Tempura Shrimp with Dipping Sauce doesn’t sound low carb. Yet, it is not only possible to make “tempura batter” low carb – it is delicious! We all love a good tempura battered fish fry with chips or this delicate batter used for Japanese vegetables or jumbo shrimp. Tempura batter is so light and tasty. But the batter usually contains rice flour, and cornstarch, or even wheat flour. But, low carb is often simply about substituting low-carb ingredients for traditional high-carb ingredients. Our tempura batter does just that. The result is the perfect batter!
To maintain the Japanese flair with our Tempura Shrimp, we have included a simple, yet delicious, dipping sauce. The sauce uses soy and sesame as the main flavor ingredients. It is perfect with the light and airy shrimp. Our batter is flaky and crispy, just like the tempura batter you find in your favorite Japanese restaurant.
For the normal rice flour or cornstarch we substitute “Isopure Whey Protein Powder.” We only use the unflavored powder for this recipe. This is the same ingredient used in “cloud bread” and our “Low Carb Almond Cheese Danish.” It produces a light airy batter with no carbs! We use Xanthan Gum to provide elasticity and stickiness to our batter. In the absence of gluten, this gives us structure. Physillium Husk (a substitute) could provide the same structure.
We do use baking powder and baking soda to allow for our batter to rise or puff up, if you will. But, much of that action, and what keeps this batter so light and airy, is substituting club soda for water. It simply works like magic to puff the batter and protect from too much grease in the coating. Some recipes call for beer or vodka in place of the normal water, but we like the result with club soda. Eggs and salt round out he ingredients for the batter.
The dipping sauce is so good! It is the perfect blend of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. We add just a touch of Swerve for sweetening and some red pepper flakes for heat. If you have ever tasted the standard dipping sauce for steamed dumplings (dim sum) then you will recognize the flavor of our dipping sauce. It is wonderful with the Tempura Shrimp!
The real key in cooking our Tempura Shrimp is to maintain your cooking temperature at around 375 degrees. To do so, we suggest using a frying (or candy) thermometer. Also, do not crowd your frying pot. Make sure the shrimp have enough room to move around in the hot oil and try to avoid sudden drops in temperature.
Flipping once would be best and these delicacies will be done in 2 minutes or less. If your temperature drops too low, or if you cook them too long, they will absorb too much grease. You will be able to tell when they turn slightly golden brown, but test a couple to make sure. Tempura shrimp is actually a fun dish to prepare since the batter will puff up almost immediately when it hits the hot oil. We use coconut oil for our Tempura Shrimp.
Dry the cooked shrimp on a baking rack with paper towel underneath to catch any excess oil. You want to keep your batter cold and may have to whisk in between groups of three while the shrimp are cooking. You do not want the batter to settle. Sometimes we even use an ice bath in a bowl with water and put our batter bowl inside. This is not really necessary if you move quickly. Just make sure the batter is mixed throughly and you maintain the temperature.
The dipping sauce can be prepared in advance. It is a simple process with no cooking involved. We do like to add a few green onions (sliced on the bias) just before serving. Feel free to vary the amount of red pepper flakes based upon your heat tolerance. You could substitute wasabi paste for the red pepper flakes if you prefer.
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Keto Tempura Shrimp – A Delicious Light Crispy Batter!
Low Carb Tempura Shrimp is a perfect seafood appetizer or main dish. We like to serve ours with cauliflower fried rice, as pictured. Cauliflower rice is a staple in our low-carb lifestyle. We will post Joanie’s quick and easy recipe for the rice soon – come back often! Our tempura recipe will definitely become a favorite for those who have been missing breaded shrimp, fish, or vegetables. Maybe we will try tempura zucchini with a marinara sauce, next? Enjoy this tasty batter!
Low Carb Tempura Shrimp with Dipping Sauce
Sesame and Soy Dipping Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon Rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Water
- ¼ teaspoon Sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon Swerve
- ⅛ teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- 1 pound Shrimp (15-18 count)
- 6 tablespoons Whey protein isolate powder (unflavored)
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Sea salt
- ½ teaspoon Xanthan gum
- 2 large Eggs
- 2 tablespoons Club soda
- Coconut oil
Sesame and Soy Dipping Sauce
- Whisk the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl and transfer to small dipping cups for each individual. Prior to serving add a few green onions cut on the bias.
- Heat coconut oil in a medium pan to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a cooking thermometer to achieve the correct temperature.
- Add all the tempura batter ingredients to a medium bowl and mix quickly with a fork until lumps are gone.
- Dip the shrimp in the batter to through coat and then drop in the heated oil – fry about three at a time to maintain the temperature. Flip once in the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes until crisp and golden.
- Dry the fried shrimp on a baking rack with paper towels underneath to lessen the grease.
- Serve hot with dipping sauce. You can add a few green onion slices and sliced red pepper for color.
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Do you have any suggestions for making this lower sodium. My son has sodium diabetes and we have to adapt everything for him.
The biggest culprits adding salt to the recipe would be the sea salt, baking soda, and coconut aminos. Salt is not an issue for a Keto lifestyle; however, if your Son has an issue first eliminate the sea salt. Try it without the baking soda, it should be fine. And there are low sodium coconut aminos (click -> here). You should see the same results and will have virtually eliminated the sodium. I hope you will try my recipe and enjoy, thanks . . . Joanie.
I wish to use this for onion rings as well, perhaps other vegetables ala Japanese Tempura. Any changes needed? I have had trouble with other batters sticking to the onion, maybe dust with protein powder, oat fiber, or something similar before the batter?
I have done vegetables and they turn out great. Although your tip of dusting in protein powder should work well. I would not use anything heavier for tempura. The beauty of a Keto Kitchen is experimenting to get the perfect dish. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.
Could you prepare this in an air fryer?
The batter for the recipe is tempura, thus it is very liquid, and will puff up as it hits hot oil. That is why I use oil. Most tempura recipes using the air fryer are generally for frozen pre-battered (processed) shrimp. Not the real deal. That being said, line your air fryer basket with parchment paper, do not crowd, and “give it a go.” Let me know your results and I can add air fryer to the post. thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.
What does xanthun gum do for deep frying?
Thank you for the question. The secret to any deep frying (especially tempura batters) is to limit the intake of oil. No one wants soggy, greasy, oily food. The Xanthan Gum works well to limit that oil intake. Especially useful with tempura. I hope you enjoy my recipe . . . Joanie.
Thank you so much Joanie. 🙂
Omg omg just tried this with a keto sushi roll! Amazzzzing!
Thank you so much! I appreciate the feedback and hope you will enjoy more of my recipes . . . Joanie.
In text you talk about psyllium husk, but in the recipe I don’t see it.
It was noted in the post as a substitute for Xanthan Gum (for structure). You could use either. I corrected the narrative. Thanks for the comment . . . Joanie.
Looking to fry lobster tails…do u think this batter will do the trick?
Absolutely! Especially if you are using smaller tails that are not much bigger than jumbo shrimp. I have not tried it, but it would be delicious. The batter is like all tempura batters, very delicate, but you should have an excellent result. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.
I tried this tonight and OMG! It was so good. I ate it with tarter sauce and could not tell the difference. They were very light and fluffy.
So pleased you enjoyed my recipe! You do have to follow the directions and tips, but the end result is delicious. Bravo, to you . . . Joanie.
Hello. Thank you for your recipe. If I omit the club soda will the batter still be okay and tasty?
The club soda adds carbonation and that makes the batter light, just like tempura. The cold club soda also keeps the batter from absorbing too much oil. You could use seltzer water, or even sprite. I have never tried it without club soda, so I couldn’t give an opinion. Try to add the carbonation and stir often and you will love the result. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.
I am wondering is there anything I can substitute the whey powder for?
We have only ever used whey protein, so I could not guarantee the same results with alternatives. You could try egg white protein or oat fiber as a substitute. Not sure if you would get the tempura light and fluffy texture. If you try an alternative, please let us know – we love to learn. Thanks for the question . . . Joanie.
I can’t wait to try this ! I have another tempera recipe but I think this may become my go to , thanks !
Like all tempura recipes, it is a fragile process, but once you get on to it – the taste is so worth it. We have also tried various tempura recipes, but after a lot of changes and experimentation, I found that the mix of ingredients and process I use will produce the most delicious results. Hope you love this recipe as much as we do . . . Joanie.