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Japanese Home Cooking Tips: HOW TO PREPARE Shrimp WITHOUT Fishy Taste

Rico's Japanese Home Cooking Tips; Preparing Shrimp And How To Remove Fishy Taste Food & Recipes

In Japanese home cooking, there are genuine cooking tips to enhance each flavor.

Shrimp, everybody loves them, they are the top fancy food on the table on any occasion.

However, have you ever had the shocking shrimp-yak, so fishy and mushy?

The shrimp preparation is almost common sense among the Japanese, if you meet a Japanese who doesn’t know how to prepare (clean) shrimp, he/she may be not a good cook. LOL.

If you are the one who has been looking for tips to remove the fishy taste from shrimp and successfully boil shrimp with fresh texture, these Japanese home cooking tips will work.

I do this every time we have Shrimp and it always works.


These steps are the most important key to serving delicious shrimp.

Step By Step To Devein Shrimp Quickly

*I am removing the bottom vein on the picture.

  1. To avoid making a big notch on a shrimp, hold a sharp paring knife a half-inch from the tip.
  2. Hold the shrimp with your index finger and thumb of another hand while stretching the shrimp straight on the cutting board (or *a piece of aluminum foil).
  3. 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.
  4. Using a blade tip, pull out a vein along the back.

*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.

 Why You Should Devein Shrimp? (Actually Not A Vein)

The dark line running on the backside of the shrimp isn’t a “ vein” despite what we call it “vein”.

It is the intestinal tract of the shrimp.

In other words, what the shrimp ate is digested and contained as body waste. (you know what I mean- “poo”! )

Shrimp live in muddy or sandy river beds and ocean floors, so, there is much sand contained in their vein with digested food together, which are caused the fishy taste in the shrimp dish.

Although they are shrimp’s wastes, actually, they are not harmful.

Indeed, we cook small prawns without removing veins since they are so tiny.

What Is Another Black (Blue) Line Runs Though Shrimp’s Belly?

Even if you buy a bag of deveined shrimp, you may find your shrimp 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 line, but I do just because of the aesthetics.

Deciding to remove this line that runs through the shrimp’s belly side is to personal preference.


Is It Easy to Devein A Shrimp With A Toothpick?

Some people say it is the easiest and quick way to devein shrimp with a skewer or a toothpick.


Because it’s a pain in the neck!!!

Every time I try to use a toothpick to remove a vein, I have trouble finding the right position to pull it perfectly without breaking it.

Moreover, I don’t feel it is the quick way because I should pull the line with the toothpick gently and slowly.

So, I use a paring knife.

To me, using a knife is the easiest and quick way to devein shrimp.

Cutting the back side of shrimp is often said that it is “not fancy-look” or “easy to dry while cooking”, but, I think it is not a problem when you’ll make enough small notch to take out the vein.

Simply, make a notch on the back and remove the vein using a paring knife.

How To Devein Shrimp With Shell On

How do devein shrimp on shells when you want to use them on shells for a dish such as a paella?

You can choose to use a toothpick, a paring knife, or a special tool.


In Japanese home cooking, we often use starch and salt, sometimes sake for cleaning shrimp.

Sometimes, professionals and seafood cooking enthusiasts use only salt and Japanese Sake, but I like to use starch all the time.

Professional chefs and connoisseurs use only salt and sake, but I like to use starch all the time.


Starch can remove invisible dirt and bacteria that cause the fishy taste from shrimp (as well as from shells and legs).

Since starch is a fine particle, it can reach small narrow spaces on meat and under shells.

The starch to use doesn’t matter such as cornstarch, potato, or rice flour.

Wheat flour can be used, yet, it gets slimy and hard rinsed away, and also the particle is a little bigger than the starch. Ideally, use the starch from your pantry.


Sake works to remove the fishy taste and bacteria from the shrimp.

The osmotic pressure of the salt releases water containing a fishy taste.

Besides, salt can bring a fresh texture.

Thus, sake plays a role to clean shrimp and kill bacteria, salt pulls out the fishy taste (moisture) from shrimp and the starch catches it.


Rinse lightly under tap water before cleaning.

In a large bowl, place the shrimp and the salt.

Mix them thoughtfully with your hands while gently rubbing the shrimp.

When you start feeling slimy (which is a sign that the salt pulls the fishy moisture), add the starch and the sake and continue mixing them.

* You can skip sake or substitute white wine or water for sake.

You can see the dirty water at this time and will know how much the shrimp are dirty!

Rinse the shrimp well while changing the water a few times.

Repeat cleaning until the rinsed water is clear.

The ratio of the starch and the salt for 10 medium-sized shrimp are 2 tablespoons of the starch and 1 teaspoon of the salt.

*When adding sake (or white wine), add 1 tablespoon to the bowl.

The Shrimp Recipe After The Perfect Preparation

Here are savory Japanese shrimp dishes that you can make tonight using your perfectly cleaned shrimp!

You may want to get ready to boil shrimp for a shrimp cocktail, fresh salad, or spring rolls.


  • Use a large pot
  • Boil 5 times water of the total weight of the shrimp
  • Add 2 teaspoons of salt per about 1 quart of the boiling water
  • Add 1 tablespoon of sake or white wine
  • Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice

In a large pot, add water and salt.

As a guide of water, add about 5 times water by the total weight of the shrimp.

Add 2 teaspoons of salt per about 1 quart of water.

Bring the water to a boil. It is very important to cook the shrimp in boiled water.

Vinegar and lemon help to quickly harden the protein and bring fresh texture.


We don’t want overcooked shrimp, so avoid cooking the shrimp fully in boiling water.

Use remaining heat.

Once the shrimp start floating on the boiling water and changing their color to pinkish, for about 1-3 minutes, drain the shrimp in a colander immediately.

When you cook large-sized shrimp, they are hard to float to the surface so remove them when the tails are up or when a few shrimp start dancing with boiling water.

It is hard to tell the boiling time for the shrimp…

It varies depending on the stove, the pot size, the types of shrimp, and the amount of shrimp.

  • Small-Sized Shrimp: It starts floating for about 1 minute.
  • Medium Shrimp: It starts floating or the tail will be up for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Large-Extra large-Sized Shrimp: The tail will be up for about 1-3 minutes.

If you are not sure whether they are cooked or not, cut one of them and check inside a few minutes later.

It is better to avoid water or ice baths for cooking the boiled shrimp since they will get watery while absorbing the water.

It’ll be long to talk about how to boil shrimp perfectly in this post, so I summarize the secret Japanese hacks to boil shrimp in this post.

To not waste your effort to clean shrimp, read thoughtfully this post to change your boiling shrimp!


Even though you want to use shrimp with shells on, it is better to remove all leg parts that cause the fishy flavor.

However, if you remove all legs in case of cooking smaller-sized shrimps, shells will be naturally peeled off while cleaning.

Although you will peel shells after boiling for such shrimp cocktails, it is better to leave shells on and peel them after boiling.

When you want to make savory boiled shrimp, it is better to boil shrimp with the shells on since
shells help shrimp meat will be shrunken.

When you want to deep-fly shrimp with tails, cut off the end tip of the tail diagonally and squeeze out the water inside using a knife.

Since the tail contains water inside, this process helps to reduce the risk of splashing oil.


Using salt water to thaw frozen shrimp or frozen seafood is recommended.

Defrosting shrimp with a salt concentration close to that of seawater makes it less likely to shrink and has a fresh texture.

The saltwater to be used should have a salt content of 3% of the water.

Rico's Japanese Home Cooking Tips; Preparing Shrimp And How To Remove Fishy Taste

How To Prepare & Boil Shrimp PERFECTLY

Rico McConnellRico McConnell
Do you want to know how to get rid of the fishy taste of shrimp? The most important process for removing the fishy taste is preparation: deveining and cleaning the shrimp. Also, I'll tell you the ultimate guide on how to prepare (frozen) shrimp full of Japanese cooking tips!


  • Shrimp
  • Salt
  • Corn/potato starch
  • Japanese Sake/ White wine
  • Water


Thaw Frozen Shrimp Without Being Mushy

  • Make a 3% salt solution.
  • Soak frozen shrimp in the salt solution and let thaw them for 1-2 hours in a refrigerator.

Devein The Shrimp

  • Use a sharp paring knife.
  • 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.

Clean The Shrimp

  • Place the shrimp in a large bowl.
  • Add 1 tsp of salt (per 10 medium-sized shrimp), and mix them well gently while rubbing the shrimp occasionally, for about 1 minute.
  • Once you feel slimy, add 2 tbsps of the starch and 1 tbsp of sake or white wine or water, then continue cleaning, for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Rinse the shrimp under running water.
  • Repeat cleaning the shrimp until the drained water will be clear.
  • Drain the water, and towel-dry them well using kitchen paper.

Boil The Shrimp

  • In a large pot, add about 5 times water by the total weight of the shrimp.
    Add 2 teaspoons of salt and bring the water to a boil.
  • Add 1 tbsp of sake or white wine and 1 tsp of vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Make sure the water is fully boiled, and add shrimp. Stir the water to keep the temperature even.
  • Small-Medium Shrimp: When shrimp start floating in the boiling water in 1-2 minutes, it is the sign to take them out from the boiling water.
    Large-Extra large shrimp: When shrimp's tails will be up in the boiling water in 1-3 minutes, it is the sign to take them out.
  • You don't need to wait for all shrimp to float and drain the shrimp quickly.
  • Cool the cooked shrimp on the colander or transfer them to a baking sheet without laying them over each other.
    *Avoid an ice or water bath to cool them since it absorbs excess water and will be a watery texture.



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Keyword seafood, Shrimp, Tips & Hack

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