What do you think is the most known Japanese word?
SAYO（U)NARA, ARIGATO（U), FUTON, SUSHI, RAMEN, SOBA, TOFU,,,and,,,
Today I would like to show how to make tempura.
To be honest with you, I didn’t cook tempura often in Japan because we have tempura specialty restaurants.
Like sushi, frying tempura needs lots of experience and technique.
We make chirashi zushi (sushi) at home, but we don’t make regular sushi since we know we couldn’t do well like sushi chefs.
Chirashi zushi is sushi rice in a bowl mixed with lots of ingredients, most of which are vegetables.
I made sushi rice, using black rice this time. Black rice reacts with vinegar and turns to be pink, so I wanted to make this pink rice in spring, thinking of cherry blossoms in my country.
WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!!
I think chirashi sushi is like,,,
this, isn’t it?
Yes, this is also called chirashi sushi.
I should probably write more about sushi in near future.
Today’s topic is TEMPURA!! (REMEMBER??!!)
The reason I wanted to make tempura today was because I had a bottle of frozen water, which was forgotten in the freezing car.
We need ice cold water to make good tempura.
The reason is because we don’t want batter of tempura to be gooey with gluten. The higher the temperature is, the more gluten is produced. Using ice water, we can make minimize the production of gluten. It might be much better to chill flour until we use.
when I found this poor bottle, I said, OK, I could use that!
I decided to make tempura soba, which is a hot noodle soup with tempura.
That is also one of the popular soba dishes in Japan.
Today I focus only on tempura. (Please remind me! I often go to the other direction!)
Among a variety of tempura, I would like to make kakiage style, which is a mixture of vegetables and other ingredients fried in batter.
I wish I had shrimp, but I didn’t, so I went vegetarian.
Here are the ingredients for today’s kakiage.
- 1 small carrot
- about 1/4 of medium size onion
- ice water
- canola oil
- hijiki (optional)
- ao nori (optional)
You could use regular onion here. The reason I used purple onion today was because it was too pungent!! I tried several methods to get rid of this pungency, but I failed, so I decided to use this onion not for eating raw but for cooking. The heating process changes the pungency to sweetness.
By the way, do you know what the green bottle is in the picture right?
That is AONORI, green laver.
Aonori has strong flavor, so I often use this when I want to add some punch to dishes.
I would like to put aonori in the batter.
For vegetables, you also use corn, bamboo shoot, snap peas, asparagus, green beans and even carrots leaves!
I also add some seaweed called hijiki with vegetables. That is one of my favorite food. I put this in my salad almost every day!
It is sold dry, so we need to hydrate this before using.
Once you prepare the vegetables, start heating the oil, and let’s move on to the batter.
As I mentioned above, the water has to be very cold to make tempura crisp.
For the batter, water and flour is 1:1 ratio.
I only make 4 small kakiage this time, so I only use 1/4 cup of water and the same amount of flour.
When you mix them together, use chopsticks to avoid over-mixing.
Open chopsticks wide, and mix roughly. Some flour has to be remained.
Remember? We don’t want to produce gluten here.
I should have added aonori before mixing with water, but it is fine.
Add aonori if you have ,and now you put this batter into the vegetables.
Before adding, coat 1/4 egg with the vegetables , and then add just a little bit of flour to cover them.
This makes vegetables stick together and makes frying easier.
(I used egg white in the bottle.)
Then add some of the batter into vegetables.
Heat the oil until it gets 340F.
It might be easier using the shallow pan, that way you could slide the vegetables from the side.
Spoon some vegetables and slide it into the oil.
Don’t overcrowd the pan!
Otherwise they get soggy.
The tempura chef often say “don’t look! Listen the sound!”.
You may be able to recognize the change of the sound.
The sound gets high and short when they are ready.
Do they look delicious to you?
Usually we eat this with dipping sauce, but this time I will put this into soba noodle soup, so I didn’t make dipping sauce.
If you want to eat this as it is and you don’t have dipping sauce, you can try this like I did.
Can you guess what the green powder is?
This is Matcha Salt!
I just mix matcha powder and salt. This is very simple but very good.
We decided to eat some with mathca salt, and some in the soba noodle in the soup.
What do you think?
You might want to add some shichimi (Japanese seven spices) like we do.
Would you like to try to make tempura at home?
It is simple and easy. Just experience.