Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tempura and Flavored Dipping Salt

Recently I went to a Japanese restaurant whose specialty is soba noodles and soup. I asked if they had anything vegetarian and they looked at me almost kindly, as if to say, how sad that you can't eat our food. She said she'd check with the chef - I really really wanted to try the soba. But the chef said that all the broths were fish based, so that was out. And then he said he could make me some vegetarian tempura.

The fabulous plate of tempura arrived, but no fabulous dipping sauce. I asked for it, only to be told that all tempura dipping sauce is made with fish sauce in restaurants! I looked down to see that she had provided a dipping "salt". There were two kinds - green tea salt and sea salt. The green tea salt was superb!! I asked the chef and he said he just whizzes green tea leaves and salt together! Now, why didn't I think of making flavored salt?!

A week later, I had a craving for the tempura with the salt. And so this story ends here! I never realized how easy it is to make tempura - and I'm going to make it many times over - and have it with fabulous flavored salts. Mmm. You have to try this.

Tempura with Flavored Dipping Salt

For the Batter:
1 Egg, beaten
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1 cup very cold Water

Beat the egg. Add the water and mix. Now sift the flour into the egg mixture and combine lightly. Do not over mix. There'll be a few lumps but that's okay.

Good vegetables to use for tempura are carrot sticks, potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach. I tried okra too (hmm... not so good). You could experiment with most vegetables. And of course, shrimp tempura is a traditional favorite with the Japanese. Remember that vegetables take longer to cook than seafood when you deep fry.

Dip the vegetables in the batter and coat it very lightly. Now carefully deep fry in hot oil. This was the first time that I was deep frying anything! But the tempura was well worth it.

It was delicious! I served it with green tea salt and paprika salt. And my orange "squid" chopsticks!


Bharti said... I'm not laughing at you..I go thru this stuff in restaurants all the time! God forbid, if you're a vegetarian and a foodie! Freakin' nightmare especially at authentic Asian restaurants. The Asian chains here have still become more cognizant of vegetarian diets, and we pretty much stick to those when in the mood for anything with noodles.
But yeah..the green tea and paprika salts sounds interesting!

Cham said...

Ha ha, ur plate turns non-veg with the squid chopsticks! They looks cute :)
The green salt is pretty interesting with an unusal flavor, lovely!

Mallika said...

Hilarious. They must have wondered what was up with you. Your tempura looks super authentic by the way. And I love the sound of the green tea salt!

Ranjani said...

Your experience totally hit home- great idea with the dipping salts, I make a flavored salt with Grapefruit rind- it's prett good too!

Loving the adorable chopsticks!

Anonymous said...

Where, where, where did you get those chopsticks? My heart leapt out of my chest when I saw them! So adorable. Great post.


Unknown said...

flavoured salt? is it like garlic salt or herbs salt or something? i'm not keen on japanese cooking other than sushi or fried battered shrimps. this looks nice!

Unknown said...

Oh my! FIrst time you deep fried something!the chopsticks look cute..And havent had tempura..Will try them for sure..

Nidhi said...

Tempura looks nice. Green Tea Salt is very interesting. Did u say this was the first time you deep fried? I find myslef deep frying atleast once a week.

Shaheen said...

Your tempura looks so utterly crisp and appetizing. The orange chopsticks add a nice touch of colour to the plate.. adorable! I'm glad I discovered your blog. :)

Nirmala said...

Fabulous! Thats so easy to make and ;) can try them with shrimps too. How would they taste with a garlic sauce ? must be good ! Those cop sticks are too cute to use!

delhibelle said...

I go through this all the time in Singapore and miss out on some great awker food.
What a delicious start to frying..your tempuras look as good as any..try sliced eggplant tempura , if u like eggplants.And kakiage, made with peels and shredded vegtables, a bit like onion bhajias...and very tasty

Srivalli said...

Anu that does look different...does it smell too much of egg?..those sticks are very cute!

mitr_bayarea said...


very authentic Japanese pan fare here...

Priyanka said...

i cant believe you made pasta at home....great job....i would have tried the tempura..but it requires eggs...alas...your bombay chaat sndwich and pizza also look delicious. try using a pesto base for the pizza with some oven baked garlicky tomatoes and any italian cheese.

sra said...

Those squid chopsticks are so cute!

notyet100 said...

ur plate looks so temptin,.nd cute chopsticks,..

Jayashree said...

Didn't know tempura could be made without fish. Those chopsticks are so cute.

Rajani said...

lovely recipe! and the salt thing is a great idea - always find something interesting to try out when I pass by. :)

Deeba PAB said...

Looks great Arundathi.Tell me something-Did the egg in the tempura batter have an eggie smell? (sorry to ask, but I'm seriously eggophobic). This looks lovely...& the salts so novel indeed.

Deepthi Shankar said...

WOW .. that looks awesome. i would have never dared to make it at home .. loved the salts too

Sig said...

I love flavored salt... Recently made a herbed salt after seeing it in some was delicious! Green tea salt, eh? hmmm I gotta try that one!

Dragon said...

Sweet potato tempura is one of my favourites. I love the dipping salts idea!

Dibs said...

I love the way the vegetable colours show through the transparent batter. Can we acheive the same effect through through an eggless batter?

Have the same issues while eating out! And now they have vegan restaurants that serve "vegan fish balls, vegan shrimp, and vegan beef steaks' uuugggh anyway!

Dibs said...

And ya ..the salts too are reAlly photogenic! :-)

Arundathi said...

Bharti - Yes, I think the US is definitely becoming more veggie-friendly, esp compared to Europe where it was really difficult to get anything. And south East Asia, where it seems practically impossible!

Cham - lol! Had to add the authentic seafood touch!

Mallika - Thanks.

Ranjani - what a great idea! thanks!

Alisha - :) In a little shop in Paris. They're adorable, aren't they!

Arfi - Yes, like garlic but it's nice to be able to make my own with my own flavorings and Indian spices.

Divya - You've gotta try it!

Nidhi - I'm just not a huge deep fryer - hate the process!

Coco - :) thanks for stopping by!

Nirmala - lol - thanks! The tempura is a very lightly battered so the garlic sauce might be a little overwhelming. Unless its mild.

Delhibelle - Eggplant is a great idea - I'm not a huge fan, but the family is - thanks!

Valli - nope, doesnt smell eggy at all.

Mitr - thanks

Priyanka - the pizza idea is great - thanks.

Sra - thank you!

Notyet100 - thanks.

Jayashree - yes, tempura are traditionally vegetables and/or shrimp.

Rajani - :) thanks dear!

Deeba - Nope, not eggy at all. Maybe the deep frying helped!! :)

Vegetable Platter - Do try it - I was surprised too that it was simple.

Sig - I'm sure you'll love it - its light and full of flavor

Dragon - Sweet potato is a cool idea! thanks!

Dibs - i'm not sure you could make this without eggs - I guess it would then just become a bhajji? Its a very very light batter.

Anonymous said...

Very cool idea.. I love it! Yeah Japanese restaurants aren't very vegetarian friendly -- pretty much everything has dashi fish stock in it.

Arundathi said...

Jude - I didn't know that until the visit!! I've eaten many a tempura! lol!

Anonymous said...

hi, nice recipe for the veg tempura, some good vegies to tempura are, zuccinni, summer squash carriots and cauliflower. i personly like to make a sweet and sour dipping sauce, with my veg tempura,but your recipe sound good.

Arundathi said...

a sweet and sour sauce sounds great! thank you for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

It is rather interesting for me to read that post. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Kate Swenson