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Tempura - Overcoming the Fear of Frying

Posted on December 4, 2009 at 10:12 PM


Seasonal vegetables are an ideal candidate for tempura.  I found these zuchinni blossoms at the Farmers Market. Zuchinni blossoms aren't usually seasonal in December but I am sure with the way the weather has been, they are getting confusing signals. I got to the farmers market late. The farmer who grew these beautiful zuchinni blossoms was packing up but said I could have the basket of blossoms for just  $1. I couldn't resisit. I bought some cucumbers and green beans from him too. I went home and made tempura.

  

Mix the flour into the egg mixture, and not the egg mixture into

the flour. This makes a crispier batter.


 

It's okay to have some lumps of flour in the batter.

I use a thick, heavy cast iron frying pan when making tempura.  The pan should have plenty of depth to hold oil. I wished I owned a bigger tempura pan. That's next on my wish list for cookware. I always make the batter with ice cold water, fresh eggs, flour and a little cornstarch. I even threw an ice cube in the batter to make it colder.  I shouldn't do this but I took it out before it melted.  I only make small batches of batter at a time to keep it fresh. One new trick Akila Inouye of Tsukiji Soba Academy taught me was to mix the flour into the egg water mixture, and not the egg mixture into the flour.  Just by following this step, it made a much crispier batter and gave me more confidence in making tempura. 

Don't over crowd the pot.  Let the blossoms dance freely in the oil.

RECIPE:
serves 4

12 zuchinni blossoms with stems
1 cup of flour mixtture - cake flour and 2 tsp of cornstarch
3/4 cups ice cold water
1 egg yolk

Clean the zuchinni blossoms.  

5 cups of canola, peanut or sesame oil.

Combine the cake flour and cornstarch. Sift together.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg, ice cold water, and egg yolk.  Using a pair of chopsitcks, lightly add the flour and cornstarch mixture and cut in the ingredients. Do not mix or beat.  Don't worry if you find unmixed articles of flour or egg yolk.  Set the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and water.  

In the preheated oil (325F), begin to cook the tempura until crispy and golden color, about 1 minute. Drain the tempura on old newspaper or paper towels.  Give a dash of salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.


Categories: Vegetable and Seaweed Dishes , Vegetarian

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