Fancy making a Japanese dish other than sushi? Rachel Phipps shows us how to make a delicious dish of tempura using seasonal vegetables. It is so quick and easy to make it will be on the dinner table in no time!
A few weeks ago I was in the Sainsbury’s test kitchens watching Japanese chef Jun Tanaka put together some quick and easy home cooking Japanese dishes. Lots of Japanese food to me seems to involve lots of specialist ingredients, or be quite complicated. I’ve recently become rather addicted to sushi, but after doing it once properly in a cooking class I decided that is more trouble than it is worth when you can just go out and buy it. This is why I was so surprised at how quick and easy Japanese home dishes seemed to be when Jun was demonstrating them.
One of the dishes of his that I was most excited to go home and try myself was a Tempura of Sea Bream, Shitake and Broccoli with Seaweed Mayonnaise. This is probably because unless I’m taking the effort to do a big dinner party or something similar I like my recipes to be as easy as possible. Jun’s recipe has become adapted in my kitchen to become a Tempura of Seasonal Vegetables with Homemade Wasabi Mayonnaise. As I was at a Sainsbury’s event, Jun was showcasing their own Tempura Batter Mix, but because I prefer to make my own, the one below is from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty, but you can pair whatever tempura you’re comfortable with, alongside the dipping mayonnaise. The measures below serve 4-6 people for lunch, or 6-8 as a starter.
Tempura of Seasonal Vegetables with a Homemade Wasabi Mayonnaise
2 Large Egg Yolks
1 tsp Wasabi Paste
400g Seasonal Vegetables
80g Self Raising Flour
80g Cornflour, plus extra for dusting
120ml Japanese Beer
2 tsp Rapeseed Oil
1. In a mortar and pestle, or using a wire balloon whisk in a medium mixing bowl, beat the wasabi into the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually beat in the sunflower oil, bit by bit until you have a mayonnaise slightly thicker than usual. Flavour with rice vinegar and sea salt, as you would lemon juice or white wine vinegar and Dijon mustard when making a regular mayonnaise.
2. Next, prepare your vegetables. Here I’ve used carrots, Tenderstem broccoli and courgettes, but you can use whatever you happen to have in your fridge. You need to cut them so they cook evenly. Cut root vegetables into matchsticks.
3. Heat enough sunflower oil to fry the vegetables five pieces at a time and float a little in a medium saucepan. While the oil is heating, make your batter.
4. Whisk all the batter ingredients together until smooth. Once the oil is hot enough that you can drop in a little batter and it instantly floats to the surface you’re ready to start frying. Dip the vegetables in cornflour and shake off the excess before dipping in batter and dropping into the pan. Do five at a time so not to overcrowd the pan. Turn after a few minutes so the batter becomes golden on each side, and drain on a couple of sheets of kitchen towel.
5. Serve hot as soon as the excess oil has drained away so the tempura is still crispy. I find it is easiest to fry and eat in batches this way.
Inspired? For more Japanese recipes visit Great British Chefs.
7 March 2014
"In a mortar and pestle, or using a wire balloon whisk..." Those are quite different tools, can one really make mayo in a mortar?
7 March 2014