Tempura

天ぷら

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Preparation: 25 Minutes
Cooking: 20 Minutes

Tempura is fantastic served with a dipping sauce of warm Mentsuyu – dilute 1½ tablespoons mentsuyu with 2 tablespoons hot water. Alternatively, try it with a teaflavoured salt.

Ingredients

Fresh

  • 1 egg, chilled
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) ice-cold sparkling water
  • 4 large king prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined, tails on
  • 240 g ( oz) kabocha or butternut pumpkin (squash) or sweet potato, cut into 5 mm (¼ inch) half-moon slices
  • 8 Padrón peppers or 8 shiso (perilla) leaves, optional
  • 4 large shiitake mushrooms, scored with a cross on the caps

Pantry

  • 160 g ( oz) self-raising flour, chilled
  • 3 cups (750 ml) sunflower oil, for deep-frying
  • a pinch of sea salt

Method

Before you start, make sure that the egg and flour are chilled in the fridge and that your sparkling water is ice cold.

Heat the sunflower oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Preheat the oven to 100°C (200°F).

Crack the egg into a large bowl, add the sparkling water and salt and beat with a whisk. Sift the flour into the bowl and whisk very lightly. Don’t worry if you have unmixed dry flour in the mixture. The consistency should be like single cream.

When the oil reaches 180°C (350°F), dip two or three of the ingredients into the batter at a time – the prawns and pumpkin can be completely dipped into the batter, but the peppers, shiso leaves and mushrooms should only be dipped on one side.

Gently slide the battered ingredients into the oil and fry for about 2 minutes for each batch, until the batter becomes crispy. Lift the tempura out using tongs, shake them a few times to remove any excess oil, then drain on paper towel.

Serve the tempura as you cook it or place it in the oven to keep warm. Serve with warm broth or sea salt.