Tempura batter is so easy and simple that I completely overlooked posting about it until now. However, it occured to me that many people would never guess just how very simple it is! So here I am to bust that mystery wide open. Are you ready? Wait for it…
… it’s flour and water! Ta da! I told you it was simple. Well, I did over simplify a tiny bit… I add a pinch of salt too.
Tempura is a Japanese dish (天ぷら tenpura) which the Japanese got from the Portuguese way back in the day. Even though it’s written tempura I will always call it tenpura as that is the Japanese pronunciation and it irritates me otherwise. One of my favourite fast food chains in Japan was Ten-Ya, a tempura joint. For about £2.50 you could get a great tendon, a bowl of assorted tenpura; vegetables, a prawn and some squid on a bowl of rice. Delicious, nutricious and they also did a purely veggie option so that my vegetarian friend could eat there too (no mean feat in Japan!)
It’s a quick meal and, if you wanted, you could make it a much more communal meal by using a fondue pot and letting everyone choose their own foods to dip in batter and fry fondue style. It’s a light and crispy batter but it is rather filling as it is deep fried. You can batter and fry just about anything (and the Scot in me seems to like this!) so give it a go!
Serves 2 (1 courgette and 10 mushrooms in this case, just make more or less as you need)
6 tbsp plain flour
~3-6 tbsp cold water
pinch of salt
veggies/prawns/fish/squid/etc. cut into easy portions
– Put the flour and salt in a small bowl and gradually add the water until you get a thick batter.
– Don’t over mix, a few lumps are just fine.
– Heat up a deep fat frier or deep pot of oil to about 180/190C.
– Dip the veggie/prawn/fish in the batter to coat then pop it in the oil and fry for a few minutes until the batter is just golden.
– Take out of the oil and drain well before serving.
– Do this in small batches so as not to crowd the tempura and keep it warm once cooked in a bowl lined with kitchen paper to help it drain.
– Serve on its own for a starter or with a bowl of plain rice for a main and tsuyu or soy sauce to dip.