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Old 03-15-2019, 01:47 PM   #1
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ISO the best tempura batter

Iím an expert on tempura. Eating it, that is. Iíve never made it, though, perhaps because of my lack of confidence in frying generally (although Iím getting much better), or perhaps because Iíve heard so many times how difficult it is, and that itís just impossible to do well in a home kitchen. I know for a fact that it canít be impossible; literally millions of Japanese housewives make it as a matter of course.

Iíve read many recipes for tempura batter. The basics seem to be 1. The water must be very cold. The flour must be very gently incorporated, to reduce the formation of gluten. Variations include using seltzer or adding vodka, using a mixture of flour and cornstarch, and using rice flour instead of cornstarch.

If you make tempura regularly, and it turns out between very good and near perfect every time, please share your secrets with me!

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Old 03-15-2019, 01:50 PM   #2
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Also several recipes tend to suggest that a different batter is required for veggies and proteins, but I’ve never seen a chef prepare two different batters!
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Old 03-15-2019, 01:58 PM   #3
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If you make tempura regularly, and it turns out between very good and near perfect every time, please share your secrets with me!
Well, I can only add that I've done tempura just a couple or three times so far and they've turned out good, but not very good, using Kikkoman Tempura Batter Mix where you just add cold water. I should do the batter from scratch next time to see the difference.
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:16 PM   #4
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Well, I can only add that I've done tempura just a couple or three times so far and they've turned out good, but not very good, using Kikkoman Tempura Batter Mix where you just add cold water. I should do the batter from scratch next time to see the difference.
Here are the ingredients listed on the box of Kikkoman tempura batter:

Ingredients: Wheat Flour, Cornstarch, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate).

I’ve got all of those, except of course for the sodium acid pyrophosphate. But the ingredient list doesn’t include ratios, of course.
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:56 PM   #5
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The Japanese supermarket that I go to also has other brands of tempura batter mix that I can perhaps use next time before going scratch.
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Old 03-15-2019, 03:04 PM   #6
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For Japanese recipes, I go to Nami Chen.. "Just One Cookbook"

Here are her Tempura selections..

https://www.justonecookbook.com/?s=tempura

Ross
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Old 03-15-2019, 03:40 PM   #7
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For Japanese recipes, I go to Nami Chen.. "Just One Cookbook"

Here are her Tempura selections..

https://www.justonecookbook.com/?s=tempura

Ross
I love her site! It’s my go-to when looking for inspiration for Asian dishes.
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Old 03-15-2019, 03:47 PM   #8
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For Japanese recipes, I go to Nami Chen.. "Just One Cookbook"

Here are her Tempura selections..

https://www.justonecookbook.com/?s=tempura

Ross
You know, I did come across her recipe when I was trolling google for recipes. I stopped reading, though, when she used the phrase “golden brown.” The best tempura I’ve ever had was several shades short of “golden brown.”
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Old 03-15-2019, 03:48 PM   #9
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I love vegetable tempura, my favorite is renkon (lotus root). I didn't par boil the renkon and I thought they came out fine.... although a bit on the crunchy side.
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Old 03-15-2019, 03:59 PM   #10
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I love her site! Itís my go-to when looking for inspiration for Asian dishes.
I have made only about a dozen of her recipes. Each has been a success. A few are pretty regular repeats.

Ross
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Old 03-15-2019, 07:19 PM   #11
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On the recommendations here, will have to check out Nami Chen's site. Thanks for the link, Ross.

I have to admit I've only made tempura shrimp a couple of times and have used this mix from the little Asian market. Less than $2/box. They recommend that once the batter is mixed (with very cold water), the bowl be set in a bed of ice to make sure the batter stays very cold. Being pretty unfamiliar with tempura frying, I did that, and was happy with the fried shrimp.
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Old 03-15-2019, 09:18 PM   #12
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You know, I did come across her recipe when I was trolling google for recipes. I stopped reading, though, when she used the phrase “golden brown.” The best tempura I’ve ever had was several shades short of “golden brown.”
Mega dittos! A VERY light golden. Not even brown.

I use this recipe and make sure the water is very cold, almost icy. It yields a very light colored finished product. Salt and/or seasoning doesn't hit the vegetables (or whatever you're frying) until it comes up out of the oil. Tempura should not only have a light color, but a light taste.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/23...empura-batter/

My absolute favorite tempura is sliced sweet potatoes and strips of green bell pepper.
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:28 PM   #13
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I haven't made tempura, but I heard somewhere along the way that using beer instead of water helps make it lighter. No idea if that's true.

Thanks to this thread, though, when DH said he wanted to go out to dinner tonight, I suggested Japanese and I ordered tempura :wink.
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Old 03-16-2019, 08:27 AM   #14
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You know, I did come across her recipe when I was trolling google for recipes. I stopped reading, though, when she used the phrase “golden brown.” The best tempura I’ve ever had was several shades short of “golden brown.”
In looking at her photos and the ingredient list, I believe that I would not be put off by her using “golden brown” in her description of the finished product..

All of her various photos seem to show light coloring..

In making her recipes, I have yet to have anything be off color or over cooked..

English is Nami's second language and her idea of “golden brown”, might be a bit different than my first thoughts of “golden brown.”

Ross
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:53 AM   #15
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In looking at her photos and the ingredient list, I believe that I would not be put off by her using ďgolden brownĒ in her description of the finished product..

All of her various photos seem to show light coloring..

In making her recipes, I have yet to have anything be off color or over cooked..

English is Nami's second language and her idea of ďgolden brownĒ, might be a bit different than my first thoughts of ďgolden brown.Ē

Ross
Very good point.
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Old 03-16-2019, 11:34 AM   #16
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I made tempura shrimp one time, at least 20 years ago. While it turned out very good, it was more hassle than it was worth to me, and I never did it again. It worked, but it wasn't worth the effort for me. It takes too long to cook enough shrimp for 4 people in a half dozen or more batches. Like so many deep fried foods, it can't sit around too long - best to eat fairly soon after frying.

I'll stick with the western method for fried shrimp on the rare occasions that I crave it. That usually means open a box of frozen breaded shrimp and pop them in the hot oil.
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Old 03-16-2019, 01:23 PM   #17
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I make shrimp tempura several times a year. I always go back to a recipe from America's Test Kitchen / Cook's Illustrated. It makes a light, airy, crisp coating that everyone here loves.


7 1/2 oz. flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup vodka
1 large egg
1 cup seltzer water


Get your oil very hot - 400F. Drop the colossal shrimp in the batter then the oil. Stir a bit in the oil for about 2 minutes. Done.
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Old 03-16-2019, 05:22 PM   #18
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I make shrimp tempura several times a year. I always go back to a recipe from America's Test Kitchen / Cook's Illustrated. It makes a light, airy, crisp coating that everyone here loves.


7 1/2 oz. flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup vodka
1 large egg
1 cup seltzer water


Get your oil very hot - 400F. Drop the colossal shrimp in the batter then the oil. Stir a bit in the oil for about 2 minutes. Done.
Could I use beer or white wine instead of vodka?
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Old 03-16-2019, 05:59 PM   #19
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Could I use beer or white wine instead of vodka?
The beer is an interesting idea. It would probably alter the taste enough that you couldn’t call it “tempura” anymore...
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Old 03-16-2019, 06:11 PM   #20
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I've used beer instead of water with Kikkoman Tempura batter mix when doing fish tacos.
Honestly, I really couldn't tell any difference from using plain water with the batter mix. But I'm sure others might notice the settle differences...
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