Selection of tempura
Although Japanese deep-fried food was around before tempura, it was not until Iberian missionaries brought the style in the 16th century that tempura was born.
Although Japanese deep-fried food was around before tempura, it was not until Iberian missionaries in the 16th century brought the style of cooking, with a batter of flour and eggs, that tempura as we know it today originated. At that time, foods would be deep-fried in lard with a batter of flour, water, eggs, and salt. In the 17th century (Edo period), tempura became popular as a Yatai (street food) dish in Tokyo. As there was an abundance of freshly caught seafood, the recipe for tempura changed to a milder version (of just flour, eggs and water) so as not to overpower the fresh fish. Today’s versions evolved from this popular street food and include not just fish, but a variety of vegetables and greenery such as ‘shiso’ leaves. Interestingly, far from its origins as fast-food, it is now often considered to be part of high-end cuisine.
Making tempura involves dipping the produce in tempura batter and deep-frying it. As simple as the cooking process may seem, getting each ingredient just right requires a lot of skill and experience on the part of the chef. The outside must not be too oily, and have that signature crunch, while on the inside each ingredient must have the right amount of moisture and not dry. They are also prepared in order to retain the ingredients’ vivid colours, shapes, and flavours even when battered and fried.
Popular combination: tempura and soba(buckwheat) noodles
Have you ever tried eating tempura, or tried making it yourself? Maybe you’ll enjoy it even more now knowing how much effort goes into perfecting each piece!