Japanese people are picky about seafood, and there are clever cooking tips to use its flavor.
The shrimp preparation is almost common sense for the Japanese, if you meet a Japanese who doesn’t know how to clean shrimps, he/she may be not good a cook. Haha.
If you are struggling to prepare shrimps, especially for removing fishy flavor, here’s a Japanese hack to remove that shrimp fishy smell and even unpleasant fishy aftertaste for a shrimp dish.
I do this every time we have Shrimp and it always works.
Make sure you have a potato or corn starch before starting!
- Why You Should Devein Shrimp? (Actually Not A Vein)
- Is It Easy to Devein A Shrimp With A Toothpick?
- How To Devein Shrimp With Shell On
- Step By Step To Devein Shrimp Quickly
- How To Clean Shrimp With Starch
- How To Boil Raw Shrimp Perfectly Without Fishy Smell
- How To Make Shrimps Straight For Deep Fry
Why You Should Devein Shrimp? (Actually Not A Vein)
A vein referred to here is a thin, black (or blue) line on the underside of the shrimp.
The dark line that runs down the back of the shrimp isn’t really “a vein” although you call it deveining.
It is the intestinal tract of the shrimp.
Therefore, what the shrimp ate is digested and contained as body waste. (you know I mean.)
Since it also contains sand, and this is the cause of an unpleasant texture (actually you are chewing sand!) and fishy smell.
There’s no food-safety issue to removing the vein, however, I recommend to devein shrimps for these reasons.
What Is The Bottom Vein On The Shrimp?
Your shrimp may have another line on the ventral side.
It is the abdominal nerve cord, which is a bundle of nerves.
It is like the spinal cord in the human body.
It has nothing to do with a fishy taste and you don’t have to remove the bottom vein, but I will because it can get appetizing more.
Is It Easy to Devein A Shrimp With A Toothpick?
If you are a Japanese home cooking enthusiast, you may already know that the Japanese use a skewer or a toothpick to devein a shrimp.
Some people say it is the easiest and quick way to devein a shrimp.
I don’t do it that way.
Becccccccause it’s a pain in the neck!!!
Every time I try to use a toothpick to remove a vein, I have trouble finding the exact position to pull it perfectly without tore off.
I recommend using a small paring knife.
To me, using a knife is the easiest and quick way to devein shrimp.
Sharpen it every time before use.
This small step is also making devein shrimp easily.
How To Devein Shrimp With Shell On
How to devein shrimp when you want to use them with the shell on for such as garlic shrimp and paella?
You are OK to prep shrimp in the same way.
Make a notch on the back and remove the vein using a petit knife.
You can use a pair of kitchen scissors to make a notch on side of the shrimp shell as the easy way.
As an advanced hack to remove the fishy flavor from shrimp with shell on, pull off all legs.
Moreover, Cut the tip called uropod diagonally and squeeze out the water inside using a knife.
Although you will peel shells after boiling for such as shrimp cocktails, it is better to leave shells on and peel them after boiling.
Shells help shrimp meat will be shrunken, so removing shells after cooking can be better.
Besides, it is easy to peel them after boiling anyway because of making the notch for deveining.
Step By Step To Devein Shrimp Quickly
- Hold the knife a half-inch from the tip to avoid making a big notch.
- Stretch and Hold a shrimp laid down on the cutting board (or an aluminum foil sheet) stretching with your thumb, index finger, and middle finger gently.
- Cut (technically slide the tip of the knife) along the outer edge of the shrimp’s back, about 1/8 – 1/4 inch deep. It is not butterflying, so try not to cut so deep.
- Using a blade tip, pull out a vein along the back out.
I use a piece of aluminum foil instead of a cutting board, so it is easy to clean the mess. Wrap the mess and throw it away.
*I am removing the bottom vein in the picture.
How To Clean Shrimp With Starch
As I said, cleaning shrimp with starch is almost the Japanese common sense.
Sometimes, professionals and seafood cooking enthusiasts use only salt and Japanese Sake, but I liken to use starch all the time.
How Starch Can Work For Cleaning Shrimp
The starch can remove invisible dirt and bacteria from shrimp because of the fine particle.
Potato starch is a common starch in Japan, but you can use corn starch instead.
You can use all-purpose flour. However, the starch can be easily removed when rinsing, contrary the flour sticks to the shrimp.
When cleaning shrimp with starch, you can feel shrimp are getting slimy and see the starch turning dirty, this is the cause of the fishy smell.
Besides, adding salt can remove the fishy smell inside of seafood using osmotic pressure and also make a fresh shrimp texture.
Steps To Clean Shrimp After Devein
- SALT…1 teaspoon per 8 – 10 shrimp
- STARCH…2 tablespoons per 8 – 10 shrimp
- Place deveined shrimp in a bowl.
- Sprinkle the starch and salt, and add 1 tbsp water. (or more if needed.)
- Wash (massage) shrimp gently with both hands.
- Rince them under running water.
- Repeat 2-4 for a few times until the water becomes clear.
How To Boil Raw Shrimp Perfectly Without Fishy Smell
Bring water boiled in a pot, add salt (much as you feel salty), and Japanese sake or dry white wine.
Shrimp is easily overcooked and then it will lose fresh texture and flavor. So you need to keep your eyes on once start cooking.
Do not try to cook shrimp all through on the stove turned on. Use remaining heat.
When shrimp start rising up in the boiling water in 2-4 minutes, it is the sign to turn off the stove.
Do not wait for all shrimp to rise up.
Drain shrimp quickly when you see the first 2-3 shrimp rise up in the boiling water.
Drain shrimp into a strainer and let them cool immediately.
Avoid cooling them with ice or water since boiled Shrimp absorb excess water and will be a watery texture.
If you are not sure they are cooked or not, cut one of them and check inside a few minutes later.
If it is rawish, pour boiled water on shrimps or cook them for seconds to a minute.
- It’s better to grab the whole pot and drain it all into a colander than to take it out with a skimming ladle.
- Between medium to Large size shrimps, cook for about 2 – 3 minutes.
I tried to summarize how to boil shrimp, but, it is the most important key to bringing the perfect boiled shrimp.
To not waste your effort to clean shrimp, read thoughtfully this post to change your boiling shrimp!
How To Make Shrimps Straight For Deep Fry
Shrimp will be round when heated, right? In Japanese cuisines such as Tempura shrimp and Ebi Furai, we sometimes want to finish shrimps straight like restaurants.
It may be Japanese aesthetic, you don’t have to do this…really.
To finish the tempura or deep-fry straight, Make a few 1/3 depth slits into both sides. If it’s not deep enough, shrimp will not be straight, but if it’s too deep, it will cut off.
Hold a shrimp with both hands face to a back, and gently but strongly bent (or push) its back until you feel “Click” with your thumbs.
If bending is not enough, a shrimp will not be straight.