How about going Japanese for dinner? It may be a bit complicated, but the sense of accomplishment and your family’s thumbs up will be worth all the trouble. Prepare your ingredients a little at a time earlier during the main event to keep you from getting stressed. This means prepping the shrimps, the batter, and the tempura sauce ahead of time.
Grate some ginger (a thumb), shape it into tiny cones using your fingers, and set them on a plate. Keep it in the ref. Combine 1/4 cup Kikkoman Soy Sauce and 3/4 cup of water. Microwave for a minute. Add a half-teaspoon (or less) of sugar. Always do a taste test first. Later during the meal, microwave it again just to keep it warm and serve it in those dipping bowls with a tiny cone of ginger.
Get about 12 of those big ones. Shell it but keep the tail intact. Chop off the end of the tails. Using a sharp knife, slash the belly, and the sides of the shrimp (that’s a total of 3 cuts). Pound prawns from the back or push with fingers to set them straight. Pat dry using paper towels and set aside.
It’s very important for the batter to stay cold, so make sure you use ice water. For good measure, put the batter bowl in a bigger bowl filled with ice. Keep it in the ref until you need it. To make it, beat a large egg, add 1 cup of ice water, and a cup of flour.
Prepare a skimmer, and a tray with paper towels to put the tempura in. Use a wok and heat the oil making sure that it’s just below smoking point. Test it by cooking a few drops of batter. It should stop half way and surface right away. Now cook the prawns one at a time. Dip into the batter and gently lay it in the oil. You may want to drip a few drops onto the shrimp to have that nice batter effect. Make sure you cook it only for a couple of minutes. Do not make it golden brown. And also, take out the little bits of batter using the skimmer otherwise they’ll burn. This whole process could be messy so just be prepared for it.
Serve the tempura with the dipping sauce above. You may also want to use squid (cut to bite size pieces, dry with paper towel, and dredge first with flour) and osohos/kisu/smelt (remove head, cut from the back to the belly without cutting through and debone. It should be joined at the belly). Also, make it more “japanese” by buying those instant Miso soup mix from those groceries with a Japanese aisle. Just follow directions.
As for the Japanese rice, you might want to google for the recipe.