Trying To Cook More Japanese: Vegetable Tempura Recipe & Matsuri
My favourite food to eat out is Japanese. I love sushi. I love Japanese bento boxes, dumplings, teriyaki dishes… I can easily eat Japanese food every day so I’ve made a promise to myself to cook more Japanese at home and experiment with the Japanese/ Vietnamese fusion. But firstly, try to conquer some of the favourites and basics.
It so happens that I have recently been working as a food stylist on a commercial shoot with a few Japanese recipes and therefore got to master the tempura batter. I love ordering tempura in restaurants and didn’t realise how easy it is to do at home.
For the batter: 2 or 3 litres oil for deep frying (rapeseed/sunflower/vegetable) 100g plain flour 1 tbls cornflour chilled sparkling water pinch of salt (could be flavoured with shiso/ or other dried herbs) ice cubes
a selection of vegetables, sliced 5mm
i.e.tenderstem broccoli, courgette, aubergine, carrot, pak choi, elderflower etc
dipping sauce soy sauce, a dash of mirin, chilli oil daikon radish
Wash and chop the vegetables into bite size pieces. Dry with kitchen paper.
In a deep pan heat the oil to 190C.
In a wide bowl stir together the flour, cornflour and salt. Add the sparkling water and stir until smooth, you are looking for about the same consistancy as pancake batter.
Add 3-5 ice cubes to keep the mixture cold. (the cold batter mixture and the hot oil makes it crispy)
Individually dip, and well coat a piece of vegetable and gently lower into the hot oil using long wooden chopsticks.
Repeat this process being sure not to overcrowd the pan, 5-6 at a time is probably the maximum.
When slightly golden remove from the oil and place on a tray lined with kitchen paper to drain off the excess oil.
To make the dipping sauce, peel and finely grate about 0.5cm of the daikon radish into a small bowl and mix a little miring and chilli oil with soy sauce.
TIP: Make a little batter at a time because it needs to be freshly made and cold or your tempura will be soggy.
I was recently invited to eat at one of my favourite Japanese restaurants, Matsuri in St James’s. They do sushi, all the favourites and Teppan-yaki, where the chef cooks on an iron grill in front of you. We had this amazing beef – Galician Beef T-Bone Steak – From a Japanese breed of cattle, with such great marbling, like Waygu – it was amazingly delicious! As was the black cod, sushi & tempura! My favourite thing, which is their egg fried rice is a must have!
It is definitely somewhere I love going as a treat with a loved one or a best friend. Highly recommended!
Matsuri means “festival”, it is a joint partnership between Central Japan Railway Company, the major Japanese high speed train operating company, and Kikkoman, the world’s most famous soy sauce company.