Thursday, November 12, 2009

Prawn Tempura

Here’s another dish which I was sure I had posted a while ago but I don’t seem to have done so. Time to rectify.

I love making this, the prawns are so easy to throw together and yet you get a big "oooh and ahhh" factor when you serve them up.

The key to good tempura is a very light and lacey batter, this is not fish and chips Brit style, but what you want is a thin light coating on the prawns. To best achieve this you should:

• Make the batter up just before using, don’t let it stand around too long. Also don’t whisk it too much, lumpy is okay.

• Use VERY cold water and add a couple of ice cubes as well. The contrast of the very cold batter and very hot oil is explosive and that creates the lacey texture

• The batter mix will be quite runny, and will appear to only very thinly coat the prawns. This is perfect so don’t worry.

• If you want to substitute the cold water for cold beer or cold fizzy water as some recipes suggest please do. Apparently the bubbles also help to make a lighter batter but personally I’ve not been able to tell the difference.

Traditionally tempura is served with a dipping sauce made with something called ‘dashi’ which is a kind of stock made with dried fish flakes and seaweed. I have never been able to find this in Dubai (if any readers have come across it please do share) and so I use a made up sauce below.

This is a recipe for Prawn Tempura but obviously it is exactly the same for vegetable tempura.

You will need:

Lots of prawns, get the fishmonger to de-shell them but leave the tails on.
Lots of oil, at least 800ml. I tend to use peanut oil, but sunflower etc is okay.

For the batter:

1 egg yolk
125g plain flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
A pinch of baking soda
300ml really cold water
Ice cubes

For the dipping sauce

2 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp mirin or sherry
1 tbsp ketyap manis (Maestro Alexander explains what that is here )
And then you need to:

Add the dipping sauce ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Let gently bubble for 5 mins and then pour into a little bowl.

Add the oil to a wok and bring to a high heat. I turn my hob up to 8 (out of 10).

Make up the batter by adding the water (or beer) to the egg yolk and then mixing in the flour, cornstarch and baking soda. Add ice cubes, don’t over work and set to one side.

Wash, then dry the prawns. Dip into the batter, let the excess run off and carefully drop into the very hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the oil, do a couple at a time and don’t stir them around too much. The prawns will cook very quickly, certainly in less than 2 minutes. Remove gently, place on kitchen towel to drain a little and then arrange on a large platter for serving.

And that, as they say, is that!


the real nick said...

Thanks, I didn't know about the ice cold water. Must try this.
When I make these "pinkies in a blanket" I add pepperoncino (red chilli flakes) to the batter.

halfmanhalfbeer said...

Ooh I like the sound of the chilli flakes....

Mark said...

Thanks for the recipe! going to use your recipe this weekend as my daughter is having her 12th birthday party =)