In this video of a chef deep frying shrimp, he repeatedly applies more batter to the shrimp, clearly touching the oil over and over. Does the batter protect your fingers? Is it just a short enough time to not be burned? It seems like this shouldn't be possible in oil hot enough to cook meat. Is this a safe practice?

  • 2
    Presumably you meant tempura chefs rather than sushi chefs?
    – user110084
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 16:09
  • @user110084 Aren't most tempura chefs sushi chefs and vice versa? The guy is the video was certainly also a sushi chef.
    – J.Todd
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 17:17
  • 4
    The norm is not. Outside of Japan, anything goes. There are plenty of small restaurant owners in Japan who can do multiple disciplines but they tend to regard themselves as owners or cooks rather than chefs. There is extreme pride (rather than snobbery) that goes with such narrow specialisations. Hard to compare with other cuisines.
    – user110084
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 19:01

2 Answers 2


Because his fingers are covered in the tempura batter, which forms a very thin protective shell. Also note that he's in and out very quickly - he doesn't let his fingers just sit in the oil.


Mostly, experience with working with frying oil.

And a bit of science:

The cook probably has his hand wet, and when he touches the oil, the heat from the oil forms a thin steam barrier between his hand and the oil.

See this related video about dipping a hand in molten lead.


  • 9
    DO NOT stick wet hands in hot oil. The water won't do a damn thing to insulate you. You'll burn yourself, and possibly start a fire. Commented May 19, 2017 at 0:06
  • 1
    Yeah, and I think the tempura cooked in molten lead was kind of heavy... Commented May 19, 2017 at 8:28
  • @MikeBaranczak That is not correct
    – paparazzo
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 0:09
  • 3
    @Paparazzi - How so? I know water does not insulate from heat, a moist hand towel, when used as a potholder, wicks heat right through and scorches one's hands while a dry one insulates and can be safely used. Is oil that much different when heated? Or is it bare hands that are more insulated?
    – Megha
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 10:59
  • @Megha Heat of vaporization
    – paparazzo
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 11:36

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