|Mis en place|
|I think this looks about right|
Once I had my batter, I heated a inch or two of oil in a heavy skillet. I used small kitchen tongs to dredge my veg through the batter and place in the hot oil and then placed the cooked tempura on a plate lined with paper towel.
|Carrot tempura cooling while zucchini cooks in the background|
And I learned the complexities of tempura that reflect its true nature. My tempura was soggy. Not greasy, but.....soggy. This can result from several factors, including over-mixing the batter, not using cold enough water, too much excess moisture in the veg, and not laying the cooked tempura in a single layer to cool. This can also be prevented by paying closer attention to all of those things, and by adding a little potato starch to the batter. Even so, I was pleased enough with the results to pack up the left overs for lunch tomorrow.
I also prepared a little meat to accompany my tempura. Last year, I went to the Towson location of Pho Dat Thanh and had caramel fish for the first time. I've been fascinated with it ever since. I attempted to recreate the flavor of that dish this evening. I used chicken instead of fish and set bite-sized pieces to marinade in soy sauce liberally seasoned with ginger and pepper while I cooked my tempura.
|Chicken in ginger soy sauce marinade|
To get the caramel flavor, I preheated my pan but I let it get really hot. I then added the chicken and all of the marinade, followed quickly with about half a cup of water. I reduced the heat and let it come up to a boil, then added some sugar. When the liquid was reduced by half, I added some of Sunday's left over rice and let it simmer until the rice was sufficiently reheated. The sauce thickened as it cooked down.
|The sauce thickening as it cooks down|
The result was a very gingery brown sauce with a slight hint of caramel. Unlike the soggy tempura, the caramel chicken was a definite success.
|Dinner for one|