The secret to making perfect tempura is to maintain the cooking oil at a constant temperature and also not frying more than two or three pieces at a time.
All ingredients such as mirin, sake, tempura flour, dark Japanese soya sauce are available at Yamato Ya, Safdurjung Enclave, New Delhi (011-41650164).
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The tempura batter
2 egg yolks
150g tempura flour*
250ml ice water
* In case you don’t find tempura flour at your local Asian or Japanese goods store, mix two cups of cups of maida (refined flour) with a cup of rice flour or cornflour.
Whisk together flour, water and eggs. Do not over-mix. The batter should be a little lumpy. Using ice-cold water while making the batter will prevent it from soaking up too much oil while frying.
Vegetable oil for frying
Japanese seven-spice powder
Nori seaweed powder
Fried garlic flakes
Slice the vegetables into half-inch pieces. Dip each piece in dry flour and then in the tempura batter, shake off the excess batter. Fry until medium beige or light golden brown. Be careful not to crowd the wok, or let pieces touch each other. Repeat steps for remaining pieces, taking care to skim off excess bits of floating batter from the hot oil (they can reduce oil temperature).
600ml water or vegetable stock
10 strips of kelp seaweed
100ml dark Japanese soy sauce (Shoyu)
5g Bonito flakes (optional use for non-vegetarians only)
1tsp grated ginger
1tsp grated daikon (radish)
Heat vegetable stock (you can also make it by boiling water with kelp seaweed). When it starts boiling, add mirin and the dark soy sauce. Boil for two minutes, add the sake. To add more body to the dashi, add the Bonito flakes and remove from the fire. Leave for 15 minutes and then strain. Before serving, place add grated daikon (radish) and ginger in a bowl and pour this mix over it. Serve hot.