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Yasai Tempura [野菜天ぷら]

Tempura is a japanese type deep-fried food. Many things can be deep fried this way, mostly you will see shrimps with some vegetables used in this type of dish at Japanese restaurants. Sometimes they use it as a topping on top of ramen or don. This recipe is for yasai, which is Japanese for vegetables. The Portuguese introduced this type of food into Japan around the 16th century along with panko (bread crumbs used for making the Japanese type schnitzel, tonkatsu) and bread. The secret to getting restaurant grade tempura is making sure the batter is very cold, hence using iced water, dipping it in the batter and quickly go from batter to the oil. By moving quickly to the oil you will create strings of deep-fried batter extending from the vegetable. If it is the right season and you can get it, tempura is also great with kabocha, japanese green pumpkin.


Ingredients

tempura batter
  • 100g tempura flour mix
  • 160ml iced water
vegetables  
  • lotus root
  • eggplant
  • fresh shiitake
  • sweet potato
  • shiso leaves
  • nori


Steps

Prepare all the vegetables first. Peel the lotus root, cut crosswise into thin slices about 1/2 cm thick, and soak in water with some lemon juice or vinegar in it to prevent discolouration.

Slice the sweet potatoes and aubergines into 1/2 cm rounds. If the shiitakes are too big, you can cut them in half.

Heat the oil for frying. Sift the tempura flour and add it to the ice water. Stir gently with chopsticks. It should be lumpy. Make only small batches of batter at a time. That will ensure a crispy tempura structure when fried.

Dust the vegetables in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip into the batter and fry till they are golden brown. You do not need to flour the shiso leaves and nori. They can be battered and fried immediately.

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