Rock Shrimp Tempura w/ Spicy Creamy Sauce

[Disclaimer: This blog doesn’t come with life insurance. Call your insurance broker before attempting to make any of the high voltige recipes on this page.]
Sometimes i like to re-create dishes i had in restaurants just for the heck of it. You know, out of boredom great things are born if you’re lucky enough. My latest attempt was actually quite easy to pull off. The rock shrimp tempura with spicy creamy sauce is a classic appetizer at Nobu’s restaurants everywhere and is really a no-brainer to make. Take it from a Zen-man who never use more than 4% of his brain power. 2% figuring out lunch and dinner, 2% for basic motor skills – leaving a whooping 96% for daydreaming. Makes my days at work seem much shorter, let me tell ya. But back to the shrimp, what could go wrong when deep-frying rock shrimps dipped in a tempura batter and tossing them while still hot into a mayonnaise flavored with garlic-chili sauce. Okay, you could set yourself on fire, slip on a dollop of mayo on the floor and crash through the glass window which would start a chain reaction that could burn down half your neighborhood but in my opinion – it’s still worth taking the risk. These little suckers pack a quadruple treat of shrimpiness, crispiness, creaminess and spiciness. That’s your reward my friends for living dangerously.

If you survive this experience, serve the rock shrimp tempura on a bed of your favorite lettuce with shiitake mushroom quickly sauteed in butter and steamed asparagus for a nice contrast of texture and flavors. Enjoy if you have any teeth left.

Rock Shrimp Tempura w/ Spicy Creamy Sauce
(serves 4)


For the Tempura Batter (it’s okay to use a tempura mix if available):

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup ice water
  • 1/3 cup flour

For the shrimps and salad:

  • 8 ounces rock shrimp
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 1 bunch asparagus, steamed
  • Mixed lettuce
  • Fresh herbs for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • butter for sauteeing
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying

For the spicy-creamy sauce:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons garlic-chili sauce (Tobanjan)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice


  1. Make the tempura batter by lightly mixing the ingredients.
  2. Make the spicy-creamy sauce by mixing the ingredients together.
  3. Make sure the rock shrimps are deveined. Rinse and dry them.
  4. Sauteed the shiitake mushrooms in butter. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat oil for deep-frying to 360’F. Dip the shrimp in tempura batter and deep fry for 2 minutes. Drain well on paper.
  6. Put the shrimps and shiitake mushrooms together in a bowl. Mix with the spicy-creamy sauce by tossing them together.
  7. Arrange the salad on the plate and squeeze some lime juice on it. Arrange the fried shrimps, the mushrooms and the asparagus on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.
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  • Manggy

    Hahaha! You sound like you talk from experience, Zenman :) I hope you still have all your teeth.
    I LOVE tempura shrimp (even though I always use a mix)! I have never thought to serve it as a salad, though! Thanks for the recipe!

  • waliz

    anything with tempura count me in…especially vegetables tempura…err no more meat for me zen..i’m a vegetarian now…:P

  • Claude-Olivier

    je veux bien vivre dangereusement alors ! bien joué !

  • cakewardrobe

    This looks like a fantastic meal! Spicy and deep fried are my two (or 3) favorite words!

  • Ann

    Ooh… tempura is a huge fav of mine! And what a nice change to serve it as a salad!

  • Catherine Wilkinson

    Now, I just love dangerous cooking!
    Especially when the results are this damn delicious looking!

    Although, I’d need all my teeth.

  • AzAzura

    I like prawn tempura,shrimp tempura and they don’t call me Miss tempura for nothing.Thai chilli sauce,ponzu mayo ,Zen chef’s spicy creamy sauce…as long as its tempura(or anything with good batter)Im in baby.Pretty pictures Zen chef.

  • Kevin

    Those shrimp tempura in spicy may sauce sound good! bookmarked

  • Cindy. Lo.

    Look at the ingredients for the sauce:
    Garlic chili sauce,
    These three are my favorite ingredients,
    Ahhhhhh not only for your tempura shrimp,
    I’ll use it everywhere!

  • Heather

    I think it’s hilarious when people use “shrimps” as plural for shrimp. It always makes me giggle. “Shwamps” is another giggle-maker. Oh, you silly Zen-man!

  • foodhuntress79

    First, thank you Heather for the correction- because I am guilty of many food grammar errors myself! I was never an English major. Haha. Thanks, I like this :)

    Konichiwa, Zen Chef! You do Japanese! Incredibly!

  • Emiline

    I think I might fry up some shrimp”s” tomorrow. Tempura is tempting, but I think I might do panko.
    This looks very goooood.

    So you daydream a lot at work, do you? I find that I don’t use my brain AT ALL when I’m at work. I’m like a robot.

  • Alejandra

    Another beautiful recipe! I LOVE mayo! And rock shrimp. Did you get those at Whole Foods? 😉

    I must try this… Did you use regular mayo or the Japanese kind?I got a bottle of the Japanese kind on St. Mark’s a while back and a bit obsessed with it. Interestingly enough, there was an article in the NY Times today about MSG and Japanese mayo and umami and all sorts of other wonderful things that might actually explain aforementioned obsessioned with japanese mayo…

  • b

    Is there anything you post that I am not just drooling over?! :) I am really going to spend some time soon compiling your recipes! I love your descriptions here, too. “Slip on a dollop of mayo”… hilarious!!

    And your photos of food are so incredible. I am starting to find myself drawn to photographing food with my new camera. Any tips for great food shots?

    Thanks as always for inspiring me and my taste buds!!

  • daphne

    hehhe.. this sounds cool man! I would love to dig into that tucker for sure. Love the sound of the spicy creamy sauce.

  • canarygirl

    I think I might have a crush on you now. I found your blog from Elle’s New England Kitchen, and am adding you to my ‘roll! Awe. Some. Food. :)

  • Cakespy

    That’s it, I am leaving Mr. Cakespy since he’s a vegetarian and won’t eat things like this with me. This is too excellent. Spicy and creamy–you cannot lose.

  • Elle

    Two of my favorite words ever…shrimp, and tempura. mmmmm.

  • Helene

    I never ordered tempura shrimp. I may sometimes. Looks good.

  • canDIshhh

    Evertyhing looks so good here! I’m already salivating!!


  • TavoLini

    oh wow that looks good–fried, spicy, creamy, vegetabley–I’m on it!

  • Tartelette

    Another award worthy post Chef!

  • Sweetiepie

    Is there any left for me!:)

  • Chicken & Waffles

    Tempura is the fancy Eurasian way of saying deep fried. And you always have me at deep fried, Zen-Man. It’s only a matter of time before we see the double battered, deep fried, dusted with confectioner sugar Magnolia Bakery red velvet cupcake recipe.

    I mean…I hope. And y’know. Soon.

  • glamah16

    Oh man. Nothing like a perfect tempura.and extra nice with the spicy touch.

  • Anali

    I’m heeding your warning! I can’t handle hot food unfortunately. But it sure looks good! 😀

  • Rasa Malaysia

    Hey Chef – this is a popular dish in all Fusion Japanese restaurants in Lala-land…Nobu, Koi, Matsuhisa, or any Japanese restaurants around town. I love the texture of rock shrimps, so crunchy and the spicy creamy sauce is just so great with them. Love this dish!

  • Terrazzo Floor Care Lauderdale

    Rock Shrimp Tempura w/ Spicy Creamy Sauce! MMMmmmmmmmm!! Mouth-watering! Thanks for sharing this!