“Kakiage” is a very popular form of Tempura in Japan, especially in homes as it can make use of whatever is available on any particular day.
The main difference with usual tempura is whole eggs are used for better consistency and taste as it is very often served over a bowl of freshly steamed rice.
In restaurants, depending on the level of the chefs, all kinds of kakiage are served and make for hearty meals, even for big caucasians.
Shizuoka has a specialty that everyone in Japan wishes to sample: sakura ebi/cherry shrimps kakiage that I have already introduced.
Below is the basic recipe. I refrained from giving exact proportions as everyones can easily improvise.
-Etc… there is no restriction!
-Thin, light (cookie) flour: 1 cup
-Water: 1 cup
-Egg (whole) 1
Above is basic, which can multiplied equally
Above is picture of what was included in that particular kakiage. Notice the kabocha and peas in their pods! Let your imagination fly!
Cut the vegetables into thin strips, no longer than 5 cm/ 2 inches and all of the same size (important!). Cut cuttle fish, shrimps into according size.
Prepare the ingredients for the batter. You don’t chasing them around later!
Important: All three ingredients should have been kept in the fridge to chill them all down to the same temperature.
Beat the egg lightly, not too much. Add water and mix lightly, not too much.
Divide the kakiage ingredients into single portions into different bowls.
In each single bowl add flour and egg water to ingredients, thinking of batter proportions.
For example, 4 portions: 4 equal portions of flour and 4 equal proportions of egg water you have prepared beforehand.
Now, you could all mix everything into the same bowl and make kakiage into 4 batches. The problem is that there is a good chance of 4 portions unequal in proportion, consistency and taste!
Mix ingredients with flour and egg water roughly. Not too much or the kakiage will get hard and look like overfried fritters!
Add a little sesame oil to the salad oil to season oil and according to your preference. Bear in mind that too little oil will mean that the oil temperature will rise too quickly.
The perfect temperature before plunging the kakiage in is 175 degrees Celsius.
Using a ladle drop one portion into oil.
You may need a couple of long wooden chapsticks to keep the ingredients from separating at first and keeping the whole thing into a rough circle.
As for the ladle, a wooden one would be best if available.
As soon as the lower side has solidified turn the kakiage over.
Fry turning 2 or 3 more times for equal even frying until you are staisfied with colour.
Don’t overcook, but don’t undercook either.
You will learn quickly by sampling them later!
Rest the kakiage for a little time over a grill or kitchen paper to get rid of excess oil.
Now, you can serve as it is on a bowl ofresh rice or dip it (break it then) into a tempura dashi soup stock you will have prepared and heated beforehand.
My preference is to season it with a little matcha powder mixed with fine salt.
You may season the kakiage beforehand by sprinkle ingredients with a little salt and pepper or add the same tothe flour.
Here is another great way to serve it with leftover steamed rice.
Fill a bowl with leftover rice (even cold, but not chilled), palce the kakiage on top, top the kakiage with thinly cut dry seaweed, and pour hot green tea onto the rice!
It is called: “Kakiage Chazuke”!