practically find it in use in every Asian cooking show on TV. You can purchase your bottle of rice vinegar at your local grocery store if they have it.

Most stores hardly stock it unless they have other Asian origin food items. Store-bought sushi vinegar is not only hard to come by, but it could have other additives beyond the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Since it is easy to make it at home, you can make a fresh batch in minutes for your shrimp tempura sushi.

What Is Rice Vinegar?

Rice vinegar is a product of fermented rice. Rice wine for sushi rice works just as well, though. Rice vinegar from Japan has a classic mellow and light taste seasoning and is made by master brewers. In sushi rice, it delivers a crisp fragrance and mild taste. 

Add some salt and sugar for a savory flavor, and you will have the perfect complement to fish, veggies, and rice. Fermented Japanese rice vinegar is a product of two stages. Initially, brewers will make rice wine or sake from the fermentation of rice grains.

The sake is alcoholic, so if taken a step further, it can produce acetic acid or vinegar. The Japanese brew for their sake in midwinter. The cool environmental temperatures are perfect for fermentation. They will first steam the recent autumn harvest rice.

The classic brewers will later add acetic acid bacteria to the sake and allow the fermentation process to go on for four months while ensuring the aeration of the product. Modern breweries can speed up this process and have rice vinegar ready in days, so the traditional rice vinegar is declining.

Are There Varieties of Rice Vinegar?

Rice vinegar is a common condiment in Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cuisine. There are, therefore, various styles of rice vinegar in the market. Their strengths and iterations vary as per their region of origin.

Japanese rice vinegar is mild in taste if you contrast it to balsamic or malt vinegar. It has a 4% to 5% acidity rate while other kinds of vinegar go as high as 8%. Like most white rice vinegar, its tang is unobtrusive, and it is a multi-use product.

Seasoned rice vinegar is a combination of white rice vinegar and sugar. Sometimes, its manufacturers can add MSG for flavoring. This brand of vinegar brightens sushi rice.

Brown rice vinegar has brown rice as its base grain. It has a toasty color and has a mild taste. It has more nutrients and can adequately replace its white rice counterpart.

Black rice vinegar is a fantastic dipping sauce. Brewers extract it from a blend of grains and black glutinous rice. Some grain combinations that give it its rich umami flavor include sorghum and wheat.

Red rice vinegar is sour, slightly stinky vinegar. It is a product of a blend of grains and rice that have gone through a fermentation process similar to that of black rice vinegar.

Are There Substitutes For Rice Vinegar in Sushi Making?

According to Masterclass, apple cider vinegar can work as a substitute for rice vinegar. That said, apple cider vinegar is more acidic and has a cloudy look. You can, however, prepare it and give it an adequate sweet and sour ratio for sushi. In the absence of rice vinegar, you can also use champagne and white wine vinegar. Their flavor profile is like that of rice vinegar.

Ingredients

To make rice vinegar at home, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup of rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Instructions

Pour your rice vinegar, oil, salt, and sugar into a small saucepan. Cook the mixture on medium heat until all the sugar liquefies. Stir the seasoning into your sushi rice while hot.

How to Make Classic Sushi or Vinegared Rice

With your Calrose, Mochigome, Uruchumai, or Koshihikari rice at hand, it is time to have some fun in your kitchen. However, first things first, which is the best cooking process for sushi rice? Are the results from the oven top as well as those of the Japanese rice cooker?

Can you use your Instant Top electric multi cooker? The modern multicooker and the oven top have one great advantage over the rice cooker; they are multi-use function kitchen appliances. As an illustration, you can make the perfect ribs falling off the bone in your Instant Top in record time.

Unlike the classic stove or slow cooker, the electric multi-cooker makes a quick dinner with minimum fuss. You can use your countertop multi-cooker to saute, slow cook, warm, air-fry, steam, or make yogurt and porridge. The multi-cooker is a pressure cooker that is an amazing set-it-and-go type of device.

It will let your rice simmer at the perfect temperature every time. Unlike rice cooked on the traditional oven top, you do not have to watch over your rice, raise and lower your temperature by hand.

Having said that, rice is such a staple meal in the lives of the Japanese that they have amazing rice cookers to make the best rice with. These rice cookers might appear single-use exorbitant devices, but they have so many sophisticated features that they produce the perfect sushi rice every time.

Load them with your rice, water hit the start button, and you are free. The machine will cook your sushi according to sushi rice settings for the perfect sticky, fluffy, and shiny rice. If you want a no-hassle sushi rice cooking experience, use a Japanese rice cooker if you want the best results.

Essential Kitchen Items Needed to Make Sushi Rice

The Hangiri or wooden tub is a classic Japanese rice-cooking item that goes by the name of Handai or sushi oke as well. The hangiri has a flat bottom and is shallow, perfect for the rapid cooling and seasoning of rice. Before using the wooden tub, soak it in water to keep all your rice from sticking to it. 

In its absence, use a glass or ceramic mixing bowl. The vinegar seasoning is acidic, so do not use any metallic items when flavoring your rice. To spread the rice using a wooden spatula.

You will need a bamboo sushi mat or makisu for rolling your maki. The mat is an excellent alternative for freehand rolling, making the whole process much more manageable. The makisu can be thin or thick as per the bamboo piece’s size.

The thin version is easier for the rolling process. The mat makers use cotton strings to bind the stocks together. In their place, use a synthetic mat. Clean, dry, and air your mats after use to keep them bacteria and fungi-free.

The uchiwa or Japanese fan helps cool the rice rapidly, giving it an attractive sheen.

How Much Rice Do You Need for Your Shrimp Tempura Sushi Rolls?

A standard sushi roll is 21 cm (8 inches) long. It has a width of 5 cm (2 inches). The classic nori or seaweed size is 19 cm (7.5 inches) by 21 cm (8 inches). A cup of ready to roll sushi rice has a 150 g (5 oz) weight. To make a standard full-size maki, you will need one and a half cups of sushi rice. 

A Sushi Rice Recipe

Ingredients

Serving four to six persons, you will only need:

  • 3 cups short or medium-grain white glutinous rice
  • 3 cups of water

Instructions

To make sushi rice:

  1. Place your rice in a bowl. Rinse it a few times till the water clears out the rice starch.
  2. Place your clean rice in the rice cooker’s cooking pan.
  3. Add 3 cups of water. If your rice cooker has appropriate water level markings, use them instead.
  4. Cook your rice under the sushi setting.
  5. When the rice is ready, pour it out into a hangiri.
  6. Pour your rice vinegar seasoning over it and mix both items using a spatula.
  7. Pro sushi rice making tips
  8. Mix the seasoning into the rice while it is hot
  9. Do not squish the rice with the spatula when folding in the seasoning. “Cut” into it to preserve its texture.
  10. Fan the rice as you briskly fold in the seasoning.
  11. Keep fanning it until it looks glossy and down to room temperature.
  12. Do not store your rice in the fridge before the shrimp tempura sushi roll formation. Cover it with a wet and clean kitchen cloth instead to keep it moist.

Is Shrimp Tempura Sushi Cooked? 

Tempura is a staple of Japanese dishes and is delicious and easy to love. It has a signature Japanese flavor and is very popular around the world. To make tempura, you will need to lightly batter your shrimp then fry it.

You can also make vegetable tempura. Tempura foods have a non-greasy, crispy characteristic that makes it the perfect filing for your sushi rolls.

How to Make Tempura Batter

You will find most shrimp tempura ingredients at your local grocery store. When making the batter, you will need to make it as light as the Japanese do. This way, your shrimp tempura will bloom to a light crispy flower for your sushi rolls.

Of note, when making the tempura batter, it differs from other batters. The common ingredients for Japanese tempura batter are flour, cold water, and a beaten egg. There are no breadcrumbs in the tempura process.

Ingredients

  • 1 volume water + egg
  • 1 volume flour

Tips

  • Your water, flour, and egg should be cold to ensure that the batter does not absorb excess oil.
  • Use cake flour, not all-purpose flour. It forms less gluten, giving your cooked tempura a light, crunchy crust.
  • Do not over mix the ingredients. Leave the batter a wee lumpy. Whisk it, and you will encourage the formation of gluten. Gluten will form a chewy crust.
  • Once your batter is ready, proceed to deep-fry immediately.
  • Coat your shrimp with cornstarch or flour before battering it. Avoid lumping batter on the seafood to keep the prawns from becoming mushy.
  • Keep your oil at a steady 340°F (171°C) temperature. Your batter should bob halfway to the bottom of the pan, then come right back up. If it sinks completely to the bottom before rising, it is too hot.
  • Do not overload your frying pan with battered prawns.

How Do You Make Shrimp Tempura Sushi?

This comes as a surprise to most shrimp tempura sushi lovers that love its crunchy texture. Tempura also needs less oil during frying, keeping it light and crispy. The Japanese refer to the tempura cooking process as Hanaage.

Hana stands for flowers. Age, on the other hand, points to deep-frying. Why do they liken it to flowers? They do so because, when you add the tempura batter toil, it will bloom as blossom does.

In Japanese restaurants, the chefs use the least amount of batter to maintain the flavor of the seafood or vegetables within it. It is no wonder, then, that everyone loves tempura.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Servings: 10 pieces

Ingredients

  • 10 Black tiger prawn or the pricier Japanese tiger prawns
  • Cornstarch or 1 cup plain flour
  • Canola or vegetable oil for deep frying

Instructions

  1. Straighten your shrimp. For a guide, here’s a video on how to do it:
  1. Heat your medium-size pot or wok with 3 cm (1.5 inches) of oil to 340°F (171°C). The oil should be hot enough to build small bubbles around an immersed chopstick.
  2. Make your tempura batter.
  3. Dust flour or cornstarch over your prawns to ensure that the tempura batter sticks to it.
  4. Coat your prawn or shrimp.
  5. Deep-fry it for two minutes until golden brown.
  6. Move your cooked shrimp to a paper towel-lined plate or wire rack.
  7. Place a sheet of nori on a work surface.
  8. Pour half a cup of your sushi rice across it.
  9. First, place plastic wrap over the sushi rice to invert the rice covered nori onto your bamboo mat. The seaweed should face up when you place the items on the mat.
  10. Pick up 2 tempura shrimp, slices of avocado, cucumber, and place them on one edge of the nori.
  11. Pick the edge of the mat closest to the shrimp, then roll the items to form a sushi roll.
  12. Slice the roll and serve.

Conclusion

If you are new to sushi and unsure where to begin your journey, you will find cooked sushi items easier to embrace. Raw seafood can dissuade the sushi newbie, so as a recommendation, ease yourself into the world of sushi through items such as grilled or steamed Unagi or eel. Cooked squid, clam, shrimp, and octopus sushi are also excellent alternatives. 

To make excellent shrimp tempura sushi:

  • Use short or medium grain sticky rice varieties
  • Use quality rice vinegar to season your rice
  • Cool the vinegared sushi rice to room temperature
  • Cook your shrimp tempura perfectly to maintain a crisp texture
  • Make the sushi rolls using the shrimp and vegetables as filling

Here are some of my favorite sushi making tools

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you find it useful as you make sushi at home. Here are some tools I’ve used that I hope you’ll find helpful, too. These are affiliate links, so if you decide to use any of them, I will earn a commission. But honestly, these are the exact tools that I use and recommend to everyone, even my family.

Rice cooker: For getting started, I really like Zojirushi Rice Cooker. The Zojirushi Rice cooker does not only make rice-cooking dirt simple, but it is a quality gadget that cooks better than most chefs can. Unlike most kitchen gadgets, it does not sacrifice quality for convenience.

Knife:The Kai Knife is one of the best sushi knives in the market. Made in Japan’s famous knife-making capital, Seki city.

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