Kakiage tempura is a mixed vegetable tempura, usually with carrots, onion, and gobo. I didn’t have any gobo on hand, so I made it with just the 2 ingredients. Instead of preparing a variety of vegetables and shrimp, what I like about kakiage tempura is its quick and versatile. We had tempura soba the first night and I repurposed the leftovers the next day as tendon (a tempura rice bowl).
I’ve been making tempura off and on for many years and it’s difficult to master. Sometimes it comes out soggy, sometimes a bit overcooked. But I will share with you what I know:
• Use new oil when possible. I like to recycle oil and mix it in with new oil. I’ve noticed that the recycled oil is not as stable and will fluctuate greatly in temperature.
• When adding water to create the batter, use ice water.
• Don’t over mix the batter. Little lumps and some dry flour is okay.
• Mix in the vegetables swiftly, right before frying.
• The oil needs to be heated slowly to 340ºF (170ºC).
• Fry a little at a time. Over crowding your fryer will lower the frying temperature and make your tempura soggy.
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
2 medium carrots, julienned
1/2 to 3/4 cups (150ml) ice water
scant 1 cup (200ml) flour
oil for frying
Heat a fryer or pot with oil to 340ºF (170ºC). Put the carrots and onion in a medium bowl and toss.
In another bowl, mix together the ice water and egg. Add the flour and combine. Some lumps are okay, so don’t over mix.
Just before frying, add some of the onion and carrots to the batter. Toss swiftly a few times and drop in the oil (you can use a large spoon and your chopsticks to grab a portion). A lot of small bubbles with form, then slow down with slightly larger bubbles. Flip, then cook until golden. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the vegetables.