Saturday, October 15, 2011

What's Cookin?: Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura

On my last trip to Las Vegas (in September) to visit my brother and his family, I took a gallon ziploc full of shishito peppers and some cherry tomatoes.  I had just harvested these before leaving and didn't want them to go to waste.  I placed them in one of my hand carry-ons and brought them with me to Las Vegas.  

Instead of pan frying the shishito peppers like I normally do, I decided to make tempura out of them.  We bought a variety of vegetables: eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, Okinawan sweet potatoes and kabocha squash.  We also bought some large shrimp to make our tempura.

The batter for tempura is very simple.  It contains only 3 ingredients and was crispy and deicious.  The trick is to use iced water.  Cold tap water isn't cold enough.  Keep a glass of iced water nearby to use for this.  One batch of batter makes quite a bit of tempura, although we had lots of leftover vegetables.  The tempura was delicious!  It was a crowd pleaser!  My oldest niece loved loved loved the shrimp tempura.  I served the mixed tempura dinner with a side of soba noodles.

Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura 

1 egg
1 c. iced water
1 c. flour, sifted
vegetable oil for frying
a variety of vegetables and/or large shrimp (with tails on)
tempura dipping sauce

1) Slice up your vegetables into thin, bite sized pieces.  If using shrimp, remove shells and devein them.  Keep the tails in place and straighten the shrimp.

2) Start heating your oil in a large pot (pour to about 3-4 inches deep but do not overfill pot).  

3) Beat the egg in a medium-sized bowl.  Add the ice water to the bowl.  Add the sifted flour and mix lightly.  Do not over mix the batter and make it right before using for best results.  
4) Test to see if your oil is hot enough.  It should be about 350 degrees F or drop a small amount of batter into the hot oil.  If the batter floats, the oil is ready.  When your oil is ready,  dip your vegetables into the tempura batter and coat well.  Place tempura in the hot oil.  Cook until the batter is a light golden brown then turn and cook the other side.  Remove from oil and place on paper towels to soak up the excess oil.  

5) Serve tempura warm with a side of dipping sauce.