90% of the time, I try to feed my children healthy foods. 90% of the time, when I prepare dinner, I try to think of good “power foods” to nourish our family’s health. 90% of the time, the snacks I offer the boys have nutritional value.
Then there’s the other 10%.
10% of the time, I try and loosen up and kick back and let the boys have snacks that, while still (usually) free of additives and preservatives, are really just special treats. 10% of the time I just let the boys be boys and eat some fun food. And probably less than 10% of the time, I plan a dinner that is a fun, a treat and an indulgence.
Such as the case when SPH and decided to try our hand at homemade tempura. We fried seafood and vegetables (perhaps to appease my inner health nut?) and feasted on Japanese fried food. Wow. It was incredibly tasty and much easier to do than I ever imagined.
The trick to getting a good tempura is using Club Soda to mix the batter. The effervescence in the Club Soda makes the tempura batter extra light and airy and makes the fried tempura, dare I say: light.
Next time you are in the mood for a fun, indulgent dinner, give this technique a try. It was delicious.
Tempura Battered Dinner
Seafood (firm fish, shrimp)
Chicken or Pork
Steamed Vegetables (broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, asparagus)
Raw Vegetables (onion slices, mushrooms, spinach)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups chilled club soda
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
First, prepare the protein and vegetables. Steam any vegetables that need to be for 2-3 minutes, quickly steaming and then cooling them. Once cool, take a clean, dry kitchen towel and gently dry the vegetables. Set aside.
Slice the protein you will use into thin slices or bite-sized pieces. Set aside
In a medium stock pot, heat the oil over medium high to high heat. You want the oil to be very hot but not smoking before you place anything in the oil to fry.
Meanwhile, mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir well to combine. Add the club soda and mix until fully incorporated.
Choose one vegetable or protein at a time and submerge 5-6 pieces into the tempura batter. Test the oil by placing one of the battered items in the oil. It should immediately bubble vigorously when placed in the oil. If not, you need to wait until the oil is hot enough.
Using 5-6 at a time, place them in the oil. Cook 2-3 minutes, using a slotted spoon to move around the pieces gently to ensure cooking on all sides.
Remove the items from the oil once cooked and golden brown, using the slotted spoon and placing them on a cookie sheet covered with paper towels to absorb the extra oil. Sprinkle sparingly with salt, if desired.
Choose your next vegetable or protein and repeat the process. Choosing uniform items in the oil allows for the cooking times to by uniform and therefore you won’t have overcooked green beans and undercooked chicken.
Continue cooking until completed. Serve with soy sauce for dipping.