My Japanese Table, A Lifetime of Cooking with Friends and Family by Debra Samuels includes recipes like String Beans with Crunchy Toasted Peanuts Ingen no Peanutsu Ae; Simmered Daikon with Citrus Miso Sauce; Eriko's Onion, Clam, and Potato Fritters Kakiage; and Elementary School Sampler Bento.
Makes six to eight 3 in (7.5 em) fritters
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
This home-style tempura is a real treat. The onion is the dominant flavor with bits of seafood and vegetables mixed in. It is an easy way to make tempura at home without frying endless ingredients separately. I learned the trick to making these from my Japanese sister, Eriko Ito. Eriko put the batter in one bowl and vegetables and seafood in another. She then sprinkled some flour and an egg onto the ingredients and stirred it together with her chopsticks. Eriko scoops some of the vegetable mixture into a shallow ladle and then spoons on the Tempura Batter. Ah ha! So that's how they maintain their shape—a batter within a batter! She tips this into the hot oil and with her chopsticks spreads the fritter a little bit. Soon the fritter is bobbing in the bubbling oil. Meanwhile, I grate the daikon radish, the classic accompaniment, and set it in bowls. Being from Boston, where fried clams (along with the universities and Red Sox, of course) are our claim to fame, I was drawn to Eriko's suggestion to use a mixture of clams and potatoes with the onions. You can create your own mixture, I've provided an alternative combination to inspire you. Make mini fritters for appetizers, medium sized ones for side dishes, or large ones to put on top of a bowl of rice.
1. Add the clams, onion, potatoes, and string beans in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle on the flour and mix in the egg. Set aside.
2. To make the Tempura Batter, combine the ice water and the egg yolk in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
3. Sift in the flour and cornstarch by holding either a sifter or wire mesh strainer over the bowl with the egg mixture. Lightly whisk this together. It will have a few lumps.
4. Heat the oil on medium heat in a wok, or deep skillet, until it reaches 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). You will see a ripple on the top of the oil. Dip your chopstick into the Tempura Batter and drop a little batter into the oil. If it floats and turns light brown, the oil is ready.
5. Scoop up about 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the clam mixture with a ladle. Then add about 1/4 cup (65 ml) of the Tempura Batter over the mixture and lightly mix with your chopstick or fork.
6. Tip the mixture into the hot oil. The fritter will float. With a pair of chopsticks or two forks, gently pull apart the mixture so the ingredients are slightly separated. This will help everything cook evenly. Make a second fritter. Cook for about 2 minutes and carefully turn over. Cook for another 2 minutes or until nicely browned and crispy. Have on hand a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. With a slotted spoon lift the fritters out of the oil and set onto the wire rack.
7. Repeat the process using the remaining batter and clam mixture. They do not have to be served piping hot, but if you like, you can keep the fritters warm in a 300 degrees F (135 degrees C) oven until they are ready to serve.
To Serve Peel and grate the daikon radish. Pour the grated radish into a strainer and drain the liquid. Divide the radish into individual bowls. Squeeze in some lemon juice and a drizzle of soy sauce if you like. Alternatively serve with a dish of soy sauce and lemon wedges.
This page created October 2011
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