I'm finally getting around to posting about tempura, one of my all-time favorite fried foods. In Japan, you can buy pre-mixed tempura batter mix, but it's really simple to make at home. All it is: flour, egg, water and salt. And the list of things you can make into tempura is endless. For this particular dinner, I was frying up carrots, green beans, renkon (lotus root), gobo (burdock root), kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), and sato imo (taro potato). Everything was washed, peeled, sliced and then dried on paper towels before being dipped into the batter and fried up. The key to a crispy tempura batter is the cold water in the batter. Try to keep the batter away from the heat while frying and you should be good.
About 3/4 cup of ice cold water
1 cup cake flour
A pinch of salt
Beat the egg and add enough cold water to equal one cup. Transfer the liquid into a large bowl and add the flour and salt. Mix briefly. Don't worry if there are chunks of flour floating around in the batter; that actually makes for better tempura. The batter should be slightly thick, similar in consistency with pancake batter. You may need to double the amounts in the recipe depending on how much vegetables you decide to fry. Dip the vegetables into the batter and gently lower into a pot of hot oil on medium high heat. I use canola oil, and there should be about 2 inches of oil in the pot so that the vegetables don't touch the bottom of the pot. Fry on both sides until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels and serve simply with soy sauce as we always do.
Any leftover batter can be fried up and then used as garnish for salads or udon noodles.