Tempura (天婦羅 or 天ぷら) is a typical Japanese dish usually consisting of seafood, meat and vegetables that have been battered and deep fried. The dish was introduced by the Portuguese in Nagasaki through fritter-cooking techniques in the 16th century. The tempura-style batter is said to have been brought to Japan by Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century, during the Muromachi period. However, as the cooking method of ‘deep-frying with flour batter’ was already established in Japan beforehand, the origin of tempura can be somewhat disputable. There are also a number of theories surrounding the etymology of tempura, which adds to the dubiety. Some sources believe the word tempura comes from ‘tempero’, which means ‘seasonings’ or ‘spices’ in Portuguese, while some cited the definition from Kanji (漢字). What’s evident is tempura started to spread as street food and became a favorite among the common people in the early Edo period. With the increase of oil production, food stalls started selling tempura as a skewered snack food, alongside soba, sushi, and eel. By the late Edo and early Meiji era, tempura shops and restaurants emerged and started establishing its position as a specialty cuisine.
It cannot be any truer to say that tempura is one of Japan’s representative dishes. Today, you can find some best tempura houses in Japan, where all of your meals will be cooked by a highly trained chef who devotes his entire career to tempura frying. When juicy plump shrimp, thinly sliced pumpkin or sweet potato, creamy eggplant, and fragrant egoma (perilla) leaves get dunked in batter and deep-fried to light, irresistible crunch, you know you’re going to have some really good meal. In Japan, Tempura is serious stuff. Japanese chefs would spend years mastering the technique of tempura frying. And home cooks will themselves in front of the hot oil in their tiny kitchens. All for the food we so love. To make tempura worthy of your effort, freshness matters. So do practice the batter and deep-frying technique, however I am here to tell you that it is possible to make the perfectly-airy, crispy, and non-greasy tempura right at your home. See this video.
Happy cooking! and hope you enjoyed this video.
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