Although I still get a bit panicky when faced with frying food, I really wanted to have a go at some tempura vegetables. What better way of enjoying lovely, healthy vegetables than covering them in batter and frying them? My slight obsession with sweet chilli sauce helps too, as it is the perfect accompaniment to this quick and easy Japanese dish.
Playlist to accompany your cooking
Racing Glaciers – Racing Glaciers EP
Laces – To the Bone (Sandpaper Hands)
Rather than the usual mixed playlist, I have just chosen two bands. Both unsigned and both hugely talented. The first song, by Laces I came across when looking for the second band online. I can’t seem to find much information on them, but they have a website here. ‘To the Bone (Sandpaper Hands)’ has already got them some comparisons to Radiohead, which I don’t really hear apart from an interesting beat and perhaps a similar guitar sound. However, the lead singer’s voice is very different to Thom Yorke’s! Haunting and goosebump-inducing, ‘To the Bone’ is a song that really gets under your skin.
Racing Glaciers are a new indie-folk four-piece from Macclesfield. Despite only forming in August 2012, they have already managed to record one of the best debut EPs I’ve heard in a long time. Although the EP was recorded over five days in the bassist’s living room in drizzly September, this is definitely no amateur effort. If the group managed to produce an EP full of music of this quality in just a month of being together, all written by them too of course, I personally cannot wait to hear more.
Clever, rich, full and bursting with the hazy dreaminess you would expect from songs about “rivers and the nighttime,” ‘Racing Glaciers’ sounds like it has been planned for years. With no promotion, the EP had over 10,000 plays in a couple of days, with new fans across the world getting in touch with the band just to say how much they love them. For fans of Sigur Ros, The National, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, I can basically guarantee that you will love this self-titled debut EP from a band I think will be getting signed very soon.
I’m sure this is the first and last time they will probably hear their music can make tempura vegetables taste better too…
I had read several different recipes for cooking tempura and have compiled a few tempura tips:
– Use fizzy water
– Make sure your water is ice cold to make sure your batter does not absorb too much oil and stays crisp
– Make sure your oil is hot. (Oil hot, batter cold!)
– Use your batter immediately. Do not make it in advance
– It does not matter if your batter has the odd lump or two
– Only fry a few pieces at a time if you are using a small pan, otherwise it will reduce the temperature of your oil
Vegetables of your choice
90g plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
1/2 tsp of sea salt
200 ml of sparkling mineral water
A handful of ice cubes
Prepare all your vegetables before making your batter. I used baby corn, red pepper, courgette, mange tout and carrot, but sweet potato, mushroom, okra, pumpkin and bamboo shoots work really well too.
Preheat the oven to around 150c.
Start to heat a large wok or deep-fat frying pan a third to half full of vegetable oil. Make sure you either have a frying basket or slotted spoon ready.
If you have a thermometer, heat the oil to 190c. If not, use a small piece of bread. The bread should turn golden brown in 30 seconds.
Sift 90g of plain flour, 1 tbsp of cornflour and 1/2 tsp of sea salt into a large mixing bowl.
Add 200ml of ice-cold sparkling mineral water and a handful of ice cubes and whisk until the mixture is combined.
Dip a few vegetables into the batter and transfer into the oil. Fry for around two minutes.
Scoop the tempura out and onto some kitchen towel, before putting in the oven to keep warm. Keep the oven door slightly open so your tempura stay crisp.
Letting the oil reach its temperature again in between, continue in batches until you have fried all your vegetables.
Serve immediately on a warm plate with a bowl of sweet chilli sauce, or soy.