What is tempura?
Tempura is one of the most popular frying culinary techniques. It consists of coating vegetables and seafood in a batter made with water, flour and egg and then frying it to obtain a light and crunchy texture.
Tempura, as we know it today, was born thanks to the Portuguese missionaries who exported this technique to Japan in the 16th century.
The original dish was enjoyed during Lent and was known in Portugal as “ad tempora cuareseme” (in time of Lent), the Japanese thought that this phrase was the name of the dish and called it Tempura.
Types of tempura
You can prepare tempura with a multitude of ingredients. In this post, I share with you the recipe to prepare a delicious shrimp and kakiage tempura.
Kakiage is one of the tempuras we like the most at home. It consists of a mixture of vegetables and seafood (although at home the obvious ones because my husband is allergic to them), finely cut to be battered and fried.
The secrets for a perfect tempura
Getting a good tempura may seem complicated, but I promise you it is not. Once you know these little secrets, preparing it will be a breeze.
When we prepare the tempura batter, the water we add to the flour must be very cold. This will avoid the gluten developing and we will give us a very light and crispy tempura.
To achieve this, I like to add 3 or 4 ice cubes of water, but remember the ice cubes count as water. This way I keep the batter will remain cold throughout the whole process.
There is an idea that it is necessary to use special flours to prepare tempura.
This is far from the truth. If we use wheat flour (the traditional flour) all we have to do is use cold water and beat the dough very little to avoid developing gluten – this is essential to get a crispy tempura.
The oil and its temperature
To obtain a good tempura, it is advisable to use an oil with a high smoke point and neutral flavour.
On the other hand, the temperature of the oil is very important. One way to know if the temperature is correct is to add a few drops of the tempura batter to the oil. If the batter bubbles and rises immediately, the oil is at the correct temperature.
How To Make Tempura At Home
- 1 egg
- 500 ml water, including ice cubes
- 250 g flour
- ingredients for frying, see note
Prepare the ingredients for the kakiage
- I opted for an easy carrot and onion kakiage. So let's peel the carrot and onion and cut them julienne style.
Prepare the shrimp for the tempura
- Cut off the head and peel it. Remove the intestines and give it a few cuts on the bottom so that it does not roll up when frying.
- In a bowl add the egg and cold water. Mix.
- Add the flour and mix as little as possible to avoid developing the gluten in the flour. If you have lumps, don't worry, it's normal.
For a clasic tempura
- To know if the oil is at the right temperature, you can pour a drop of the tempura batter into the oil and if it bubbles and rises to the surface, the oil is ready.
- Dredge the vegetables/shrimp in flour and then dip them in the tempura batter.
- Fry and remove when ready. Most of the ingredients will be ready in 2-3 minutes, however, I recommend that you guide you visually to know when it is ready. It should be crispy. Colour wise it should be pale, don't let it brown.
- Optionally, with two chopsticks, you can pour droplets of tempura to get the characteristic peaks of tempura.
- Clean the oil with a spatula and fry the next batch.
For a more hearty tempura
- Add a spoonful of the tempura batter into the oil. Wait about 30 to 40 seconds, and add the ingredients coated in the tempura batter on top.
- Add the ingredients coated in the tempura batter directly to the oil.
- and many more!