Ebi-furai can fortuitously be pronounced ‘ebi fry’ and that’s what it is: shrimp fry. It’s not katsu - I’ve spent some time around various websites featuring katsu, tonkatsu and such, only to find that there is no ebi katsu.
Without coming over all Japanese (I wish), for the folks at home these are scampi. Scampi, as in a £3.50 portion of breaded prawns, with or without chips, once wrapped in a newspaper, now regrettably in a Styrofoam box.
The Japanese version however is in a different league, just like their okonomiyaki is not your ordinary latkes. First of all: Panko breadcrumbs, the best in the world (and guess what, I actually have them homemade, from the tangzhong milk bread, ha!). Secondly, coating and coating so that the shrimp is well wrapped up and protected from the vicious oil, thus staying succulent. Third – you’ve got to straighten the shrimp.
So I tried shouting out at them in a big voice: ‘Atten-SHUN!!’ and then even ‘Stand Ho!’ figuring the shrimp have an affinity to the sea, but it didn’t work. I had to get physical but their posture soon improved dramatically.
There’s the fourth element to ebi-fry and that happily ends in -katsu: tonkatsu sauce which is also served with the pork and chicken fry-up. Awesome it is too: and dead easy, only about a dozen ingredients to mix together. But joking aside – it’s so good I wish there was an odd chippy run by the Japanese around here.