How to Fry Shrimp With Potato Starch

by A.J. Andrews

Crispy Breaded Shrimp Without the Gluten

If you crave extra-crispy shrimp without a thick wall of breading getting in way, look no further than potato starch. It gives shrimp a light, crunchy crust redolent of potato chips and opens the door to an array of seasoning options.

East Asian cuisine incorporates potato starch, also known as katakuriko, in frying about as much as American coking uses flour in breading, so you'll find a lot of resources in Japanese and Chinese recipes if you need a little inspiration. Perhaps the most well known use of potato starch for breading shrimp is the Japanese dish shrimp tatsuta age, which calls for a soy sauce, mirin and ginger marinade, but any brine or marinade works. You can also go with your favorite seasoned breading recipe and substitute potato starch for the flour.

Total Time: 15 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

  • Canola or peanut oil
  • 12 medium shrimp or 8 large shrimp, cleaned and thawed
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • Freshly ground black pepper and freshly chopped herbs, to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add enough oil to a heavy-bottomed frying pan to reach about 1/2 inch up the sides. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350F.
  2. Combine the kosher salt and potato starch, and spread it in an even layer in a shallow dish. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel.
  3. Lightly dredge the shrimp in the starch and gently lay them one at a time in the oil. Don't overcrowd the pan; work in batches if you have to.
  4. Fry the shrimp until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove the shrimp using tongs or a slotted spoon, and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels.
  5. Toss the shrimp while hot with freshly ground black pepper and freshly chopped herbs, if desired.

Tips

  • This method also works with chicken, fish and vegetables.

    Marinate the shrimp in 2 tablespoons of Japanese soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of mirin, 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger and a pinch of Szechuan pepper for 5 to 10 minutes before cooking them to make classic Japanese shrimp tatsuta age.

    To season 1 cup of potato starch, mix in 1 tablespoon of dried seasoning, such as Cajun spice or your preferred barbecue dry rub.

    If you buy packaged shrimp, one way to differentiate medium from large shrimp is to check the bag: A medium shrimp package will indicate 41/50 shrimp per pound, and large shrimp are labeled 31/35.

About the Author

A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.