January 7th: National Tempura Day
Posted on January 14 2015
Kicking off the New Year just right, January 7th rang in National Tempura Day in the United States!
Tempura is a traditional Japanese dish that focuses on seafood and vegetables that are battered and then deep-fried. Tempura begins with a wheat flour batter that’s mixed in small batches with chopsticks. The cold batter will be lumpy and this is what will give the Tempura its fluffy texture after it’s cooked. Be sure not to over mix your batter! Otherwise, your Tempura will be chewy and tough after it’s cooked. Unlike Furai, Tempura doesn’t use panko in its batter mix. Tempura is then deep fried in in sesame or canola oil and served with vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, and eggplant.
There’s no need to go to a fancy or expensive Japanese restaurant to get good Tempura. Just a few tips and you’re on your way to creating top-notch Tempura, right in your own home.
- Use cold water or ice for the batter. This will help keep the batter from absorbing too much oil.
- Make the batter right before you prepare the Tempura. Don’t prepare the batter ahead of time and don’t coat the ingredients with too much batter.
- Fry the vegetables first, followed by the seafood.
- Your oil must be between 300 and 400 degrees to properly prepare the food. To test the oil temperature, drop some batter in the oil. If the batter doesn’t sink, it’s too hot. If the batter drops halfway to the bottom and comes back up to the surface, it’s the right temperature.
- Make sure your food is dry before battering. Pat them with a clean paper towel to remove excess liquid.
- Soups and pickles are traditional side dishes to Tempura but you can add rice, as well. Beverages like tea and hot sake compliment the dishes well.
Try these great recipes for your own Tempura celebration:
- Tempura Green Beans with Mushroom Salt and Shallot Dip
- Tempura Fried Avocado Bites
- Tempura-Battered Smelt
- Tempura Shrimp and Vegetables
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