1/2 gal. peanut or vegetable oil
1 whole egg, well beaten
1 cup very cold iced water
2 Tbsp. dry white wine
1 cup self-rising flour
Frank Davis Sprinkling Spice
Your favorite Oriental dipping sauce
Plus any or all of these foods:
Carrots, cut into thin sticks
Bell pepper, cut into ¼ inch rings
Eggplant, thinly sliced
Broccoli, separated into florets
Cauliflower, separated into florets
Zucchini, thinly sliced
Mushrooms, cut in halves (or whole if small)
Yellow squash, sliced thin
Asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
Shrimp, butterfly and de-vein
First, place the cooking oil in a high-sided skillet or a deep fryer and bring the temperature up to exactly 360 degrees. It is essential that you use either a candy thermometer or a deep-fry thermometer to accomplish this. If you guess at it, you’ll get greasy tempura.
Next, in a large mixing bowl, whip together the beaten egg, the iced water, and the wine until everything is smooth and fully combined. Then add in the flour and the sprinkling spice and whisk it into the egg mixture very quickly.
You want it thick but not pasty.
When you’re ready to cook, set aside a pan of dry flour next to the tempura batter. Then when the oil is up to heat, dredge whatever you plan to cook first in the dry flour (this keeps the batter from sliding off in the oil) and then in the tempura batter.
When the food is fully coated, and the excess has dripped off, drop the battered food into the hot oil and fry it until lightly browned and crunchy-crispy. Drain each piece on several layers of paper towels to absorb whatever excess oil remains.
Serve piping hot with your favorite Oriental dipping sauces.
Using very cold water, at about 40 degrees, keeps the batter from becoming gooey and sticky, which produces an oil tempura.
Be sure to cut whatever you want to tempura in thin slices so that the pieces cook quickly and evenly.
Never use lard or solid shortening when making tempura.
You should deep fry all foods in small batches so that you can maintain the temperature of the oil to prevent them from becoming greasy.
If handling battered food becomes a problem it is okay to use a pair of tongs or a tablespoon to place it in the hot oil.
Vegetables usually take about 2 to 3 minutes to cook. Keep in mind that the thinner the vegetable is sliced, the faster it cooks. But once you get the timing right, the rest of tempura frying is simple.
Mix the batter gently—do not overmix! And never over-batter. It produces tough tempura.
If you don’t have a frying thermometer, you can tell when the temperature is just right by dropping a small amount of batter into the oil and seeing how long it takes for the batter to pop back up to the top.
If it comes up right away instead of sinking to the bottom, the temp is just about 360 degrees. If the batter goes halfway to the bottom then comes up, the temp is about 340. Experts say this is the proper temperature to do tempura.
To prep shrimp for tempura frying, first butterfly them. Then make a couple of slits in the bottom of the shrimp to keep it from curving. When the shrimp hangs down straight, hold it by the tail, dip the body in the batter, then drop it in the hot oil.
Oh—and yes…leave the last shell segment on the shrimp.
You might want to try using the pancake/onion ring recipe to make your tempura.