Balloon Shrimp and Vegetables
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Recipe courtesy of Emily Weinberger for Food Network Kitchen

Balloon Shrimp and Vegetables

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Inspired by Chinese bubble shrimp, these shrimp and vegetables are coated in a light batter that quickly inflates like a balloon when deep fried. There are many variations of the traditional batter; this one puffs up thanks to a combination of potato starch, baking powder, cornstarch, cake flour and egg whites. It's an exciting appetizer that’s fun for party guests to watch in action and is perfect for entertaining. (Make sure you have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go.) Once fried, the batter will remain crispy for at least an hour—but the savory bites will likely be long gone by then.


Dipping Sauce:

Shrimp and Vegetables:


Special equipment:
a deep-fry thermometer
  1. For the dipping sauce: Whisk together the mirin, soy sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger and navel orange juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking occasionally, until slightly reduced, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a small serving bowl (see Cook’s Note).
  2. For the shrimp and vegetables: Pour enough vegetable oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pot to come 3 inches up the sides. Clip a deep-fry thermometer to the pot. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until the thermometer registers 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet and plate with paper towels and set aside.
  3. Pat the shrimp dry and sprinkle with the togarashi, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Refrigerate while you make the batter.
  4. Whisk together the potato starch, cornstarch, cake flour, ice water, baking powder, egg whites, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a medium bowl until completely smooth.
  5. Dip half of the sweet potato coins (4 to 5 coins) into the batter, coating completely and letting any excess batter drip back into the bowl. Fry the sweet potatoes, spooning the hot oil on top of the vegetables a few times, until the batter puffs up and is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes (see Cook’s Note). Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sweet potatoes to the prepared baking sheet. Bring the oil back to 375 degrees F and repeat with the remaining sweet potatoes.
  6. Working in two batches for each vegetable, batter and fry the asparagus, broccoli and green beans until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, bringing the oil back to 375 degrees F between each batch.
  7. Working in two batches, dip the shrimp into the batter until everything except the tail is coated and let any excess batter drip back into the bowl. Gently add the shrimp to the oil and fry, basting the top of the shrimp a few times with a slotted spoon, until the batter puffs up like a balloon and is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Use the same slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to the prepared plate. Bring the oil back to 375 degrees F and repeat with the remaining shrimp.
  8. Serve the shrimp and vegetables with the dipping sauce.

Cook’s Note

The dipping sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Gently reheat in a small saucepan over medium heat until warmed, about 5 minutes. Prep all of your ingredients before you start frying for maximum success. It is important not to overcrowd the pot when cooking.