You have probably shelled out big bucks at some fancy restaurant or other to enjoy their signature tempura dish. For those of you who thought that this was a traditional Japanese dish, think again as the concept of tempura was brought to Japan by the Portuguese.
Tempura refers to seafood or vegetables that are covered in batter and deep-fried. It was introduced in Japan by the Dutch in the 16th century, and since then it has gained popularity all over the world as a classic Japanese dish.
Today, we show you how to make authentic Japenese prawn tempura along with some vegetables and the dipping sauce.
Steps to Make Prawn Tempura
Things you’ll need:
- Prawns – 5
- Ginger, grated (optional) – 2 grams
- Fresh radish (optional) – 4 grams
- Flour – ¼ cup
- Olive oil – 1 litre
For Batter Mix:
- Cake flour – ½ cup
- Cornstarch – ½ cup
- Egg whites – 1 egg
- Cold water – 120 ml
- Ice cubes
For Tempura Sauce:
- Japanese soy sauce/Kikkoman sauce – ¼ cup
- White sugar – 1 tablespoon
- Dashi powder – ¼ teaspoon
- Mirin – 1 tablespoon
- Water – ½ tablespoon
Step 1. Remove the heads and peel the prawns
- First gently break off the head.
- Peel off the outer shell leaving the tail intact.
- Do this for all the prawns.
Step 2. Devein the prawns
- Use a sharp knife to cut along the outer surface of the prawns; this will help to expose the vein underneath.
- Gently remove the dark vein as it can spoil the taste of the prawns.
- Scrape the tail to remove excess water.
Step 3. Extend the prawns
- Make a diagonal slit under the belly to loosen meat.
- Slowly pinch down the prawn on a flat surface without breaking the prawn to lengthen its size, you should hear a cracking sound.
Step 4. Prepare the batter
- Add ½ a cup each of cornstarch and cake flour in a mixing bowl.
- Add the egg whites.
- Add 120 ml of cold water.
- Whisk thoroughly to get a smooth batter; it will be quite sticky at this point.
- Add a few ice cubes as you mix to keep the batter chilled.
Step 5. Coat the prawns with flour
- Dip the prepared prawns in flour; make sure that you coat them evenly on all sides.
- You can also slice up a radish and an eggplant.
- Coat them with flour as well.
Step 6. Dip the prawns in batter and fry
- Heat olive oil in a pan. You can also use vegetable oil.
- Once the oil is hot enough, dip the flour-coated prawns in the cold batter; shake off any excess batter and add it to the hot oil.
- Deep fry the prawn, turning it over to the other side till it is a soft golden brown.
- Remove with a pair of chopsticks or by using a slotted spoon.
- Place the fried prawn on a tray lined with paper towels. Similarly, fry the other prawns.
- Dip the sliced vegetables in the batter as well and deep-fry them to a crisp golden brown.
Step 7. Assemble the sauce
- Combine soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in a bowl.
- Add Dashi powder and whisk well.
- Dilute it with some water if the flavor is too strong.
Your sauce is ready; you can now plate and serve the prawn tempura alongside the fried vegetables and sauce. You can use the grated ginger and radish for garnish.
- Instead of adding cold water to the prawn tempura batter you add chilled beer for extra-crispiness and flavor.
- You can also add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda to make the tempura batter more light and airy.
- Another common vegetable that is deep-fried the tempura way is lotus root. Peel and cut the lotus root to 1/8 of an inch. You can coat the slices in tempura batter, and deep fry them as shown above.
- If you want your prawns to have more flavor, you can marinate them with some salt, pepper and lemon juice.
- If you are a fan of seafood, then you can also try out our recipe to make delicious seafood pasta at home.