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How to Tenderize Shrimp

Updated March 23, 2017

Succulent shrimp, floating in a sea of briny soup or stir fried with vegetables makes a sensational spring or summer supper. But too often shrimp can be tough and chewy rather than translucent, tender and crunchy. Asian cooking utilises a process often called " velveting" that tenderises shrimp with a mixture of baking soda or cornstarch. Some techniques use both. It just takes a few simple steps before cooking and can make the difference between a memorable meal and one you might like to forget.

Place one pound of peeled and deveined shrimp into a large bowl. Add enough ice cold water to submerge all the shrimp.

Add 1 tbsp of baking soda to the bowl. Stir to distribute evenly in the water.

Wait up to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your shrimp. Smaller shrimp should take less time. Rinse shrimp completely. Shrimp should begin to look translucent.

Drain off all excess water and dry shrimp, using paper towels. Add 1 tsp of egg whites and 1 1/2 tsp of tapioca starch to the bowl containing the shrimp. Use your hands to coat the shrimp with this mixture. Cover bowl and let shrimp marinate in refrigerator for at least four hours before using in your favourite recipe.

Things You'll Need

  • One pound peeled and deveined shrimp
  • Large bowl
  • Ice water
  • Heaping tbsp baking soda
  • Egg whites
  • Tapioca starch
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About the Author

Dan Boone has been writing since 1999. His work has appeared on CaribbeanChannel.com and he wrote for the "Virgin Voice" magazine and its website, Virgin Voices. Boone has a Bachelor of Arts in composition and arranging from Berklee College of Music in Boston. He also holds a certificate in digital-sound engineering from the Trebas Institute in Montreal.