Tempura is not difficult to make. If you keep to the basics and good ingredients, you will be able to make a lot of people happy with healthy and beautiful food.
The following instructions should be amply enough to succeed with this celebarted Japanese gastronomic marvel:
What can you fry as tempura?
-Any green or not vegetable as long as they are cut to the appropriate size. Avocado and pumpkin can be made as tempura!
Important: try to keep all vegetables cut to the same size.
If consistency and thickness varies, sort them out accordingly in compatible batches. The frying will be more even, avoiding disappointing discrepancies.
Wash and dry vegetables.
-Any white-fleshed fish, crustaceans and shellfish. Clean and wipe off excessive humidity. Fry them separately from the vegetables. Some red-fleshed fish can be made as tempura, but they are a bit of an acquired taste.
In short, don’ be afraid of experimenting!
Vegans and Vegetarians
Before we go any further, vegans and vegetarians can make tempura. Replace the egg white with cornstarch. Wheat flour allergics can use other flour types, keeping in mind they have to be of the kight-weight and fine sort.
-If you use frozen ingredients, make sure to thaw them completely and wipe off all excess water!
-Use an equal amount of fine light flour and pure water.
1 cup of water for 1 cup of flour and 1 egg white are the right proportions.
-Flour, water and egg, not only must be at the same temperature, but must be chilled! leave them together in the fridge before using!
The batter should be prepared at the last moment after all the ingredients have been cut and laid on the table, the oil brought to the right temperature and the sauces or spices prepared and laid on the table!
-First mix water and egg white (or cornstarch/not too much with that one!). Then pour on the flour and mix lightly.
Do not overmix! Flour blobs should still be there! This is the secret for fluffy, light tempura!
Fish, crustaceans and shellfish may be completely dipped in the batter as well as rounded or stick-shaped vegetables including slices of onions, kabocha or avocado.
But in the case of large leafy vegetables such as shiso/perilla or large flat mushrooms such as shiitake, dipping only one side (back side for leaves!) in batter is preferable, otherwise you will end up with masses of fried batter!
Actually, in the case of fish, it is better to dip only the skin side in the batter.
Use clean fresh oil!
Use salad oil of your preference and sesame oil in a 6:4 ratio.
Bad oil or old oil is bad for your health.
If the oil keep bubbling on upon being heated, change it!
-The usual temperature is 180 degrees Celsius, but the ideal is 170 degrees Celsius.
Note: 160 degrees Celsius is not hot enough!
-Use a relatively thin pan for frying as the temperature of the oil will fall down by 4 degrees Celsius when food is plunged into the oil. The oil has to reach its former temperature back as soon as possible.
-Fry vegetables before fish or seafood as the latter’s proteins will change the character of the oil.
-Do not crowd the oil. Drop everything in the middle in small batches.
-Do not overfry. Experience will tell you when to take ingredients out.
-Do not fry twice! Full stop!
Serve on a piece of kitchen paper after having put the ingredients on a grill for a few seconds to get rid of the excess oil.
-Personally I eat tempura as it is without anything, but if I use seasoning I like the following:
Curry mixture powder
Now,if you want to dip your tempura in soup/tsuyu, you can prepare it as follows:
Dashi (konbu/seweed dashi for veganas and vegetarians!): 5 (or 4)
Soy sauce: 1 (or 2)
Mirin/sweet sake: 1
Heat the whole a little before serving.
-You may use freshly grated daikon, lemon juice or a light dressing of your choice for further seasoning.