July 24, 2024

Tempura: still life on a plate

Sushi, perhaps the most recognizable culinary brand of Japan, but there is another famous Japanese dish that is closer to the Siberian stomach than a slice of raw fish. This tempura – vegetables and seafood, fried in the finest batter.

Charlie Chaplin loved this dish, considering it the most delicious food in the world. Tempura, despite the large amount of oil, tastes lean and does not leave an unpleasant aftertaste. In general, Japanese cuisine is considered very useful – the lack of animal fats and the replacement of meat with seafood allows the people of the Land of the Rising Sun to stay slim and healthy. Japanese do not like fat at all – in Japanese there are several phrases that express disdain for it: “Abur Mamire” – smeared in oil, “Abur kusai” – fat smell, “Abur gitta” – fat, fat.

However, the tempura does not apply to “Abur Mamire”. Its secret is that because of the quick roasting the oil does not have time to get inside, so the vegetables and fish turn out to be welded as if steamed.

The combination of crispy batter, juicy seafood and vegetables, as well as sauce and ginger creates a special, truly Japanese flavor.

Despite the observance of the basic Japanese principles of preparation – the freshest products, fine slicing and preservation of natural taste, tempura was invented not by geisha and samurai. Until the middle of the fourteenth century, the Japanese did not grill anything in batter.

This type of treatment was brought with them by Portuguese monks – they fried fish in hot vegetable oil. And the very word “tempura” comes from the Portuguese word “tempero”, which denotes seasoning, spice. In Japan there are special tempura – institutions specializing in the preparation of this dish.

And if earlier it was food for ordinary people, now Tempura becomes an exquisite dish, the pride of an expensive restaurant. Previously, in different parts of Japan tempura was cooked in its own way. For example, in Kanto (Tokyo area) used sesame oil and thick batter, which gave the tempura a brown color. And in Kansai (the district of Osaka) tempura was roasted on olive, so it was lighter, and the fish were made thin there. Now Kansai tempura prevails, which is less caloric due to the thin gluten.

Tempura – a universal dish, outside of Japan, in batter, everything that can be cooked – from bananas to ice cream. Conservative Japanese adhere to the traditions – vegetables, replacing each other depending on the season, and of course, seafood. “We eat everything from the ocean, except steamers,” say the Japanese and eat more than three thousand fish and marine products.

Three whales of Japanese tempura

1. Fresh ingredients. It is clear that the products must always be fresh, but in this case they are only slightly heat treated to preserve their natural taste.
2. Constant temperature. Despite the short stay in the oil, vegetables and seafood can remain moist or, alternatively, burn with temperature changes. 160-180 degrees give a crisp crust and a delicate filling, which tempura is famous for. To check the readiness of the oil, drip a little batter: if it immediately floats up, you can lay vegetables.
3. Clare with lumps and bubbles. Although this may seem strange, do not knead the dough to a smooth homogeneous mass. In pancakes and semolina kasha clumps irritate, and in tempura they are useful. Our goal – to get a lace, thin layer of batter, and not thick and tight, like fritters. Do not let the dough stand! Mix the food immediately before frying. If there are many vegetables, do the next serving of batter during roasting.

What is good for tempura?

  • Carrots cut into thin strips (about 4 cm in length)
  • Onion rings
  • Peppers cut into rings • Thin eggplant slices
  • Green onion feathers
  • Thin slices of zucchini
  • Champignons cut into halves, or if they are small, then whole
  • Stringed beans
  • Asparagus (per bite)
  • Cod (a piece of 1 bite)
  • Shrimp, peeled whole (make a few cuts on the abdomen and slightly stretch the shrimp – then it does not curl during frying)
  • Meat of crabs
  • Squids cut by rings or strips

For tempura you will need:

Selected vegetables and seafood, vegetable oil for frying.

For batter:

1 large egg, 1 glass of ice (! ) Water, 1 glass of flour, a pinch of soda (optional).
Vegetables should be cut very thinly, otherwise the clay will be ready, but inside the tempura it will remain damp. All products must be pre-wetted with a napkin – additional moisture to us to anything. You can slightly powder them with flour – the stick will stick better.

When everything is cut and peeled, place the frying pan on the stove and make a batter. Whisk the egg with water, then add the flour and mix it lightly so that the flour spreads slightly. The Japanese do not add salt to the clay, as tempura dips into soy sauce. If you do not plan duck, add salt to the dessert. Start frying right away. In turn, take slices of vegetables and seafood, dip into the batter and put in hot oil. Start with hard vegetables, then take those that are softer, and at the very end – seafood.

Do not put too many pieces in a frying pan. Let it remain half empty. When the crust is only outlined, turn over to the other side. Repeat this manipulation. Warm the tempura with a tissue to remove excess oil, and immediately serve to the table.

This dish is served with finely grated daikon (Japanese radish) and the root of fresh ginger. Do not forget about the sauce. The traditional tempura sauce consists of soy sauce (45 g), water (200 ml), myrina – sweet rice wine with a low alcohol content (45 ml) and dried tuna (10 g). All the ingredients are mixed, brought to a boil, the sauce is filtered and cooled. If your fridge has found myrina and dried tuna, you can do just soy sauce.

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