Seafood Tricks (222): Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way / Vodka; it is critical for a crisp coating of Shrimp.
From America's Test Kitchen Season 10: Classic Asian Appetizers
Why this recipe works:For a shrimp tempura recipe that would produce sweet, fresh-tasting shrimp covered in a light, crisp coating, we chose the largest available shrimp, since it’s easy to overcook small ones. Finding that a high temperature gave us greaseless tempura, we deep-fried the shrimp in a large Dutch… read more
Recipes Shrimp Tempura
Japanese chefs spend years learning how to create a light, crisp coating on these quick-fried fritters. We turned to a different secret weapon: the liquor cabinet.
Do not omit the vodka; it is critical for a crisp coating. For safety, use a Dutch oven with a capacity of at least 7 quarts. Be sure to begin mixing the batter when the oil reaches 385 degrees (the final temperature should reach 400 degrees). It is important to maintain a high oil temperature throughout cooking. If you are unable to find colossal shrimp (8-12 per pound), jumbo (16-20) or extra-large (21-25) may be substituted. Fry smaller shrimp in three batches, reducing the cooking time to 1½ to 2 minutes per batch. See Straighten Out Your Shrimp below for tips on preventing the shrimp from curling.
Seafood Tricks (222): Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way