I have been eating tempura my whole life and have to admit that this is one of my favourites! Sorry mom and grandma, especially grandma who was so set in her ways and one of the biggest foodies that I have ever met! Although grandma’s tempura was amazing, I like this Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura because the batter is light and crispy. Sometimes tempura can be smothered in batter and drenched in oil, I often find that deep-fried foods can be greasy and heavy. This recipe is light, crispy and OH SO satisfying!
As kids we looked so forward to going to grandma’s house for family gatherings. There were 8 original siblings, their spouses, their kids and their ‘kids’ kids! So it was usually a pretty big group of us! Sometimes we ate in the basement, other times it was on a lower split level, but wherever we were, we were seated along a long rectangular table that accommodated at least 20 of us? And there was an UNBELIEVABLE amount of food! My aunt and grandma would cook and prepare for days, there was more than enough as they wanted to ensure that there was food to take home as well. My dad still gets angry when we come home from a dinner party without a doggie bag. In a gruff, he says “What kind of people are they?”
Grandma would always sit at the head of the table, often with her big, shaded glasses on and would silently just watch us eat. When a dish was getting low she would order my aunt to replenish it ASAP! When making tempura, they had the deep fryer right on the table so she was able to fry on demand! You can’t get fresher than that! If you were sitting next to her, you always had first pick off the plate, but the family on the other end would often miss out on the shrimp till the next batch. She was constantly trying to make the kids laugh and one of her best tricks was taking her teeth out.
- Make the batter when you are ready to cook
- Ensure you use ice-cold water for the batter or add ice cubes
- The oil needs to be hot, adjust the heat if your ingredients are getting golden to rapidly
- Never crowd your ingredients in the oil
- Vinegar and cornstarch make it nice and crisp
- Serve and eat fresh
Grandma was one of the best cooks that I have ever known and she made it to 100 years of age so she was doing something right! I Thank you for teaching me about fresh, homemade food, how to give so generously, how to stick with tradition and values, how to share, how to eat until you can’t move and how important our families are! This is dedicated to Grandma and Auntie Frances.
- Sweet potato (I used the purple type with white inside)
- I left some skin on for design and taste, slice about ¼ inch thick.
- 1 onion, sliced thinly and cut into rings
- ½ carrot grated in thin wide strips
- 1 tbsp of dried shrimp
- 1 green pepper cut into long chunks
- 10-12 asparagus pieces
- 1 dozen large shrimps, deveined, tails on.
- Vegetable oil for frying
- For the batter:
- 1 cup flour
- 150 ml iced water
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- Tentsuyu (Tempura Dipping Sauce)
- 1 cup dashi stock (or 1 cup water + 1 tsp. Hondashi-Japanese dried fish stock)
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp sugar
- For the shrimp, make a couple of slits underside
- Straighten the shrimp as much as possible in order to get the desired shape.
- Cut the tip of the shrimp tail on an angle
- Mix the onion, carrot and dried shrimp in a separate bowl. They will be fried together in a lump
- In a medium size bowl, mix all the batter ingredients together
- Do not over mix it, add more water or ice cubes if too thick
- The oil should reach 350F-380F before you start frying
- Dip shrimp into the batter and fry until the outside is golden and crispy.
- Then the vegetables ***Do NOT overcrowd***
- Drain on a rack over a baking tray.
- Serve immediately with salt to dip in or Tentsuyu
- Tentsuyu (Tempura Dipping Sauce)
- Bring all ingredients to a slow boil and stir and set aside