Vegan Recipes From Japan
The leaf-to-root movement has a special role for carrot tops. They smell very aromatic and appetising, but they’re somewhat woody and tough. As tempura, however, their fine taste is captured, while making them pleasantly crunchy to chew. The batter should be thin so that it doesn’t form thick clumps between the frond-like leaves. Large tops aren’t easy to dip in the dipping sauce and eat, but that makes it all the more fun. In addition, you also eat the whole carrot and whole radish, and savour the delicate and resinous tartness of the young celery. Instead of the typical flakes of smoked bonito, known as katsuobushi, we use a combination of kombu kelp, dried tomato and shiitake mushroom for the dipping sauce.
© 2021 Härtig, Malte / Grub Street Publishing · Reproduced with permission.
You Will Need
For the dipping sauce, heat 70 ml of water to about 60°C/140°F. Add
the kombu, mushrooms and dried tomato and steep for 30 minutes.
Remove the kombu, mushrooms and tomato. Heat the liquid, add
the mirin, sake and soy sauce, and bring to the boil. Then remove
from the heat and leave to cool. Adjust the flavour with sugar.
For the tempura, heat the oil to 180°C/356°F. Place the vegetables
on the work surface and dust with flour. Turn over and dust again.
For the batter, sift the 90 g flour into a bowl. Make an ice bath
by lining a large bowl with ice packs (preferably gel-filled) and
filling with water. Place a smaller bowl inside to make the batter.
Put 140 ml of ice-cold water into the small bowl. Add the flour and
mix loosely and quickly with a set of chopsticks. There should be
lumps in the batter. The batter should stick to the vegetables in a
light and thin layer.
One by one, dip the flour-dusted vegetables in the batter, immerse
in the hot oil and deep-fry until the bubbles become small and the
hissing sound dies down. Lift out with a skimmer and leave to drain.
NB: Deep-fry the tempura in small batches. Do not put too many
vegetables into the oil at the same time. The temperature should
never fall below 170°C/338°F or the batter will turn mushy.
Serve immediately, dip in the dipping sauce and eat up every