The shrimp should be headless with the shells on, but make sure they are not deveined with the backs cut open. In order to butterfly the shrimp, the back of the shrimp should be intact. It will hold both sides of the butterflied shrimp together. You’ll also keep the shrimp tails in place for the final dish.
Peel the shrimp, only leaving the small segment of shell that connects to the tail. If you like, you can scrape the tails to remove the liquid inside the tails, since we are deep-frying the shrimp.
Place the shrimp on its side with its underbelly facing you. Holding the shrimp with one hand, use the tip of your knife to split the tail shell.
Next, use a steady, yet light pressure to push the knife into the shrimp, splitting it evenly down the middle until it just reaches the outer membrane. Be sure to remove any sand tracts and give the shrimp a quick rinse if needed.
Pat the shrimp dry on both sides and use ¼ teaspoon of salt to lightly salt them (or salt to taste).
Making the batter:
Mix 3/4 cup all purpose flour and the rest of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add ice water and vegetable oil. Mix until a batter is formed, and set aside for 5 minutes.
Making the sauce:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon oil and add the ketchup. Fry for 30 seconds on low heat until it just begins to caramelize, and stir in white vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, and the cornstarch mixture.
Continue to stir the sauce until it is simmering. Once it is thick enough to coat a spoon, remove to a serving bowl and set aside.
Heat 3-4 cups of oil in a small pot to 325 degrees F (the oil level should be about halfway up the pot).
Place ¼ cup of all-purpose flour on a small plate, and lightly dredge the shrimp, shaking off any excess. Dip the shrimp into the batter, and let any excess batter drip off. You can use your own discretion here on how much batter to use. Some like a light batter and some like it heavier.
Carefully place the shrimp into the hot oil. Let the shrimp fry on one side and after 1 minute, turn the shrimp over. Once the shrimp is golden brown on all sides, transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Serve!
Fantail shrimp are best when eaten hot, but you can make your shrimp ahead of time. You can even freeze these fantail shrimp for up to 2 weeks. When you’re ready to serve, simply refry them in oil, reheat in an air fryer, or heat in the oven at 400 degrees F until warmed through.
Fantail Shrimp by The Woks of Life. Recipe URL: https://thewoksoflife.com/fantail-shrimp/