Ebi refers to a style of preparing shrimp in Japan. Traditionally, you prepare the shrimp by “butterflying” them- That means that they are split open from the bottom and laid out flat.
Butterfly shrimp can be use on maki, but it was originally used on nigiri. So I will show the process of making the shrimp and using it for nigiri .
For this tutorial you will need:
- Black Tiger Shrimp– really any large shrimp will do the trick, but Black Tiger Shrimp works the best
- Bamboo skewers
- Cooking Pot
- Large bowl or small tubs
Make sure that your shrimp is completely thawed out before you start.
- Using your thumb on the spine and your fingers on the feet, straighten out the shrimp.
- Take a skewer and pierce the shrimp from head to tail, aiming for the vain along the top. If you successfully hit the vain, you should feel very little resistance!
- Repeat the previous step until you have skewered enough shrimp for your appetite.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. I usually do this as I’m skewering the shrimp – that way you don’t have to wait for your water to boil.
- Boil the shrimp for about 60 – 90 seconds, or until the meat turns completely white. You want the shrimp to feel firm.
Optional: add a dash of lemon juice, salt, or paprika to taste. You can use all three or any combination if you choose.
- After the shrimp have turned a nice orange/white color and have become firm, take them out and put them into an ice bath (Ice and water in a bowl). This helps make sure that the shrimp don’t continue to cook.
- Once the shrimp are cold, peel off the shells, but leave the tip of tails on. This is purely for aesthetic reasons. I leave the tails on in case I want to make Ebi nigiri. If you are only planning on using the shrimp on a roll, you can remove the tails.
Now we get to the fun part: Cutting Ebi
- Turn the shrimp belly side up. With a serrated knife, cut the shrimp from head to tail, making sure to only cut about half way down.
- Next, push straight down, making sure not to make a slicing motion with the knife. This will ensure that we don’t cut completely through the shrimp. Also note, this step only works if you’re using a serrated knife.
- See all of that brown stuff on the inside? That’s shrimp poop. It needs to be rinsed off for obvious reasons. I generally rinse off each piece as a sanitary precaution.
- That’s essentially it for making Ebi. This last step is optional: you can chose to marinate the shrimp in ginger juice over night. This will help make the shrimp firm and have a little more flavor.
Once the shrimp is made, the steps are identical to making standard nigiri. Be sure to pat dry your butterfly shrimp with paper towels before using them! Check out the Nigiri page for more details.
If you would like to use the ebi on maki (sushi rolls), then be sure to remove the tail fins at the end. That way you don’t accidentally eat them!