Kara-Áge Shrimp

Kara-Áge Soy-Ginger Seasoned Coating Mix. Have you heard of this product, made by Kikkoman? I had not, until I recently received it as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. The packaging claims that, “Kara-age is one of the most popular cooking techniques in Japan,” and that “Kara-Áge makes the perfect fried chicken every time.” It sounded good!

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I decided to use one of the suggested variations on the box, and make fried shrimp instead of chicken. I tossed thawed, cleaned shrimp into a bag with a packet of the seasoning, to start. The Kara-Áge Soy-Ginger Seasoned Coating had the consistency of flour, and smelled strongly of powdered ginger.

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I am notoriously afraid to deep-fry, and notoriously afraid to crank the heat up high when cooking, for fear of starting a kitchen fire, however, I added a few tablespoons of canola oil to a hot skillet, and then added my seasoning-coated shrimp, and let cook for just a couple minutes on each side, turning a few times, until the seasoning browned and crisped. Once the shrimp appeared to be opaque, they were done.

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The coating itself functioned well – it adhered well to the shrimp, and didn’t fall off during cooking, and also crisped well. The Kara-Áge seasoning was also extremely simple to use, which is another plus.

The seasoning did soak up much of the oil, but that was most likely because my pan probably was not as hot as it should be.

However, the flavor was quite strong – a bit overbearing for my taste buds. The ginger just didn’t taste very authentic to me, the way that fresh gingerroot tastes. It was very apparent that the seasoning was from a box and not homemade. If I were to prepare shrimp using this method again, I would honestly prefer to make my own homemade seasoning with fresh gingerroot and soy sauce, instead of this powder. However, for busy folks in a pinch, this is a simple main dish that comes together in literally minutes, and might be worth a try.

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