Insider's Kitchen

No.160 (3/26/10)


By Keiko H. Johnson
Staff Writer

Tempura is one of the most popular Japanese dishes. Commonly used ingredients for tempura are seafood and vegetables. As the mountain vegetables are coming into season in a few weeks, many Japanese cuisine restaurants will sure to begin adding this taste of spring to their Tempura menu, since it is the most popular way of enjoying Sansai vegetables in Japan. This batter I am introducing today can; however, be used for any types of Tempura.

Tempura batter:
1-cup flour
1-cup water/chilled
A pinch of salt
A pinch of baking soda
Few cubes of ice/ use to keep the Tempura batter cold.

In a small mixing bowl, mix 1cup of flour, a pinch of baking soda, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of chilled water. Mix them lightly with using chopsticks. Do not mix them completely. The batter should be loose and lumpy consistency. You may add more water if the batter seems thick as cake batter.

Pre-cooking process:
Wash the vegetables under cold running water. Taranome, Fukinoto, Udo, and Kogomi are the best suitable Mountain vegetables for Tempura. (Be careful with the thorns on the stems of these vegetables when you wash them.)

Udo: Cut into slices. Fill the mixing bowl with cold water, add a few drops of vinegar into the water, and soak Udo in for about a few hours. This process will remove some of the bitterness of the vegetable.
Kogomi and other fern brands: After washing them in the cold water, place them in a zip lock bag and add a pinch of baking soda. Squeeze the air out from the bag and close the bag. Rub the vegetables in the bag with hands until the fuzzy coating covering the stems. (Do not rub them vbrusquely, or the nicely shaped fiddle head will uncoil.)

Deep Frying:
Drain the water with using the colander after washing the vegetables. Leave them on the dry counter for a few minutes until the water drains completely off of the vegetables. (Deep frying becomes pretty painful and dangerous when vegetables are wet.)
Heat the vegetable oil in a pan/ a pot for deepfrying (when a drop of batter comes up on the serface of oil before it touches the bottom of the pan, the temperature hot enough for frying Tempura.) Add 10 to 15 slices of Udo into Tempura batter. Use a fork or a set of chop sticks to pick up the vegetables from the batter, and hold it over the bowl in order to get rid of the excess amount of Tempura batter.


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