Archives for the day Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Japanese cooking; Tempura

 When you are watching cooking shows on TV, you are exposed to see variety of produce,herbs,spice, cooking techniques, and  flavors from around the world.  It is interesting enough to make people to be encouraged to try cooking by themselves. However,when it comes to authenticity, it is sometimes compromised in ingredients or flavor.

I am particularly interested in skim through ingredients that celebrity chef put to make Japanese dish. Some recipes come closer to real taste of our cuisine but, it is different flavor from what I remember growing up with.

Most tempura recipe you can find online is good by its own,but when it comes to dipping sauce,it is far away from our authentic taste. Sometimes,ingredients are off.

So,I thought I would write on how to make authentic Tempura batter and Tempura dipping sauce,and how you can use the leftover tempura,and my version of Tempura ingredients.

All you need to make Tempura batter is,water,flour,and Egg. Many families would have the 3 key ingredients all the time. So,it is good for quick fix for quick supper.

First thing you need to think about is,what you are going to use for Tempura.

My mother used to make tempura with following items.

*Sliced sweet potato with skin on
*Sliced Green peppers
*sliced Onion
* Julienned carrots
*Sliced Eggplants with skin on
*shell off,tail off shrimp (you need to devein)
* cut-up green beans
*fish fillet
*Squid strip(cut to bite-sized)

My version of Tempura ingredients are as following

*Sliced Green peppers
*sliced Onion
* Julienned carrots

* cut-up green beans
*bite size chopped baby corn (my husband’s favorite)
*sliced water chestnut (my favorite,because it gives you nice crunchiness when you bite)
*shell off,tail off shrimp (you need to devine)

** I usually devein my shrimp with toothpicks. It is safer and easier than using knife.**

One rest area vendor in Japan highway had potato fried up in oil and sprinkled kosher salt.I think batter is similar to donut batter but it was our favorite to pick up of we happened to stop at the particular rest area in highway in Japan. You can try with peeled potato and see how it comes out.

So,now you know what you like to fry-up,so prepare the ingredients and while you are chopping,prepare the oil to get hot. I recommend to use deep pan and don’t fill out more than half of the height. Ideally,it is good to use wide surface,deep pan for this,but I cook for just two people,so I tend to use heavy deep stainless steel pan with height of 5-6 inch tall or so.

I use vegetable oil for general Tempura.

To check if the oil is ready, you can use thermometer or you can drop one small bits of bread into oil and if it bubbly and floated to top right away,it means the oil is ready to use.

Now,you are ready to make tempura batter.

<Tempura batter>

1. In the bowl,pour ice cold chilled 200cc water (about little over 3/4C),and crack 1 Egg,and stir well

2. Put 1.5C of shifted all purpose flour,gently mix until the state some of the flour floating up,and stop stirring (If you mix real well and let it stand long,the batter gets heavy and does not make good bradding)

When your oil is ready to fry,put the tempura ingredients into batter, and drop them into oil

When tempura got crispy enough,pick it up,drain the oil (My mother told me to hold the tempura above the oil and shake a little and stay about 10 seconds to drain oil .) and put the hot tempura onto plate that are lined with paper towel, and sprinkle kosher salt while it is still hot.

**This tempura batter amount is probably enough about making 2-3 people adult serving**

<Tempura dipping sauce>

In the pan,pour 200 cc water (a little over 3/4C), 3 tablespoon of soy sauce(I recommend extra fancy whole bean soy sauce from kikkoman Japan that has just 4 ingredients. Some soy sauce has caramel coloring or other preservatives,check the label before buying. ) , 1.5 table spoon of Mirin(sweet rice wine), and 1/2 table spoon of white sugar. Stir well and simmer in the pan a little until sugar dissolve.

** My favorite brand of Mirin is Orange bottle of Morita brand,Honjozo Mirin.You can find them at Asian store**

When tempura is ready, serve this dipping sauce with choice of grated Japanese horseradish (daikon) or sliced lemon so that people can add in if they wanted to. I like the one with horseradish because it gives a little kick/zing to the sauce.

My other version of Tempura dipping sauce is mixture of ketchup and Worcester sauce.I use this to Okonomiyaki(Japanese savory pancake). I usually put more Worcester sauce than ketchup but it gives zing to your tongue and tastes good.

<Leftover tempura>

When you had leftover tempura,you can use toaster to crisp up again and eat it as is but also can use it to something else. Japan has dish called “Tempura Udon”. Udon is thick noodle with color of white. You can usually buy at local grocery store or Asian store. If you live in VA,I see them at Hmart(Asian store) in Fair fax or Ukrop store.

So,when you make Tempura Udon,you need to get Udon package. Here in US,you find all kind of flavored package but for this specific usage,pick the one with flavored of “Oriental”.

My favorite brand is Myojo,and green colored package with Japanese letters “Udon” on front(7.22oz).The package say “Japanese style noodles with soup base.

One package for 1 adult person. So,you can estimate how much package you need,and follow the direction on back of the package to make Udon.

My tip here is that,when your water got boiled,and ready to put udon, cut the udon package in half and then drop to water.Udon is generally long string so,this way,you get shorter noodle and easy to eat.

So, when you made Udon,plate them up and top the Udon with crisp Tempura.

This is what we call “Tempura Udon”. It is good taste to eat with Udon

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Mar 11, 2009 | 2 | Asian cooking 911