Sunday 26 September 2010


The method of 'Tempura' was introduced centuries ago by Europeans living in Japan, The Portuguese and Spanish who established missions in Southern Japan in the late 16th century. The dish caught on and the Japanese added the thin, delicate dipping sauce mixed with grated diakon. By now tempura has passed so thoroughly into native Japanese cuisine that its origin has almost been forgotten.
Here are a few pics of some Tempura vegetables and some lovely tempura lemon sole.
A few really important things to consider when making a tempura batter are that the batter must not be mixed to thoroughly, use chopsticks or your finger tips rather than a whisk, never overwork the batter as it will become to thick and gluey and just form a thick batter over the vegetable instead of a light, crisp coating. The oil must be kept at a constant temperature of between 180 and 190 degrees c., The temperature will lover if to many items are added to the oil at on time, if the oil is not hot enough then the batter will be soggy. Also make sure that the batter is ice cold and ideally contains small pieces of ice, these 'explode' on impact with the hot oil and create a really crispy, rough coating to your vegetables.

Recipe, Tempura,

2 egg yolks,
2 cups of ice water, with small pieces of ice still in it!
2 cups of tempura flour.
A selection of elegantly prepared vegetables or finger sized slices of fish such as Lemon or Dover (more expensive) sole.

Tempura batter does not need to rest, in Tempura restaurants in Japan, small batches are made throughout service, so make yours just before you fry.
Lightly beat the egg yolks, then pour in the icey water and give it a light whisk with chopsticks. Add the flour, all at once, 'stroke' a few times with the chopsticks until all of the ingredients are loosely combined, the batter should be very lumpy.
Dust the vegetables (or fish) in flour and pat any excess off, then dip in the batter and then carefully dip into the preheated (180-190) vegetable oil. Fry until crisp and golden, serve immediately.

Make a simple tempura dipping sauce by mixing,

1 cup of Dashi,
1/3 of a cup of Mirin
1/3 of a cup of Soy sauce.

Warm to about 90 degrees c, just before boiling point, then remove from the heat and add 1 tbspn of grated diakon, stir and serve.

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