Tempura (Vegetables and Shrimp)

Lately I’ve really gotten bored of the same old food…so me and my friends figured why not try some Japanese style food? Not only is it healthier then what we normally eat but it’s also something different and will change things up a bit. I was reading Anime Insider and they happened to have a small article on some good Japanese cookbooks. I glanced over their list and found that most of the cookbooks could be bought pretty darn cheap (used and new) on Amazon so I bought a bunch. I think I bought about 6, the recipe we used was from The Quick and Easy Japanese Cookbook pictured above. Although I think almost all the cookbooks I bought had a tempura recipe, they all looked to have about the same instructions. I will say that I like this cookbook a lot, it has a large picture of what you’re cooking next to every recipe, it makes choosing what you want to cook convenient. You’d be surprised how many cookbooks don’t include different pictures of the recipes.

Although Tempura is probably one of the most unhealthy foods we could choose from this cookbook it’s at least healthier then fried foods. The batter tempura is dipped in prior to being fried is diluted with a cup of water so it’s lighter. If tempura is done correctly it shouldn’t be greasy. The idea is to achieve a batter so light that it’s barely there and use the freshest ingredients cut so they can be cooked quickly. The quicker the ingredients are cooked the healthier it is, at least thats the impression I got from a few things I read.

We strayed a bit from the recipe because we didn’t have all the ingredients at our disposal at the local supermarket (although there was a lot more Japanese food ingredients there then I would have ever expected). Rather then using a Daikon radish we used leek, and the recipe for the dipping sauces we skipped and just bought our own. For a sweet dipping sauce (for me since I don’t do spicey) we bought Plum Sauce, and for my friend who loves spicy stuff we got Chili Ginger Sauce.

We decided to fry sweet potatoes, shitake mushroom, asparagus, beans, and shrimp. We also bought some Jalapenos that we stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese and fried. Although…all the seeds weren’t removed and as soon as I took one little bite I ran to the fridge for a colder drink. I can’t tolerate spice so well…but my friend who loves spice said they were great.

One of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. It was also a lot of fun to make, and seeing my friend running to the sink after he accidentally lite a paper towel on fire going “Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!…” was probably one of the best parts.

We made a ton and there was a lot leftover. I think tempura also tastes good (cold) the next day. But thats just me. Although you shouldn’t wait too long to eat the shrimp tempura even if it is refrigerated, wait 2 days MAXIMUM.

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