This Spring we traveled to Japan. I am not a big fan of sushi, but I do like tempura; thus I ate a lot of it.
When we returned home, I attempted to make my own tempura. I had a recipe from a Japanese cook book from several years ago. The batter recipe was simple:
1 egg, 1 cup all purpose sifted flour, 1/2 cup water.
It turned out that 1/2 cup water resulted in a batter too thick to coat anything. I added another 1/2 cup of water.
The result was a thick almost uneatable coating……not at all like Japan.
After searching the web for tempura batter recipes and finding many similar to my original recipe (except they added more water). I finally found the major problem: Normal All Purpose Four has too much protein due to the high gluten content. Cake flour is the thing to use. This is the reason some tempura recipes call for a mixture of flour and cornstarch. I tried this and was still not satisfied.
SOLUTION: If you are not planning to do tempura cooking on a large scale, make life easy and buy tempura batter mix at the grocery store. I used the Dynasty brand, but other brands are probably good too. The directions are simple. I used half of the 8 oz box for two of us and had plenty left over, which they suggest to keep in the freezer.
My result was a light crust just like we got in Japan. I used tilapia and thin cut zucchini. The bok choi was steamed. You can use small cuts of green beans, egg plant, green peppers, etc.
If you prefer to do things by scratch, I have included a recipe from a 2012 article,”Light as a Feather” by Harris Salat. It can be found on the web at: http://www.saveur.com/gallery/How-To-Make-Tempura
Sorry I punted on this one folks, but sometimes it’s best to take the easy way out.