Friday, 18 March 2016

Tempting yet terrifying Tempura

Here is the first of the Japanese inspired recipes.  This is perfect timing as Nigel Slater is currently in Japan.  No, I am not stalking him, he is providing a breathtaking view of his trip through some beautiful photographs on his instagram account.  It is making me what to go to Japan and these next few recipes will make you want to go too!

Now a little heads up on the ingredients.  These were not easy to come by.  I visited all the larger major supermarket stores where I live and our local international supermarket but I could not get all the ingredients.  You can actually get some of the ingredients on Amazon and also the brilliant Japan Centre in Piccadilly.  I appreciate this is London centric but they do have a website where you can order online for home delivery.

So the first recipe is Tempura Vegetables.  I love Tempura but I have never cooked it.  I have never even deep fried anything in my life.  I am little bit scared.  My husband warned me not to throw water over a pan of hot fat or it will take my face off!  This is what I aiming for, well that and my face in tact:

This was meant to be cooked on 3rd March but I cooked it on 8th March.  Nigel suggests pumpkin, sweet potato, beetroot, large mushrooms and kale leaves as the vegetables.  I substituted butternut squash for pumpkin and also added some baby courgettes I had.  

The batter is very easy to make and the addition of an egg white really helps it stick to the vegetables.    I had my assistant chef chopping veg this particular evening:

In addition to the tempura vegetables you need to make the dipping sauce.  I got most of the ingredients from the Japan Centre.  Making up the dashi stock (which smells like fish food) was tricky.  My Japanese is poor (shame on me)...

It came in individual sachets which I used to make the 100ml of stock required which seemed to work!  More luck than judgment! The dipping sauce looked weird but tasted lovely.  The ingredient you can see is the daikon radish.  I wondered if you could use the common english garden radish as an alternative but I think it would be too strong.  The daikon radish has a much milder flavour. 

So, onto the truly terrifying bit, deep fat frying.  I used a deep heavy bottom pan which has featured heavily in this blog.  So here goes...

It was surprisingly easy and you get into quite a rhythm doing it and knowing how long the different vegetables take.  Courgettes and mushrooms are fairly quick (and really keep their heat so watch the roof of your mouth!).  The beetroot, butternut squash and sweet potato takes a little longer.  The kale is super quick and it is great to mop up the last of the batter:

The Kale was one of my favourite.  It almost goes like crispy seaweed.  It was lovely with some sea salt sprinkled on top.  So here is a picture of a selection of the final tempura vegetables:

The vegetables were delicious and would make a great relaxed dinner party.  All sat round the kitchen  table chatting and dipping! 


1. You only need some small slices of the butternut squash and sweet potato, etc.  I roasted this at the same time I was cooking the tempura and then made a soup, with vegetable stock, cumin, coriander, garlic and chilli.  A good winter warmer!

2. What to do with the left over oil - once cooled, I poured the oil into a measuring jug and back into the bottles as you can take it to your local recycling centre.  

3. I still have a face - phew! 

Hope this helps!!



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