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Camaron rebosado is a Filipino dish of battered, pan-fried shrimp that have usually been marinated in lemon juice. This dish is similar to shrimp tempura, but the batter is somewhat more dense and thicker than tempura batter. Camaron rebosado usually comes served with sweet and sour sauce.
The word camaron means shrimp, and rebosado means overflowing or overflowed, making this dish overflowed shrimp. The batter used for camaron rebosado is usually a mix of flour, cornstarch, and salt with milk and eggs. Some cooks stir the mix sparingly, leaving a few tiny lumps in the mix, which affects the texture of the batter. The batter is intentionally made with a mild, borderline bland flavor to create a crunchy background for the flavorful sauce.
Camaron rebosado is generally made with large shrimp. To prepare them for this dish, the shrimp are cleaned and deveined, but the tail is left on the shrimp. Removing the vein in the belly of the shrimp is a vital step because the material inside it can make the shrimp unpleasantly sandy and gritty when eaten. This recipe can also be made with prawns.
Chefs use various techniques to make their unique versions of camaron rebosado. One type of camaron rebosado is made using toothpicks so the shrimp, which naturally curl when they are fried, stay straight as a stick. For straight shrimp, cooks straighten the shrimp on a toothpick before battering. They then fry the shrimp on the stick, and remove the stick when the shrimp has drained and cooled a bit.
Achieving the proper oil temperature is important to get shrimp that are non-greasy while crispy and browned on the outside and cooked tenderly on the inside. Oil that is not hot enough will make the food greasy, and it will overcook the shrimp before it browns the batter. Too-hot oil may brown the batter before cooking the shrimp.
An easy way to ensure that oil is at a proper temperature for frying camaron rebosado is to drop a popcorn kernel or two in the heating oil. When the popcorn pops, the oil is hot enough to fry the shrimp. It is important to remove the popped corn from the oil before frying. Another way to test the cooking oil temperature is to dip a wooden cooking utensil, like a chopstick or spatula, into the hot oil. The oil should bubble lightly when it is at the right temperature for frying, while rapid bubbles indicate that the oil is too hot.