Tempura is a popular Japanese dish that is also popular in many Western Japanese restaurants. It consists of deep friend seafood or vegetables.
Though Tempura is traditionally a Japanese dish, Tempura was not created in Japan. It was introduced to Japan in the late 1600’s by the Portuguese missionaries. The Portuguese already ate deep fried shrimp, and they called the meal “tempero.” The dish was renamed “tempura” by the Japanese.
Before Tempura, pan frying any meal was very rare in Japanese culture. But once tempura was introduced, the idea became slightly more widely accepted in other types of food as well. However, despite tempura’s existence in the 1600’s, it was not until the 1800’s that tempura restaurants started to pop up around Japan, and it wasn’t until the late 1800’s where tempura was considered an acceptable social dish by high society.
The basic tempura recipe is fairly easy to create. The batter consists only of cold water, eggs and wheat flour beaten together and heated up towards 160-180 degrees Celsius. Some people add baking soda, oils and spices, but these are personal touches and not the traditional tempura recipe. Until frying, the batter is often kept cold, sometimes by adding ice.
Tempura is only mixed for a few seconds so that there are several clumps still remaining in the batter. They are traditionally mixed with chopsticks. After the batter is completed, vegetables or meats are dipped into flour first, then the batter and then fried in hot vegetable/canola oil or sesame oil for only a few seconds or a few minutes (depending on the thickness of the item being friend) and then taken out before it is overcooked. When tenkasu, or flour/batter bits fall into the oil, it is important they are taken out after every item is fried.
Many people take the deep frying qualities of tempura and put it in other meals. Some people make tempura or deep fried ice cream. Other people make tempura fruit. There are also tempura noodles, which is really nothing more than tempura served with noodles, but it is quickly becoming a popular way to serve the food.