Like shrimp cocktails, the taste of boiled shrimp is important which should have fresh flavor, texture, without the fishy taste and mushy texture.
Boiling shrimp is simple but not easy.
Since shrimp can be easily cooked, we have a chance to destroy its charm.
The Japanese are picky about seafood, as you know, and one of the popular Sushi ingredients is boiled shrimp so we should know how to make the perfect boiled shrimp!
Today, I am going to tell you the Japanese secret hack to boil shrimp at home.
You may feel there are little more steps to boil shrimp, but! you can surprise your family and friends with delicious boiled shrimp when following these 7 Japanese cooking tips.
What are 7 tips to boil shrimp?
Open the index and check them out.
These tips can be used for raw and frozen shrimp, just don’t forget this.
Must thaw frozen shrimp before boiling.
- Leave The Shrimp Shell On
- Salt Can Bring Shrimp to Clean And More Benefits
- Scramble Shrimp And Rinse Well To Clean
- Make The Perfect Boiling Water For Shrimp
- Consider To Divide Your Shrimp To Boil In Two Times
- The Important Tips To Boil Shrimp
- You Can Rince Or Put Boiled Shrimp In A Ice Bath?
- The Bottom Line
Leave The Shrimp Shell On
In the case of using frozen (or raw) shrimp with shells on to make boiled shrimp, it’s better to leave the shrimp shells on and then remove them after boiling.
The shell can help to prevent shrimp’s meat from shrinking which means keeping fresh texture and juice in shrimp.
This post can help you how to devein shrimp with shell on.
When removing shells after cooking, it is easier to remove shells after leaving for a while rather than peeling shells right after draining.
Salt Can Bring Shrimp to Clean And More Benefits
Basically, using salt to clean shrimp is for these benefits,
- Remove dirt and bacteria from shrimp
- Remove fishy smell and unpleasant flavor
- Add fresh texture
Place thawed shrimp in a bowl.
Sprinkle (aka throw) a handful of salt (natural sea salt recommended) on shrimp.
Salt can work for eliminating dirt and bacterias inside and outside, and also bring fresh snapping texture into shrimp even after boiling.
Besides, the Japanese (including me) use starch to clean shrimp as well. (Another hack!)
For more details, read this post during your free time.
Scramble Shrimp And Rinse Well To Clean
Use a big bowl.
Mix up shrimp and salt (and starch) very well using both hands.
By mixing shrimp and salt and coating salt, shrimp will be clean well, remove fishy smell and flavor, and gain fresh texture.
Massage shrimp gently in a bowl while wishing they will be delicious.
When you are going to clean a big butch of shrimp,
Open fingers (like grabbing something) and mix up shrimp and salt from the bottom of the bowl.
It seems like tossing or scrambling shrimp rhythmically. (But do gently avoid hurting shrimp.)
It depends on the amount of shrimp, but the aim of the mixing time is for 30 sec – 1 minute, 30-50 times.
Rinse shrimp under running water while mixing up them.
You can see the water is dirty because of the salt (and starch) work.
Use a colander, change the water and rinse shrimp again.
Repeat these steps 3 times.
Make The Perfect Boiling Water For Shrimp
Prepare these items to make the perfect boiled shrimp.
- A large pot (plenty of water)
- Japanese sake or dry white wine
Using a larger pot is the key to bringing boiled shrimp delicious.
Allow plenty of water to boil on the stove.
Then, add salt like the same salty as the ocean water.
Seawater is about 3.5 % salt by weight, which means use 4.5 oz of salt per gallon of water.
Next, add vinegar.
You don’t need it a lot, adding 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar should be fine.
You can use lemon juice instead of vinegar.
Vinegar or lemon juice can help firm protein quickly and keep a fresh texture in shrimp, and also help to stop boiled shrimp from going bad.
Finally, add Japanese sake or dry white wine that can enhance umami flavor while eliminating the fishy taste in shrimp.
Consider To Divide Your Shrimp To Boil In Two Times
If you are going to boil a big batch of shrimp, it’s better to divide it two times unless you’re not a professional chef.
When throwing the big batch of shrimp into the pot, the boiling water temperature will instantly decrease, and takes time to boil them and hard to check the best timing to take out of shrimp from the pot.
It’s hard to tell you how much amount of shrimp is called the big batch, but, you may think about dividing two times to boil shrimp if you think the shrimp is obviously too much for the pot or hoping to use common sense.
You can know why a large pot, the plenty of water, and the amount of shrimp are important from now.
The Important Tips To Boil Shrimp
- Bring plenty of water to a boil completely in a large pot.
- When you see the few shrimp rise up, you can drain them.
- Use a colander and drain shrimp quickly at once.
Bring Water To A Boil Completely
First of all, make sure the water (with salt, vinegar, and sake/wine) is boiling completely.
Shrimp will be overcooked (the meat will be shrunk and become mushy or tough) if you start to boil in the water that is not boiling completely.
As I said, the boiling time is very important to make the perfect (not OK) boiled shrimp.
How You Can Tell The Sign To Drain Shrimp
So, how you can tell the shrimp are done boiling.
The Japanese cooking hack is,
“do not cook shrimp through to boiled completely in the boiling water.”
More specifically, cook through and 90% done and use the remaining heat to complete the shrimp cooked.
Then, how can you tell the shrimp is cooked in 90% done?
Once throwing shrimp in the boiling water, stir the water to keep the water temperature constant.
The water will be cloudy after throwing shrimp and a few minutes later, a few shrimp begin rising up to the surface in the pot.
This is the sign you can drain them in a colander.
How long do you need time to boil shrimp, it will be 2 -3 minutes for medium size shrimp with shell on, and 1-2 minutes for medium prepared shrimp.
However, this is just a guide, and the boiling time may change depending on the situation and conditions.
So, stir the water occasionally and stop boiling shrimp when a few starts rising up to the surface.
This is also why a small batch of shrimp is easier to find out the perfect boiling time rather than a big batch.
Drain Shrimp Quickly
Do your best to drain shrimp as quickly as you can since it can be easily overcooked and lose the fresh texture.
So, it’s better to drain all shrimp using a colander rather than taking each shrimp to avoid overcooking.
You Can Rince Or Put Boiled Shrimp In A Ice Bath?
As the best way, cool the boiled shrimp on the colander or a baking pan naturally.
You should not use cold water or an ice bath to chill quickly the boiled shrimp.
By using cold water, the shrimp absorbs the water and becomes watery, and loses flavor.
Besides, we want to cook shrimp by using the remaining heat so it can cause boiled shrimp to undercooked.
Just leave the shrimp on the colander (or place them on a baking sheet) after shaking off the excess water until they are chilled under a cool place.
Cover a kitchen paper towel on the shrimp to avoid being dry.
Pick up a shrimp and make sure it is enough cooked.
Sprinkle a pinch of salt if needed to enhance shrimp umami flavor.
Rinse Really Quickly In Case You Need Cooled Boiled Shrimp Immediately
I understand you cannot wait!
Therefore, it is all right to cool the boiled shrimp under running water if you don’t have a choice.
(Again, the best way is to cool them naturally.)
Since the running water quenching can remove the lye of shrimp cleanly, it also has an aspect of hygiene.
Don’t be relieve yet.
You can’t use running water to cool the boiled shrimp for so long to protect the shrimp flavor.
As much as you use water, the shrimp flavor will flow out, unfortunately.
So, you need to drain and paper-dry the boiled shrimp as quickly as possible when the boiled shrimp get cool. (You don’t feel hot when touching it.)
The Bottom Line
In Japanese idioms, we are saying “Even a little effort can make the taste more delicious.”
Even a little effort can make the taste more delicious.
These Japanese hacks may little more steps than you think, but you can make the best boiled shrimp ever following these steps!
- Thaw frozen shrimp.
- Devine and clean shrimp (using salt & starch)
- Boil water completely (adding salt, vinegar, and sake)
- Use remaining heat to cook through shrimp
- Drain quickly
- Cool boiled shrimp naturally in a cool place
- Do not soak in an ice bath
Besides, clean shrimp thoughtfully before cooking to eliminate fishy flavor.
Here is also a Japanese cooking hack to devine&clean shrimp.