The seating arrangement was around the frying station, just like a bar. They were frying the tempura as I was ordering and was serving it straight from the wok. It was the best tempura I have ever had. Tempura might sound like an easy thing to make, but making the authentic tempura requires some techniques. Getting the crispy and light crumbs without it being too oily is a bit tricky. A good tempura must also have a great dipping sauce.
Today I am sharing my authentic tempura recipe with the perfect dipping sauce, along with some great tips. It's almost as good as the one that I had in Tokyo. I am also sharing my super quick, easy and healthy Japanese inspired soba noodles dish which you can whip up in 10 minutes.
Authentic tempura with dipping sauce
This amount for the batter is enough to fry tempura for 2 people.
For the batter:
1 cup tempura flour
3/4 cup cold water
1 cold egg
3 ice cubes
Eggplant, grated carrot and cabbage, large prawns (You can use any vegetable you like)
Enough vegetable oil to deep fry
Cornflour for dusting
Tempura dipping sauce:
2 tbsp dashi
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soyasauce
2 tsp sugar
Wasabi to serve on the side.
Finely grated radish. Make sure to queeze the extra water out.
Make the dipping sauce first. Mix everything for the sauce in a small pot and bring it to a boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, take it off the heat and set it aside.
Now prepare the vegetables. Slice the eggplant thinly, then make thin slits to make it look like a fan. Make light slits on the prawns diagonally. Make sure not to cut through all the way. This keeps the prawns straight after frying. Mix the grated carrot and cabbage together.
Dust the vegetables and the prawns with corn flour.
Heat oil in a wok over medium high heat.
To make the batter, mix the cold water and the egg together first. Sift the flour in the egg mixture and gently mix it. It is okay if there are some lumps. Now add the ice cubes.
From this point you have to work very fast. Keep the oil over high heat.
Now is the tricky part, which makes the crispy crumbs around the tempura. Sprinkle some of the batter in the hot oil to make crumbs. Let it fry for 30 seconds. Now, gather the crumbs with a slated spoon and bring them to the corner of your fryer. Now dip the prawn in the batter and put it on top of the crumbs. Gently slide the whole thing in the oil and if you want, you can put some more crumbs on top as well. Fry until its light golden. Follow the same procedure with the vegetables.
The vegetables will take about three to four minutes and the prawns will take about two minutes to fry.
To fry the grated cabbage and carrot, take a small portion of the mixture and put it in the batter. Press it lightly to keep everything together. Gently slide it in to the oil. Fry until it is light golden. Place the fried tempura on absorbent paper to get rid of extra oil.
To serve, pour the dipping sauce in your serving bowl. Serve the wasabi and the grated reddish separately with your tempura.
The authentic Japanese way of eating tempura is to mix the finely grated radish and the wasabi with the dipping sauce. Then dip the tempura in the sauce and enjoy.
1. Make sure everything for your batter is very cold. If possible keep the flour in the freezer before you use it.
2. The oil temperature should be pretty hot all the time. Before you start frying, sprinkle some tempura batter in the oil. If it sizzles immediately without getting dark, that should be the correct temperature.
3. Make sure not to beat the batter too much as that will activate the gluten in the flour, which makes the batter heavy.
4. Keeping the batter very cold is crucial. If needed, add more ice cubes. The key to light and crispy tempura is when very cold batter touches the hot oil.
Charred prawn and soba soup
This amount is perfect for one person
1 serving of soba noodles
1 small bunch of spinach
2 cups of water
2 tbsp miso paste
1/4 cup dashi
2 tbsp soya sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp mirin
2 tsp oil
First, mix half a tablespoon of miso paste and the mirin with the shrimp.
In another pot, add the water, the rest of the miso, dashi and one tablespoon soya sauce. Bring it to a boil and add the soba noodles.
While the soba is cooking, in another pan add one teaspoon oil over high heat. Once its hot, add the spinach, one tablespoon soya sauce and black pepper. Cook until the spinach is just wilted. It should not take more than 30 seconds to one minute. Take the spinach out of the pan.
In the same pan, heat another teaspoon of oil over very high heat. Add the shrimp. Cook very quickly over high heat until the shrimp is charred. Flip it over and let the other side get charred. It will take less than one minute to cook the shrimp. You don't want to over cook it.
To serve, pour the soba noodle in a bowl. Add the spinach and shrimps on top. You can garnish it with sesame seeds.
Farzana Romine is a food lover and travel enthusiast whose mission is recreating restaurant quality dishes at home and she invites you to come along for the ride