Ebi furai is a fried prawn or shrimp which is covered with flour, egg, and bread crumbs before it’s deep fried. “Ebi” means prawn or shrimp, and “furai” means fry. The cuisine was invented in the early 1900’s when “yo-shoku,” a Westernised Japanese dishes started to become popular.
In a cooking book which was published in 1906 introduced a menu called “ebi-katsuretsu” which can be translated into prawn cutlet. Before prawn cutlet was introduced, pork cutlet was created by the restaurant “rengatei” in Tokyo. The chef there tried to deep fry seafood like pork cutlet, and succeeded to cook ebi furai.
Japanese people love to eat prawns and shrimps. In the Edo period (1603-1867), prawns landed in the Kamakura area were called “kamakura-ebi,” and is now called “ise-ebi.” “ise-ebi” is the most expensive kind of prawn in Japan.
One of the most famous prawns in Japan is “kuruma-ebi” which is tiger prawn. In the Taisho period (1912-1926), many medium sized prawns landed in Tokyo bay, and they were called “taisho-ebi” which is the same as “kuruma-ebi.”
At many “yo-shoku” restaurants, “kurumaebi” is regularly used to cook ebi furai. If you order ebi furai, two or three fried prawns are neatly lined up on a plate, served with shredded cabbage. You can either choose tartar sauce or worcester sauce to be poured on ebifurai.
In 1962, a fishery company introduced frozen ebi furai which can be easily cooked at home. Frozen ebi furai usually sold at supermarkets use smaller white leg shrimp and black tiger shrimp.
Ebi furai not only comes on a plate, but also comes on a ball of rice, which is called “ebikatsu-don.” “Ebikatsu” is an abbreviation of “ebi-katsuretsu,” and when it is served, ebi furai are topped on rice.