Making perfect tempura is a work of art. Commonly, people care about: 1) crispiness, 2) batter/coating being not too thick, 3) not too oily, 4) good even after it gets cold.
This is one recipe I found that worked well.
- 50g all purpose flour
- 1 TBS potato or corn starch
- 5 TBS ice cold water or bubbly water.
- 1 TBS vinegar
- 1 tsp sake (optional)
- a pinch of salt (optional)
1. Sift flour and starch together. I used to skip this step but the batter works much better if I sift.
2. Mix cold water, vinegar, sake, and salt.
3. Right before you're ready to fry, mix 1 and 2 together but not too well. Should be a little lumpy. The batter should stay cool. Add ice cubes if necessary.
4. Fry at 170C for veggies.
- I saw a chef letting one end of fried food stay in oil for a few seconds as you take it out of the oil. This is because that the temperature difference drains the oil into the fry oil, so you don't need to wipe off the oil with paper towel afterwards. It certainly worked for him but I haven't succeeded.
- For eggplants, make thin slices/cuts on the skin side (~1-2mm apart; ~1/3 through the flesh) to make them crispy outside but juice inside.
- Almost all recipes say: add a little potato/corn starch, sift flour mix, mix liquid and solids right before you fry, keep the batter ice cold and a little lumpy.