Early spring is always tempura time for me because the edible flower buds of the Fuki plant sprout out of the ground in early spring and can be harvested and eaten with tempura before they turn into flowers. This winter has been warmer than usual in Boston, so the Fuki buds (Fuki-noto) sprouted about a month early. I just picked them and prepared my tempura.
I will show you my basic kakiage tempura recipe here, but it also works with any of your favorite cooking veggies, such as eggplant, green beans, lotus roots, shitake mushrooms, bell peppers, or broccoli.
Basic Kakiage Tempura
· 1 cup (240ml) of flour
· 1 egg cracked into a 1 cup measure then fill the remainder of the cup with cold water
· oil for frying
· 1 onion
· 1 carrot
1. Pour oil into a deep frying pan (about 1.5 inch deep) and heat to about 340 to 350 degrees F (170 to 180 degrees C).
2. In a bowl, lightly mix the flour, egg and water. Don't mix too much, lots of lumps should be in the batter.
3. Slice the onion, and julienne cut the carrots, and mix in a bowl.
4. Pour tempura batter over the onions and carrots and mix lightly.
5. Use a spoon to scoop the onion and carrot mix into the oil. Fry until lightly browned and crispy.
6. Remove the tempura from the oil and place on a rack.
· 1 cup of water
· ¼ cup of soy sauce
· ⅓ cup of Mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
· 1 handful of bonito flakes
1. Put all ingredients in a saucepan and boil. Remove from the heat and let it sit until it cools.
2. Strain the sauce to remove any particles.
3. Serve with fresh grated/ground Daikon and ginger, if you like.
The bittersweet taste of Fuki-noto signifies the start of spring for me.