Tempura is a culinary technique that consists of quick fry vegetables or seafood, the size of a bite. Despite being a typical preparation of Japanese cuisine, its origin is actually Portuguese. It was the Portuguese Jesuits, present in the city of Nagasaki – founded by the Portuguese in 1569 – who introduced the custom of eating fish and vegetables in Lent through this particular frying.
Tempura is a relatively easy technique, but it doesn’t always work out well when we try to do it at home. Many times the food that we fry is raw, hard or with too much water, or the batter falls apart or does not cover the whole piece well.
A good tempura should be thin, crunchy and slightly oily, something easy to do if you follow these five simple tips:
1. Prepare the ingredients well
As always before we start cooking, the ideal is have everything organized beforehand, and if this is already important before any recipe in the case of tempura, much more.
To prepare the ingredients for coating, we will cut the vegetables or fish or shellfish into bite-sized pieces. If we want to make a traditional style tempura, the measure of the ingredients would be portions to grab with the chopsticks, dip them in the sauce and make them fit in our mouths without having to cut them with the knife.
How tempura is a very fast fry there are some foods that must be blanched beforehand, so that when fried in batter they cook minimally before the dough becomes too brown: this is the case of asparagus, carrots or green beans. Of course, remembering to drain them well before coating them to avoid excess water.
This can be a problem in vegetables such as zucchini or aubergine that already have water incorporated into them, so we can cut them into slices and leave them with salt for a few minutes so that they “sweat”, and thus do not soften the tempura at the time of frying.
Fish or cephalopods such as squid We will cut them into bite pieces but wider than the vegetables, and we can also make some cuts with the knife so that the dough sticks more easily.
The small fish and the prawns, we will leave them whole, opened in the middle and without shells or thorns, but with the glue that will help us grab them and dip them in the dough. Although tempura is usually always used to fry vegetables, fish or shellfish, we can dare to small pieces of tenderloin or chicken and even try other less traditional meats in Asian food to try tempura with them.
2. Make the dough with very cold water
Once we have all the ingredients prepared, it’s time to make the tempura dough. There are many recipes for making tempura that we can find, and almost all very similar, but in this case, how to make the dough is more important, because by following a few simple tips and our favorite recipe, success will be assured.
To make a good tempura The water we use must be ice cold, not just cold, but almost frozenTherefore, before we start with the dough, it would be convenient to keep a bottle in the freezer for an hour.
The tempura dough is simply water, egg and flour, but despite being simple ingredients, we need mix them in a specific order to ensure success.
We will start by beating the egg together with the ice water, this will not be a strong shake, on the contrary, the Japanese simply disarm the egg with some toothpicks, giving rise to an uneven cream. Then we will add the sifted wheat or rice flour to the previous mixture, and this step also has to be quick and without excessive stirring, to prevent the flour from picking up. You can also add a small amount of sake to the dough.
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We will get a slightly lumpy semi-liquid dough, to which we will add salt or bicarbonate, I will tell you that it seems to me that it is better with the latter, but that detail will go to taste.
This dough should not rest, that is why we need to have all the ingredients prepared beforehand. While we put a bowl with ice cubes, in which we will place the bowl of the dough so that it is cold at all times while we fry.
3. Control the temperature
If the tempura dough we said must be very cold, the oil on the contrary must be very hot. The correct temperature ranges from 180 degrees to 200, so the ideal way to avoid overshooting or falling short is to have a kitchen thermometer. An affordable instrument highly recommended in the kitchen.
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If you do not have this, do this simple test to find the temperature of the oil. Pour a few drops of the tempura mass into the oil, if those drops remain at the bottom, the oil is cold, instead if the droplets rise rapidly to the surface, the oil is at the correct temperature.
When frying the ingredients to make the tempura we must be attentive, and not be distracted by any other task in the kitchen. Unlike other fried, the process of this frying is very fast. It is best to use very neutral vegetable oil such as sunflower, or sunflower mixed with sesame oil.
Add the battered ingredients and when they brown, after a minute or soWe remove them with a wire slotted spoon to drain most of the oil and place them on a tray with kitchen paper, where they will rest for a few moments.
We have to fry few pieces at a time, to prevent the oil from cooling down. The best thing to do, a good iron wok that correctly maintains the temperature throughout the process.
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4. Serve immediately
Tempura are not croquettes that can wait for the diner, not. When tempura is served in Japanese restaurants, they do it as the cook fries and takes out freshly made pieces.
In a house, this is often complicated, but we will try to ensure that all the diners are already at the table so that they can take the tempura freshly fried and crispy. If this is not possible, we can turn the oven on temperature of about 100 degrees and keep the pieces until the moment of serving them.
5. Accompany the frying with a good Japanese sauce
The most typical ingredients to make in tempura are vegetables, fish and seafood. These once prepared, we can go by dipping them in soy sauce, hoisin sauce or some Asian sweet and sour that we like.
But if you really want to enjoy tempura like they do in Japan, I recommend you prepare the tentsuyu sauce, the ideal accompaniment to tempura, with a milder and sweeter flavor than soy sauce. To do it you will need:
- 120 ml dashi broth
- 60 ml mirin
- 60 ml of soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
We will mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and leave it boil three minutes.
These have been ours 5 tips to enjoy a perfect tempura at home like that of a real Japanese restaurant. Now you just have to get organized and taste this variety of frying so light and special.
Images | Pixabay / Static | Wok Mandarynski | cathkid
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