shrimp tempuraTempura comes as a surprise to most foreigners to learn that tempura was not originally a Japanese dish; it actually owes its origins to the visiting Portuguese missionaries of the sixteenth century. But tempura, like many imported ideas, gradually adapted itself to Japanese needs and tastes. Today Tempura is a very popular Japanese food, and as well one of the best known outside of Japan.

Seafood and vegetables are the raw materials of tempura, and only the freshest ingredients are used.

Ingredients for Tempura:

Shrimp, Squid, Green pepper, Eggplant, Sweet potato, Potato, Cabocha (Japanese pumpkin), Carrot, Shiitake Mushrooms, Renkon (lotus roots)

Basic Steps for Cooking Tempura:

1. Prepare the ingredients. (Cut into 3/4 inch in thickness. *See Tip 5 and 6)
2. Make tempura batter.
3. Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan to 340-350F degree. (*See Tip 4)
4. Lightly dip ingredients in the batter and immediately fry them until brown. It takes longer to fry vegetables than to fry seafood.
5. Drain tempura on a rack.
6. Serve right away with tentsuyu (tempura dipping sauce) or salt. Tempura is best served hot.

*Grated daikon radish is a common condiment.

Tips for Making Crispy Tempura:

Tip 1: Ice
Use ice water for the batter. This is really important to prevent the batter from absorbing too much oil. (Do not make the batter ahead of time.)

Tip 2: Batter
Try not to over mix the batter and not to coat ingredients with the batter too much.

Tip 3: Frying Order
If you are frying both seafood and vegetables, fry vegetables first. Then, fry seafood. Fry vegetables at 340F degree and fry seafood at 350F degree.

Tip 4: Oil Temperature
To check the temperature of frying oil, drop a little batter into the oil. If the batter comes up right away instead of sinking to the bottom of the pan, it’s about 360 F degree. If the batter goes halfway to the bottom and comes up, it’s about 340F degree. This is said to be the right temperature to fry tempura.

Tip 5: Shrimp
Make a couple incisions on the stomach side of each shrimp so that it stays straight. Then, pick it up by the tail and dip the body part in the batter. (Tempura Shrimp Recipe)

Tip 6: Squid
Remove the thin skin and lightly flour it before dipping in tempura batter so that it won’t splash much.

Tempura Variations:

* Kakiage is round mixed tempura. To make kakiage, mix left over tempura batter and thin strips or small pieces of several ingredients together. Take a scoop of the ingredients in a large spoon and slip them to 340F degree oil. Make kakiage into your favorite size. (Scallop Kakiage Recipe)

* Ten-don (Tempura Rice Bowl): Serve hot Japanese rice in a bowl. Dip tempura lightly in tentsuyu sauce. Place the tempura on top of rice.

* Tempura Udon/ Tempura Soba: Boil udon noodles/soba noodles (the boiling time varies depending on the types of noodles) and drain. Heat men-tsuyu in a pan and add the udon/soba noodles. Serve the udon/soba noodle soup in a bowl. Place tempura on top of the noodle soup.

Tentsuyu (tempura dipping sauce)

Ingredients:

* 2 cup dashi soup stock
* 1/2 cup mirin
* 1/2 cup soy sauce
* 1 tbsp sugar

How to Cook:

* Mix all ingredients in a pan.
* Put the pan on high heat and bring the sauce to a boil.
* Cool the sauce.

Basic Tempura Batter

Ingredients:

* 1 egg
* 1 cup ice water
* 1 cup all purpose flour

How to Cook:

* Beat an egg in a bowl.
* Add ice water in the bowl.
* Add flour in the bowl and mix lightly.
*Makes 4 servings
**Be sure to use very cold water.
*** Do not overmix the batter.

Shrimp Tempura

Ingredients:

* 12 large shrimps
* 1 egg
* 1 cup ice water
* 1 cup all purpose flour
* Vegetable oil for frying

How to Cook:

* Peel shrimp and make a couple incisions on the stomach side so that it stays straight.
* Beat an egg in a bowl.
* Add ice water in the bowl.
* Add flour in the bowl and mix lightly.
* Heat oil to 350 F degree in a deep pan.
* Pick shrimp up by the tail and dip the body part in the batter.
* Fry it until brown.
*Makes 4 servings
**Be sure to use very cold water.
*** Do not overmix the batter.

Source:Japanese cuisine – Tempura
Photo: cbcrabcakes.com

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