Cooking Japanese in Jamaica: Shrimp Tempura
Ai Irisawa-Coney, Contributor
This week's recipe is for shrimp tempura. Tempura is a very popular Japanese fast food. And you can make it with almost anything. If you have pieces of pumpkin, Irish potato, carrot or even onions, you can slice them and make tempura. What makes it tempura is that crisp batter. You can slice or dice ingredients, dip them into the batter, throw them in hot oil and there you have it! At the same time, it's a perfect comfort food for the days you don't feel like making a production out of a meal.
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves two persons.
Ingredients for Tempura
6 large shrimp
2 slices each of pumpkin, sweet pepper and carrot
1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, sifted together
1/3 cup of water
3 cubes of ice
Soy bean or vegetable oil
For Tempura dip
A cup of water (200ml)
1/4 cup of sake or white wine
1/4 cup of high quality soy sauce
1/4 cup of mirin which can be substituted by 2 tablespoons of sugar
15g of Katsuo, if you have any.
Tempura can be eaten with a sprinkle of natural sea salt, soy sauce or tempura dip. Tempura dip can be made easily.
1. First, you make Japanese fish stock or Dashi using Katsuo bushi (dried and shaved bonito fish).
2. Throw some in cold water and leave it until it boils. Once boiled, using a colander, remove Katsuo bushi from the stock. If you do not have Katsuo bushi, you can skip this process.
3. Add soy sauce, sake or white wine, Mirin or sugar into Dashi or water and boil gently for five minutes. Then leave to cool.
4. Shell the shrimp leaving the tail. Make sure shrimp is neither frozen nor cooked at this point. Using a toothpick, cut a slit down the back of shrimp and remove a black line (devein). Slightly slice the belly of shrimp horizontally in order to stop it from curling when cooked. Season shrimp with a little bit of salt.
5. Heat a half inch of oil in frying pan while you prepare the tempura batter. Shift flour and baking powder then add water. Stir the mixture briefly so the lumps and bumps are still there. You have to be careful here, as stirring the mix until smooth will make tempura thick and soggy. Then throw ice cubes in the batter. The reason we do this is because the colder the batter is, when thrown into hot oil, the crispier it gets.
6. Dip shrimp and vegetables in batter and fry them for a minute or two on each side until golden and crispy. Do not throw ice cubes into oil as you will get burnt or cause a fire.
Itadakimasu (Bon Appétit)
Ai and her husband operate a Jamaican/Chinese food take-out restaurant and she also managed a Japanese restaurant in Soho London.