Posts tagged fruits

Baked Tempura

This magazine I was flipping through the other day had a restaurant ad with a very hypnotic photo of tempura. That got me all excited about my next kitchen project. The only thing is that I forgot that deep frying is a big part of how you make the dish. And deep frying is something I was trying to remove from my cooking vocabulary these days. So, I immediately thought of the possibility of baking it instead. I wasn’t sure if it would work, though. But then again, I’ve made baked tonkatsu in the past with excellent results, so that, at least, gave me some confidence that it might actually work for tempura also.

Well, it’s not quite the texture you get when you deep fry it, obviously. As you can see, it’s not as shiny as when it’s soaked in oil. But this is a very acceptable alternative, nonetheless, if health awareness is something you’d consider. The flavor is authentically tempura. Especially, when you factor in the dipping sauce.

Ah… the sauce, yes! Now, this is a whole new ball of wax, I have to say. I’ve tried in the past to make tempura dipping sauce but I couldn’t quite get the authenticity part down. I know because I’ve had it in Japanese restaurants before and there’s always a depth to it that’s more than just soy sauce, rice wine and sugar. But after a little research, I found out that there was yet a missing piece to the puzzle. The chicken stock. Now, why didn’t I think of that? Anyhow, I’m finally pleased that my dipping sauce has come as close as it could to the real thing.

But wait! There’s so many ingredients I couldn’t possibly consume this much tempura. Not to worry. I already have something in mind for the leftover veggies. Stay tuned.

Ingredients: Seafood (I used Salmon and Catfish),Vegetables (I used Mushrooms, Sweet Potato, Green Beans and Zucchini) and/or Fruits (I used Apple, Pear and Avocado) of your choice, Cooking Oil Spray, Salt & Pepper, Tempura Batter, Ice Cold Water. For dipping sauce: Soy Sauce, Mirin, Chicken Stock.

Directions: Preheat oven to 450F. Cut seafood, fruits and veggies into bite size pieces. Place them on a prep tray, spray with cooking oil spray and season with salt & pepper. In a big bowl, mix batter with ice cold water to right consistency. Spray baking pan with cooking oil spray. Dip everything in batter one piece at a time, shaking off excess batter and placing them on the baking sheet. Make sure to not crowd everything together or they will stick. Spray another coat of cooking spray on top of everything to keep from drying. Place pan in oven for roughly 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce by combining 3 parts chicken stock, 1 part soy sauce and 1 part mirin in a sauce pan. Stir until warm.

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Don’t wanno kiwano

It’s like 30F out there, at 7am on a Saturday and where am I? At the grocery store wondering what I’ll have for breakfast. I move over to the fruits section, grab a box of fresh strawberries and as I try to scan the rest of the fruits on display, to see what else I can pair the strawberries with, I see this…

Kiwano, it says. A ki-what-now? This thing looks deadly with its spikes but I gotta admit it got the best of me when I grabbed one thinking, I’ve got to at least give it a try. I had no idea what I’m in for with this strange looking mutant but for 4 buck a pop, it’s gotta be good, I thought.

Back home, I jump on the web to try to find out what the story is! What it is, where it came from, who’s had it before and if there’s a chance it might be good with strawberries. Well, first I learn that it’s a melon, a horned melon (Say what?) and it’s of African origin. Fine, I thought. Now, I go to the kitchen and slice it open…

Not wanting to taste it yet, I bring the plate into the study and continue to read blogs of people who’s had it before. Not a whole lot has had it, I discover. Worse, none of those who’s had it had anything good to say, either. Great!! Now, only one way to find out, for sure. So finally, I scoop out a chunk with a spoon. It was gooey, gelatinous and awkward with seeds I’m not sure are edible. If they’re not, it would be bad. I mean, why bother when the seeds are what most of the fruit itself consists of. Anyway, moment of truth! I take a bite and all I can say is…

OMG!!!!

All I can think of is… you gotta be kidding me! Almost flavorless and whatever hint of flavor it has wasn’t even fruit-like. And the seeds! The seeds! You really want to spit them out but it’s impossible to do. I mean, you might as well not eat the fruit at all, y’know! Which, evidently, wasn’t such a bad idea at this point. It was 4 bucks down the drain but, oh well. At least, there’s one less fruit I have to decide on, next time.

Glad to, at least, have the strawberries around to please my morning palate and save the day.

A little drizzle of lemon juice, some lemon zest, chopped mint to garnish and a drizzle of pure maple syrup. Ahh… now, that’s redeeming!

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