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Old 11-23-2005, 06:11 AM   #1
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Light and crunchy Tempura Batter

I need help. I'm looking for a fool-proof tempura batter recipe that will turn out light and stay crunchy. I've tried several recipes and still no success. Can anyone share a tried 'n tested recipe? Thank you!

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Old 11-23-2005, 08:22 AM   #2
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I used to have real problems making a good tempura batter, but for years, I have used a recipe and method from a Delia Smith book here in the UK. It has proved itself time and time again, so although the recipe is written for beginners, and therefore may sound patronising to an experienced cook, it WORKS!

2 oz (50 g) cornflour
1 large egg
3 fl oz (75ml) ICED water

The first thing you need to do is weigh out the cornflour, put it in a polythene bag and then place it with the unbroken egg in the fridge for about 1 hour to get thoroughly cold. At the same time place a few ice cubes and about 3 fl oz (75 ml) cold water in a bowl or jug and put that in the fridge as well.

When you're ready to cook the tempura, begin to heat the frying oil, using a thermometer to check how hot it is getting. Have a plate with absorbent kitchen paper ready for draining and keep it in a warm place. When the oil reaches 175F (90C), take the chilled ingredients out of the fridge.
In a bowl using chopsticks, blend the egg with 3 fl oz (75 ml) of the iced water, not too thoroughly it's more blending than whisking. Now sift the cornflour, and what's going to be really hard now is to resist the temptation to whisk, but instead very lightly blend leaving some free cornflour unblended, and totally ignoring the lumps!

When the oil reaches 350F (180C), measure 1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour on to a plate use this to coat the ingredients (eg prawns, thinly sliced aubergine etc) before they go into the batter. After coating with the cornflour, hold the tail of the prawn (as an example) with cooking tongs, then quickly coat it with batter, and if this includes a lump, all the better. Now keep hold of the tail, lower the prawn into the hot oil and then release the tail about 30 seconds later. Now do the same with another prawn and when they float to the top and the batter turns golden, they're cooked, so now remove them to the plate lined with kitchen paper to drain.
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Old 11-23-2005, 11:02 AM   #3
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Ishbel's recipe sounds wonderful. Mine is similar, only I add a teensy bit of salt to mine and use a cold beer instead of water. The batter gets very light because of the bubbly beer.
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Old 11-23-2005, 02:44 PM   #4
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For mine I leave out the egg and use ice cold soda water for the fizz.

An all round general tip for tempura is to make the batter as close to cooking time as possible so it retains its light consistency.
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Old 11-24-2005, 08:05 AM   #5
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Thanks folks! I think I'm gonna try Ishbel's way but using soda water. Beer isn't usually in stock and using just a bit of it would lead to wastage (no one here will drink the rest). I'll report back on what happens! Thanks again!
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Old 11-25-2005, 01:19 AM   #6
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Ishbel, I tried it just now and it was great! Best ever! I tried it on cubed soft tofu and parsley. I used soda water and didn't mix the ice into the batter. Rather, I made a really cold ice bath (bowl with batter in bigger bowl with ice water). Wonderful! Thank you!

The soft tofu didn't turn out so crunchy. Guess it's the nature of tofu. But the parsley was great. Light and crunchy and herby just like in the Japanese restaurants. I recommend it highly. I'm referring to parsley that one uses for garnishing. Cooked in tempura batter, parsley bunches turn out not just edible but delicious!
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Old 11-25-2005, 04:17 AM   #7
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Courgettes (? zucchini for US/Aussies) sliced thinly are also great - as are courgette flowers! Prawns work great, too.
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Old 11-25-2005, 05:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishbel
Courgettes (? zucchini for US/Aussies) sliced thinly are also great - as are courgette flowers! Prawns work great, too.
Ishbel, don't forget Italians!! Zucchini is actually an Italian name
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Old 11-25-2005, 05:27 PM   #9
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I know - but so few Italian post!!!

I think it's really interesting that Americans (and Australians) choose to use the Italian word for courgette, rather than the French word that the British adopted... It's the same with aubergine - eggplant to Americans and Aussies, but we still use the French version.

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Old 11-25-2005, 07:53 PM   #10
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yum yum, my favorite tofu, chopstix!!!!!! My recipe also calls for ice cold soda water, also! Seems to do the trick!
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