Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 82! Japan-Vegetable and Shrimp Tempura to die for.....Up Next, Jordan

Vegetable and Shrimp Tempura with Dipping Sauce

Until tonight, I had never attempted Tempura. After tonight, this will become a regularly featured meal in my house...if only it weren't quite so....fried, I could justify having it at least once a week. Don't get me wrong, I totally dig fried anything, but I do try to be health conscious and the truth is, too much fried food does not look kindly upon my hips. Alas, cruel sacrifices must be made.

Located in East Asia, Japan is an archipelago island nation and one of 6,852 other islands in the Pacific Ocean. It neighbors China, North and South Korea, Russia and Taiwan. 

Japan's cuisine varies by region, but rice, noodles and bread are staples throughout the country. Sea weed is often used as a base for sauces, soups and in meals, which lends both flavor and nutritive value to Japanese food.

I used Konbu  and boiled shrimp shells to make bonito stock  for the tempura dipping sauce.

Konbu is dried sea kelp that is primarily gathered off the Northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. It's very salty and as soon as it begins to cook, emits a wonderful ocean smell.

Sweet potatoes, zucchini, sweet onions, green beans, carrots
and shiitake mushrooms sliced and ready to dip in batter

This batter is made with cake and rice flour, which ensures
a light, smooth batter that really clings to the vegetables without flaking
off during frying and and holds up on the plate without getting soggy.

Vegetable and Shrimp Tempura with Dipping Sauce
Vegetable and Shrimp Tempura (Adapted from the Williams-Sonoma, Asian Cookbook)

  • 1 Carrot, peeled and cut 5 inches long and 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into slices 1/8 inch thick and then cut into half-moons
  • 1 small sweet onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1/4 pound green beans, cut into 5 inch lengths
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 5 inch long pieces and 1/4 inch thick
  • 5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, 1 1/2 inches in diameter, stems removed - cut caps in half
  • Canola or peanut oil for frying
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups ice water
  • 8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Tempura Dipping Sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 F. Pour oil to a depth of 5 inches into a wok, sauce pan or deep fryer. Heat oil to 370F. Line a baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels.
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, sift together the cake and rice flours, salt, and baking soda. In a small bowl, using a fork, beat together the egg yolks and ice water. Stir the egg-water mixture into the flour mixture, just until the batter comes together.
  3. Working in small batches, dip the vegetables into the batter, allowing any excess to drip off, and the slip them into the hot oil. Deep-fry until light gold brown, 1-2 minutes. Using a wire skimmer, transfer the vegetables tot he paper towels to drain. Transfer to an oven proof platter and place in the oven. Between batches, use the skimmer to remove any batter bits from the oil.
  4. Before dipping the shrimp into the batter, make several slashes in the underside of each shrimp to prevent curling while frying. Reheat the oil to 370F and, working in batches, dip the shrimp into the batter, allowing any excess to drip off, and then slip them into the hot oil, deep frying until light golden brown.
Tempura Dipping Sauce
  • 1/2 cup bonito stock 
  • 3 tbsp. each dark soy and mirin (or Chinese rice wine)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
Bring to a boil and add 1 heaping tablespoon bonito flakes if you have them, then strain through a fine mesh sieve.

Bonito Stock
  • 1 piece of Konbu
  • 4 cups water
  • Shrimp shells reserved from tempura shrimp
  1. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 4 minutes. 
  2. Remove the Konbu and stir in shrimp shells.
  3. Return to a boil and strain through a sieve.
Final Assessment: Delicious, beautiful on the plate and tasty as can be. A+


KK said...

ohhh baby...that looks fantastic !! And we do have a deep fryer....

OysterCulture said...

OMG - this all looks simply amazing. What an incredible dinner. I have to only wish I could make a feast this tasty looking. what an amazing job!