I love Japanese food – super duper love. Not just because of the way they cook which exemplifies simple, superb flavours but also their carefully and artfully crafted presentation. Tell me, have you ever seen a not so pretty looking Japanese dish presented to you before? For me, not really. The discovery of sushi, sashimi, tempura, teriyaki, kara age (to name a few) is one of the greatest food discovery ever enjoyed by most people and I just heart them.
Making tempura has always been a challenge for me because I just can’t seem to imitate the right texture of tempura – that crunchy, light and fluffy texture often found in specialist Japanese restaurants. Then I accidentally stumble on How to Make the Prefect Tempura by Tadashi Ono masterclass. Using the technique shared by Tadashi Ono, I can say that my tempura has seen a good daylight and the secret to light as feather tempura lies in a simple batter of flour, water, egg yolks and ice.
Seafood and Vegetable Tempura (adapted from Saveur)
8 fresh prawns, deveined & butterflied
4 fish fillet, sliced
4 shiitake mushrooms, cut an’X’ on the surface of mushroom
1 1/2 cups flour (for dredging)
2 cups flour (for batter)
2 egg yolks
2 cups cold water
1 1/4 cups ice cubes
1/8 tsp hondashi (Ajinomoto brand)
3/4 cup water
4 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp sake
2 tbsp mirin
3/4 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup daikon, peeled and finely grated
1 tbsp ginger, peeled and finely grated
(Matcha Green Tea Salt)
1/4 cup fine sea salt
1/2 tsp matcha green tea powder
1. Prepare and cut the prawns, fish fillet and vegetables. Set aside.
2. Fill a deep skillet with enough oil to cover the ingredients when deep fry. Heat the oil over medium heat up to 180 celsius. If the oil is too hot, the batter will burn. If the oil is not hot enough, the batter will turn soggy and not crisp up. So, remember to watch the temperature of the oil at all times.
3. Place 1 1/2 cups of flour on a clean plate for dredging.
4. To prepare the batter, place 2 egg yolks in a mixing bowl. Then pour 2 cups of cold water and mix lightly with chopsticks into the egg yolks. Pour ice cubes into the batter to help reduce gluten development. Add 2 cups of flour. Using four chopsticks, point the tips into the batter and stab at the batter until the batter becomes lumpy. You should see some a mixture of barely mixed flour in the batter.
5. The oil should be hot enough by now. Start by lightly dredging the butterflied prawn in flour by holding its tail. This will help the batter stick to the prawns. Then quickly dip the prawn in the batter.
6. Just before frying, add a few drops of sesame oil into the oil. Slowly lay the prawns into the oil. Be sure not to crowd the skillet and maintain the temperature at 180 celsius.
7. While the prawns cook in the oil, dip your finger tips into the batter and drizzle some directly on top of the prawns. This process will make the tempura crispier and more fluffy. Once the prawn turns golden about 3 minutes each, remove the prawns with a slotted spoon and set aside on paper towels to drain.
8. If you notice the small, golden batter bits floating in the skillet, use a slotted spoon to pick them up and set aside. These batter bits can be used to drizzle in the tentsuyu sauce or on the rice later.
9. Cook the rest of the ingredients with the same steps. Leave the vegetables 2 minutes longer or until cooked.
10. To make tentsuyu sauce, combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat until the sauce is steaming (when you see smoke coming out of the pan before boiling point). Remove and set aside.
11. To make matcha green tea salt, combine all ingredients in a small bowl, mix and set aside.
12. Serve with steamed rice and dipping sauces.