Sunday, 12 February 2012

Vegetable Tempura

As promised, here I am, posting recipes after a long silence from my blog. I made vegetable tempura for New Year dinner at mine, and my guests like them very much. For those who don't know what tempura is, please check this out. Alright, so now at least you know Japanese tempura are battered and deep fried stuff ( can be vegetable or seafood). Well, the Japanese tempura are light and crispy, and so deliciously good. There are few rules to follow to get it right :

Drying the veg

  1. Do not mix the batter too much-Reason for this is that if you beat your batter the gluten will develop and will make your batter heavy and soggy after frying.  Just use a chopstick and stir lightly/gently. No worry about the flour not mixing well or there is lump in the batter. Believe me, this texture will give you the  lightest and crispiest tempura.
  2. Few things that need to be cold (I mean icy cold). Please use icy cold water for mixing the flour. Normally I also tend to put my mixing bowl and flour in the freezer before I start mixing my batter.Prepare some ice cubes too in case you're preparing it in warm environment.
  3. Ensure that your ingredients for frying ( ie vegetables and seafood) is as dry as possible (note: not de-hydrated ) . Normally I will cut the vegetable and pat them dry with kitchen towel and leave to dry on wire rack at least 4 hours before I fry them. 
  4. Use a frying pan that can retain heat and distribute heat well. Cast iron pan or copper based pan is ideal. As the batter is icy cold, the ability to retain the heat of the oil throughout frying is essential to get that light crispy texture.
  5. Don't try to be impatient and drop all your items into the frying oil at one go. This will cause the temperature of the frying oil to drop and you'll end up with soggy tempura. Some of you may ask , how do I test if my oil is hot enough for frying? Drop a trickle of batter into the hot oil, if it's hot enough, the batter will float immediately. I normally fry 3 items only at one go to ensure that the temperature remain constant.
  6. Once your item is in the frying pan, you don't have to interfere with  it, just let it fry and float in the hot oil for a minute or two until golden brown, then just flip once....done.
  7. Remember to drain off the excess oil once the item is out from the pan. Use oil absorbing paper to drain.
  8. Make a small batch, so that they will always taste fresh and crispy once you served them.
With these tips in mind, you'll be back for more tempura I promise.

The batter, I drop in some ice cubes to keep it icy cold

Vegetable Tempura
Ingredients (4 portions as starters)

Crispy vegetable tempura

French bean tempura

  • 16 French bean (trimmed)
  • 4 slices of aubergines (5mm thick)
  • 1 medium Pepper-can be green, red, yellow, orange. Cut into bite size
  • 4 slices of sweet potatoes (5mm thick)
  • 3 tbsp self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 cup of icy cold water
  • Few ice cubes(optional)
  • 1 litre of vegetable cooking oil
  1. Sift the flour ( self raising+corn flour) into the mixing bowl.
  2. Pour the oil into the pan and heat on medium heat.
  3. Make a hole in the middle of the flour, pour the icy water into the hole. Gently use a pair of chopstick and lightly mix the flour. Don't worry if it's lumpy and doesn't look very well mix. The less you mix the better it is. 
  4. Check if the oil is ready for frying. (Remember the tip)
  5. Coat your item with batter and drop it into the hot oil. I coat French bean in a pair and consider it an item. Fry three items at one go. 
  6. Fry for 1 minute or two until lightly golden and flip over for another minute. Drain.
  7. Continue until done.
  8. Served while it's piping hot with dipping sauce (dashi stock+soy sauce+mirin+sugar)
Crispy French bean tempura
And believe it or not, it was  minus 12deg C on Saturday over here early in the morning. Very cold but absolutely stunning scenery.....Frosted and frozen in time. I went for a walk in the morning and got these pictures.

The row of trees got frosted

Beautiful scenery

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