Tempura was made on the same day we also made Japanese Gyoza. Tempura is something I have made for my Little Chefs however this was the first time they helped make it. This afternoon of cooking was like musical chairs. Each time I turned around one Little Chef was off playing and another one was at my side wanting to help.
First the vegetables and protein were prepared. Cut them in thin slices or “matchstick” size. We used green beans, onion, sweet potato and shrimp. The sweet potato was sliced on the mandolin but proved to be very difficult so those little hands needed some assistance.
Next it was time to make the batter. The ingredients were measured out and combined lightly with a whisk. You do not want to over mix. The batter will be lumpy.
Next comes the scary part- cooking in oil. This is the main reason we needed to bring our aprons. Anything is ok to splash on the aprons to protect our clothing. However because these aprons are so cute I have a hard time saying that! It is best to begin warming up the oil while you are making the batter. It will almost be ready to go by the time you are done mixing. For a crispy tempura coating, fry when the oil temperature reaches 360 degrees F. Test the temperature by putting a small amount of tempura batter into the hot fat. The temperature is correct when the batter bubbles and quickly becomes crisp. You want the finished product to be pale in color, not dark brown.
To cook, drop several pieces of well-drained vegetables into the batter. Coat lightly. We found it best for our Little Chefs to use these tongs to grab the vegetables out of the batter, carefully shake off the excess batter and then carefully drop into the hot oil. When I was little and we made this we had a deep pan full of oil. We have since learned you do not need that much oil, just enough to cover the vegetables so they can float. Cook until the coating is crispy.
Once you pull them out using Tongs or a Spider Strainer drain on a paper towel. Fry the beef and the fish in that order. You may serve it with a sauce, but our favorite is dipped in soy sauce. You will not want to prepare too many vegetables, since you will have many varieties. For example, one potato will be adequate for several people. Make sure you allow plenty of time to make the tempura. We like to keep it warm in a low oven until everything is cooked. It is best served immediately after cooking.
- one egg, beaten
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup tempura flour (cake flour or 3/4 cup all purpose flour plus 1/4 cup corn starch)
- Choose your vegetables and/or proteins. Possibilities are fish - shrimp shelled and de-veined, halibut, salmon. Beef. Vegetable possibilities are green beans, pumpkin, sweet potato, parsley, egg plant, carrot, round onion, green onion.
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup dried bointo (thinly flaked fish)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- Prepare your vegetables and/or proteins. Cut into thin pieces or slices or 'matchstick" size.
- To make the batter mix all ingredients lightly. Do not overmix. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Please note this recipe serves 4.
- To cook: Use a good quality cooking or salad oil. For a crispy tempura coating, fry when the oil temperature reaches 360 degrees F. Test the temperature by putting a small amount of tempura batter into the hot fat. The temperature is correct when the batter bubbles and quickly becomes crisp. For the novice tempura maker, it is important to note that the finished product is pale in color.
- Drop several pieces of well-drained vegetables into the batter. Coat lightly. Drop into the hot oil, (use deep, heavy pan). Cook until the coating is crispy. Do not overcook the vegetables - no need to as most of them would be delicious if eaten raw anyway. Drain on absorbent paper. Fry the beef and the fish in that order. Serve an assortment of vegetables (at least 3 or 4), shrimp and another fish for a complete meal.
- Don't prepare too many vegetables, since you will have many varieties. For example, one potato will be adequate for several people. Also, allow plenty of time to make the tempura.