Tempura is a representative Japanese food. It is as well-renowned worldwide as Sushi, Sashimi, Sukiyaki and Teriyaki. However, Cooking Tempura is difficult, requiring high skills.
Today we are going to tell you the basics and tips for how to cook delicious Tempura.
What is Tempura?
Tempura usually consists of seafood, meat and vegetables that have been battered and deep fried. So, it is ideal to make them crispy, for which you need to pay attention to condition of ingredients, temperature of oil and batter, etc.
Siitake mushrooms should be removed shafts, vegetables should be cut into bite size pieces, etc. These are not too difficult. However, preparation of prawns is something a little different, so we will show you how to do it.
Preparation of Prawns - 1. Removing the shells
First cut off the heads and remove the shells. Handle their meat gently. Removing shells will be easier if you start with the belly side. The shell of tails should be left so that they look beautiful in the end.
Preparation of Prawns - 2. Deveining
Remove the dorsal vein of prawns, which runs straight from head to tail. As shown in the picture, it can be removed easily by picking with a toothpick.
Preparation of Prawns - 3. Processing the tails
There may be some water in tail of prawns, which may cause oil splash, so the water should be removed.
First, cut off the part shaped like thorns in the middle of the tails. Next align and cut the edge of both tails to shape.
Preparation of Prawns - 4. Removing the water in tails
Press the tails with a knife to remove the water inside.
Preparation of Prawns - 5. Extending the meat
Make about 3 incisions at the belly and back to cut its muscle. This prevents the prawn shrinking or bending when deep-fried. Furthermore, extending the meat with fingers as shown in the picture will make the finish looks beautiful. It is important to handle it gently not to cut the meat in half. That’s all for preparation of prawns.
How to Deep-Fry Tempura
Before deep-frying Tempura, make batter, which basically consists of cake flower and water. Mix 150 g of flour and to 200 mL of water roughly. It’s ok if some lumps of flour still remain. It’s better not to mix them completely in order to prevent too much gluten production; otherwise, crispiness will be lost in the end. Also, it is because cake flower contains less gluten than bread flour that we use the former for Tempura.
Heat vegetable oil in a pan to 170-180℃. Then, dip the vegetables in the batter and drop it into the oil. You should take care for the temperature; if the temperature is too low, Tempura will be oily and have bad texture. It would be helpful if you have a pan with thermometer. The temperature control is the key to deep-frying delicious Tempura.
When you put a lot at a time, the oil temperature will go down, so put one by one. If the temperature goes up high too high, put a few pieces together to cool the oil. The temperature control is the key to deep-frying delicious Tempura.
Tips for Cooking Delicious Tempura
What is important is “do not mix too much” so that excessive gluten won’t be generated. Another important point is “to use water and flour in low temperature”. So the water and flour for batter should be cooled enough in a refrigerator and mix just before starting deep-frying.
Some recipes use eggs to make batter. In such case, the eggs should be cooled, too.
Tempura tastes awesome with salt or Japanese Mentsuyu (noddle base soup), and nothing would be better than eating it right after deep-fried.
If you cook tempura very often, deep frying utensils are helpful, such as trays or long chopsticks. It would be wonderful if you can eat Tempura at home anytime!