Three Cheese Macaroni

Comfort Food: Lasagna

BBQ Grilled Cheese

Pork Sandwiches

Tempura for my Valentines

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com.  

Sadly, I couldn't find soba noodles at my grocery store, so I ended up buying a Pad Thai kit and made that along with my tempura. Had I not just moved half way across the country, I would have considered making the noodles myself - another day.

This was the first meal I made in our new apartment. I mean come on - what's better than deep frying food in a newly cleaned place? Fortunately, it was about 50*F outside all day, so I had the window wide open to prevent a total grease-fest.  Tempura is simply a Japanese dish of deepfried vegetables and seafood. I used the typical frozen shrimp you can find at your grocery store - but I would recommend Tiger shrimp. It's much bigger and tastes great (what you'd typically find at a Japanese restaurant). I chose broccoli, carrots and sweet potatoes for my vegetables. I had recently tried some sweet potato tempura in Northampton, MA and thought it was great - so I knew that would be a good choice.

To prepare the vegetables for frying, either boil or steam them ahead of time so they become tender, but not mushy. I boiled mine for about 5 minutes (10 minutes for the sweet potato) and then quickly rinsed them in cold water and stuck them in the fridge. 

Frozen shrimp can be defrosted by simply soaking them in hot water. I bought pre-cooked shrimp, so they were 'ready-to-eat' once thawed. If you buy raw shrimp, it will fry long enough to cook all the way through.

When making tempura, everything must be cold, except the frying oil. 

Once the vegetables are cooled, smother them in flour and then return back to the refrigerator. The flour will allow the batter to stick better to the vegetables.  Do this with the shrimp also.

Next, heat up your deep fryer, or pour oil about an inch deep in saucepan.  Heat the oil to 350*F.  Next, get out a plastic dish to prepare your batter in and a larger, deep dish to hold an ice-water bath. Since we just moved, we hadn't filled the ice trays with water yet - so I improvised with my mini ice pack. 

It's best to get all of the ingredients ready before mixing them together in order to keep everything as cold as possible. It's also important to only mix the batter so much - it should be runny and lumpy.

Ingredients:

1 egg yolk from a large egg 
1 cup iced water
½ cup plain (all purpose) flour 
½ cup cornflour or cornstarch
½ teaspoon baking powder

Place the iced water into the plastic bowl. Lightly beat the egg yolk and gradually pour into the iced water, stirring (preferably with chopsticks) and blending well. Add flours and baking powder all at once, stroke a few times with chopsticks until the ingredients are loosely combined.  The batter should be runny and lumpy. 

Place the bowl of batter in the ice water bath to keep it cold while you are frying the tempura. The batter as well as the vegetables and seafood have to be very cold. The temperature shock between the hot oil and the cold veggies help create a crispy tempura.

You can now start frying your vegetables and shrimp.  Start with the vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, that won’t leave a strong odor in the oil. Dip them into the batter.  Slide them into the hot oil, deep frying only a couple of pieces at a time so that the temperature of the oil does not drop.

Place finished tempura pieces on a wire rack so that excess oil can drip off. Continue frying the other items, frequently scooping out any bits of batter to keep the oil clean and prevent the oil (and the remaining tempura) from getting a burned flavor.

If you are making a lot of tempura, place them on a cookie sheet in a 250*F oven to keep them crispy and warm until you are done frying.

Serve immediately for the best flavor, but they can also be eaten cold (but I don't recommend it).

I served the tempura with my cold Pad Thai noodles (made from a kit - easy to find in your grocery store and delicious) along with a small dish filled with green onion and soy sauce for dipping.

From what I could tell, my guests loved the meal. The broccoli and sweet potatoes were a big hit, as were the noodles. Tanoshimu! (enjoy!)

I made small chocolate cheesecakes for dessert - post to follow!

 Happy Valentine's Day!

2 comments:

Audax said...

You are sweetie making tempura and noodles for valentine's day and it looks wonderful I love the long notes on how to do the deep frying that will really help newbies. Well done great photos I adore the 1st photo the tempura batter is so thin and crisp looking.

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

February 15, 2011 at 8:22 PM
Anula said...

Love the look of your tempura - you did a lot of it - a real feast! :)
Great photos and you did a wonderful job - all looks delicious!
Pozdrawiam! Anula.

February 16, 2011 at 6:07 AM

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