Sunday, May 9th, 2010
Vegetable kakiage is one of my favorite types of tempura, and since I tempted you with a picture of it with the udon, I thought I’d include a recipe.
As I mentioned in the udon post, vegetable kakiage is a combination of vegetables cut julienne and mixed in a tempura batter and deep fried. The batter holds the vegetables together so you end up getting something that looks like a flat bird’s nest. I always put onions and carrots because they both give it a nice sweetness. Depending on what other ingredients I have on hand, I’ll put green onions, shirasu (a general term used for baby fish that are still white such as baby sardines and baby anchovies), gobo (burdock root), shiso or sometimes podded edamame (young soy beans). It’s a great way to use up bits of left over vegetables in your fridge.
Simple Vegetable Kakiage (makes 4)
1 medium carrot
1 small onion
1 green onion
100 ml flour (yes ml is a weird way of measuring it but I figured it was better than saying 0.4 cup of flour but you could round it off and use a half cup.)
1/2 cup of water
1 teaspoon of vinegar
Canola oil for frying
1) Cut the carrots, onion and green onion julienne and set aside.
2) In a medium sized bowl, add the water and vinegar. Slowly add in the flour and mix with a whisk for 30 seconds.
*Please note that for a super crunchety batter, make sure you add the vinegar before you add the flour otherwise it won’t be nearly as crunchy. Scientist people might be able to understand the chemistry behind this but for some reason the vinegar does something chemically to the water that makes it crunchy.
3) Add the vegetables to the batter and mix well. Also be sure to mix in between adding some of the mixture to the oil because the batter isn’t that thick. Otherwise you’ll be left with lots of batter in the end.
4) Heat oil to 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit). The oil temperature is important because if the temp is too low, you’ll get soggy kakiage and if it’s too hot it’ll burn quickly.
5) Add 1/4 of the mixture to the oil. Use chopsticks or tongs to poke holes at it so that the kakiage is light and crunchy and you don't end up with a vegetable fritter.
Fry for about 1-2 minutes on each side if you’re not using a lot of oil.
Vegetables mixed in batter.
Add it to the oil. You can use a small sauce pot if you don't want to use a lot of oil. Make one at a time.
Poke with chopsticks and pull them apart slightly so you don't get clumpy kakiage.
Ready to pull it out
Perfectly golden brown. The one on the bottom one was pulled out a little early but it was perfectly crunchy. The one of the left had a nice golden brown and was also nice and crunchy. The one on the far right is a little over cooked and the onion was little bitter.
Ready to eat! You poke the holes so you get a bird's nest type of light airy kakiage.
Eat as is with tempura sauce or put on top of udon.