In the Kitchen with James: Tasty Tempura

We all love some good tasty snacks for in front of the TV, so this week James gives his recipe for some quick and simple Tempura.

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Photo: James Fox

One of my favourite pastimes is to sit watching TV and eating snacks; I suspect I’m not alone there. With that in mind, I endeavoured this week to go beyond the realms of normal snack food to make something a little more interesting.

Tempura is a Japanese dish which involves taking ingredients like small seafood or vegetables and deep frying them in batter. It’s quick and simple to prepare and makes for delicious finger food whether you’re lounging in front of the telly or hosting a dinner party.

To prepare the batter simply whisk an egg, add around 150mls of water and 100g of flour. The exact ratio isn’t that important; you just want a batter that isn’t too heavy. Using sparkling water and adding ice will help make your batter lighter and crispier. Unlike with other types of batter, it’s best not to mix too heavily. For tempura, a lumpy batter will provide the characteristic crunchy flakes.

With the batter prepared the next step is to heat some vegetable oil in a wok. 1cm of oil is about right – just enough to cover whatever you’re frying. First of all, pour some batter alone into the oil to check it’s up to temperature; it should start to float almost instantly. Frying some batter on its own will create nice crispy chunks which will stick to the main ingredients and add texture.

What you fry is entirely up to you, but I went for a few classic ingredients: prawns, squid, asparagus and tenderstem broccoli. Roll them in cornflour first so they take the batter more readily. Dip them in the batter then add to the oil, covering them in the pieces of batter already in the wok.

After a couple of minutes everything should be nice and crispy and covered in flakes of batter. Once drained, lightly season and serve with soy sauce.

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