Nothing beats crispy tempura right out of the fryer, but there’s nothing worse than tempura coming out soggy and chewy. Samuels has compiled some tips and tricks to help ensure your tempura is the crispiest possible.
We do offer a tempura mix that you just need to add eggs and liquid to, or you can make your own. But, were not going to get into specific recipes.
The most important things to know about tempura is that your batter needs to be new, cold, slightly lumpy and your oil should be maintained around 350°F.
For the batter, make sure you sift the dry mixture first before mixing with your liquid, this will make for a lighter batter with less lumps – but lumps are OK. Use chopsticks, not a whisk to incorporate. Overmixing will allow the gluten strands to start fully forming, creating a chewy texture.
There are a lot of debates out there on which liquid to use for tempura. We like using club soda, ginger beer, or ginger ale. You can also add a little vodka to help encourage even more crispiness.
Now, this may sound crazy, but when you mix your liquid into your dry mix, add some ice cubes, and keep them in there. This makes the cold batter expand rapidly once it hits the hot oil, creating that irresistible crispy texture you crave. If you don’t want to go with this method, keep the batter in a metal mixing bowl over another mixing bowl filled with ice.
Thickness of your batter can also be a major factor in your end result. You want it to be a little thicker than nape; but you want to let as much excess drip off as possible.
When frying your items, make sure you dredge them first. You can use some of your dry batter mix, but we suggest using rice or cake flour due to its low gluten content. If you’re frying shiso leaves, only dredge one side so you can taste the delicate flavors.
Now that you’re ready to fry, there are a few pro-tips that will help you ensure the best product.
First thing is while your tempura is frying, use a chopstick to drizzle a little more batter on each item, creating an extra layer of crispiness. Adding turmeric to your batter will give you a beautiful golden color that enhances the entire experience. When frying heavier items, gently place about half the product into the oil, then drop it in. This will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the fryer.
If you’re planning on doing a lot of tempura, or have a long service, the batter really only lasts 1-2 hours. Create a couple of kits in mixing bowls that you can mix al la minute. This will give you the best results most often.
Lastly, here’s list of our favorite items at Samuels to utilize with tempura:
- Shiso leaf
- Baby shitake
- Softshell crab
- Fish cheeks
- Ginger buds
- Daikon radish
- Hearts of Palm
- Jidori Eggs
- Quail Eggs
- Halibut Trim
- Crawfish Tails