One of my favourite foods is tempura. It is easy to do as long as one gets the batter right and the oil temperature just so. Easy IT IS NOT! It’s like saying juggling Samurai swords is simple as long as you don’t lose your concentration or your hands.
In Samurai sword analogy terms, a couple of previous attempts have led to the latter. The soggy battered mess that I prepared made me think of committing Seppuku. I had given up in despair until the Wife suggested that It might be a ‘nice’ alternative to grilling some brill. When the Wife suggests, I spring into action, faster than you can say “Don’t bleed on that kimono.”
I have two ingredients shots for this post. I tempuraed (is there such a word) a variety of stuff including brill, prawns, spring onions, chilis, ginger, pepper, white asparagus and sugar snap peas.
The second ingredients shot is the more important because it contains the batter ingredients.
For the batter you will need:
- 80 grammes of flour
- 80 grammes of cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- A bottle of soda water
The most important thing to do is to put the soda water in the freezer for an hour before making this batter. Once the batter is made, you need to move like an attacking Ninja. So, get all the vegetable and fish chopping done and be ready to move with stealth and grace when the time is right to make the batter and cook the tempura. You should also get your oil (I use sunflower oil for this.) to the correct temperature. About 180ºC works for me.
Sieve the flours, baking powder and salt into a big bowl and break in the egg. Whisk this until it starts to turn into a big gloopy mess. Then start adding the soda water. It should be just off frozen to work correctly.
Don’t beat the bubbles out of the soda water. They will help to keep the batter light and crispy. Immediately dip some vegetables, prawns, fish or whatever into the batter and pop it into the hot oil. They will cook pretty quickly. Turn them once. Then lift them out to drain on kitchen paper. Keep them warm in the oven while you cook the balance. You will be moving with the speed and elegance of a master swordsman at this stage.
I spent more time trying to get the food to stand up nicely for the photograph than I did cooking it. While this was going on, the Wife was gorging herself on the balance. It was extremely good to eat, healthy and satisfying. This was my third attempt. My first success.
As they say in Japan: Nana korobi ya oki. “Fall down seven times, stand up eight”.
Hey, I did it in three!