Unlike heavily armored grasshoppers, beetles, and other land anthropods, tarantulas wear an outer layer of chitin that is comparatively thin and pliable. That's right: their eight muscular limbs are chewy, not crunchy. As such, the plentiful meat on one of these animals is more accessible and, hence, the makings for a savory spider soirée.
To make the batter, beat the egg in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Slowly add the cold water, continuing to beat until evenly mixed. Add the flour and baking soda and beat gently until combined; the batter should be a bit lumpy.
Let the batter sit at room temperature while heating the oil.
In a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer, heat the oil to 350 degrees.
With a sharp knife, sever and discard the abdomens from the two tarantulas. Singe off any of the spider’s body hairs with a crème brûlée torch or butane cigarette lighter.
Dip each spider into the tempura batter to thoroughly coat. Use a slotted spoon or your hands to make sure each spider is spread-eagled (so to speak) and not clumped together before dropping it into the hot oil.
Deep-fry the spiders, one at a time, until the batter is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Remove each spider from the oil and place it on paper towels to drain.
Use a sharp knife to cut each spider in two lengthwise. Sprinkle with the paprika and serve. Encourage your guests to try the legs first and, if still hungry, to nibble on the meat-filled mesothorax, avoiding the spider’s paired fangs, which are tucked away in the head region.