Many people in the western world avoid eating seafood often because it can be difficult to find the perfect side dish to bulk out the meal. After all, seafood can be expensive, so it would be a shame for a thrown-together side dish to outshine or underperform your expensive catch.
But other cuisines and cultures in other places around the world are professionals at making seafood the star of their meals while still having a delicious array of food on the table.
For example, the extremely popular tempura shrimp is a Japanese seafood dish that can shine on its own but is versatile. The next time you plan to make tempura shrimp, consider what other dishes can be used to help make the shrimp even more memorable.
4 Dishes to Serve with Tempura Shrimp
Tempura shrimp is extremely easy to make as it is essentially just fresh shrimp fried in a tempura batter and then served.
Tempura batter is a basic combination of eggs, flour and water, making tempura shrimp a great dish to pair with a range of other dishes. Such as:
1) Egg Fried Rice
Fried rice is an extremely common side dish across Asia but especially so when it comes to Japanese cuisine.
There are so many types of fried rice that you may be tempted to go all in and create a chicken or even pork fried rice. While you could do just that, sticking with a more neutral egg-fried rice will be the best option for a tempura shrimp side dish.
When done right, egg-fried rice can be extraordinarily tasteful but will not clash or interfere with the clean-cut flavours of the tempura shrimp. Other types of fried rice would not offer that same advantage.
Rice is a filling enough starch as it, which means that serving it alongside tempura shrimp will keep your stomach satisfied for much longer. You can even add an array of vegetables to the egg-fried rice to stretch the meal out more, adding even more flavour and extra nutrition to your plate.
2) Plain Rice
On the flip side of egg-fried rice, you can cut back the complexity of your side dish and stick with simple plain rice.
You may be thinking that plain steamed rice is too dull a side dish for tempura shrimp, but that is precisely why it works so well. It pulls your tastebud’s focus entirely to the tempura shrimp, making you appreciate the delicacy more.
Though it may offer little to your plate in terms of flavour, plain rice is very starchy and just as filling. It is a sure way to make your meal go further.
Better yet, rice is a cheap and accessible ingredient, so it is a good way to keep your meal costs down without going hungry.
If you are not as big a fan of plain rice because you find the flavour to be too boring, then do not worry. Tempura shrimp is rarely served on its own, almost always coming with some dipping sauce like tentsuyu. You can use this sauce to add some taste to the rice to make it more enjoyable.
3) Spinach Salad With Sesame Dressing
To keep with the light but flavourful vibe of tempura shrimp, spinach salad is a great accompanying meal to help you use up any leafy greens in your fridge.
Salad may not sound as fun or exciting a dish as tempura shrimp, but spinach salad with sesame dressing is more than a simple salad.
The salad is a Japanese take on the summer classic, making its favour profile in line with the tempura shrimp. The equally sweet and sour sesame sauce paired with the crunchy sesame seeds and the strong, slightly acidic spinach is a combination that can take your simple tempura shrimp to a whole new level.
Soy sauce, sake, and mirin help make the spinach salad dressing more recognisable as a Japanese dish without limiting the dish’s potential.
For instance, you could make a double batch of spinach salad with sesame dressing and serve the salad alongside pretty much any Japanese dish you like.
So long as you have the ingredients to hand, there are few salads that are as simple to make as Japanese spinach salad that packs so many flavours. You can even make a little extra of the sesame dressing and use it as an additional dipping sauce for the tempura shrimp itself, it is that tasteful.
Okay, so it may seem odd to pair good old French fries with a Japanese classic like tempura shrimp. However, the tempura batter used to fry the shrimp is not dissimilar to the batter used to fry fish served in traditional British fish and chip shops.
Tempura batter is more specific in its ingredients, requiring only egg yolks, iced water, and flour, while British batter is a lot less rigid. That being said, you could sort of treat tempura shrimp as a fancier take on fish and chips.
The key for this side dish is to stick with the typical flavours of British fish and chips, which is to say, very basic.
You can get fancy making your fries if you wish – a little extra salt and some parsley can go a long way. But to prevent masking the flavour of the shrimp itself, stick with some nicely salted fries.
Tempura Shrimp Accompaniments FAQs
Do you still have questions about what to serve alongside tempura shrimp? Then these FAQs might help you out:
A simple dip of soy sauce will work with tempura shrimp but, ideally, you want something a little more complex to cut through the oiliness. Try combining shallots, chillies, coriander, lemongrass with rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. You could also serve it with sriracha.
Simply steamed pak choi, grilled broccolini and roasted cauliflower will all work well alongside tempura shrimp. Season vegetables with a splash of soy sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil.
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.