I am a big tempura fan. Whenever I get sushi I always get something that has tempura in it. One of my favorite maki is Sweet Potato Maki. There’s just something about the crunch of the outside and the delicious starchiness on the inside.
I had ambitions for the tempura. I originally wanted to make shrimp and sweet potato tempura for the Daring Cook’s Challenge but unfortunately I 1) didn’t have enough oil and 2) pretty much had a Julie and Julia moment trying not to freak out over the tempura (Just ask my husband).
It’s a good think I left the tempura last because I’m pretty sure I would have given up on the second part of dinner. I’m pretty sure my tempura batter was a little on the runny side, but the taste and the crispiness was still there.
I paired my sweet potato tempura with a vegetable medley of edamame, baby bok choy (which I think has a better flavor than regular bok choy) and some leftover cabbage that I had. I of course spiced it up with some Sriracha sauce, obviously.
For a dipping sauce I went with a spicy peanut sauce that was slightly on the thick side, but still delicious!
To be honest, I probably wouldn’t go and make tempura on a regular basis, but it was definitely a great learning experience. And the soba noodles? LOVE THEM. I need to make cold noodle dishes more often.
The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com
Cold Soba Noodle Salad
- 1 package soba noodles
- 2 cups edamame
- 1 baby bok choy, roughly chopped
- 1 cup sliced cabbage
- 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
- 1 package mixed oriental mushrooms
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- peanut oil
Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Rinse thoroughly with cold water once cooked. Pat dry with a paper towel and place in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
In a medium saute pan heat about a tbsp peanut oil. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the bok choy and cabbage and the rice vinegar and soy sauce and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the edamame and mushrooms and Sriracha sauce and saute until the mushrooms have slightly shrunk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the fridge until you are ready to plate.
Spicy Peanut Sauce
Recipe adapted from here
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 shallots, diced finely
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 5 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2-3 tbsp Sriracha
In a small sauce pan heat butter until melted. Add the shallots and cook until they are tender. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until it thickens. Refrigerate until you are ready to eat.
Sweet Potato Tempura
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, and cut into strips, then blanched and cooled
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup ice water (I put a bowl of water in the freezer while I made the cold noodle salad)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Oil for deep frying
Heat oil in a heavy pot to 320 degrees. There should be about 1.5-2″ of oil.
Place ice water in a mixing bowl and in another small bowl mix the egg yolk. Slowly incorporate into the ice water. Add flour, cornstarch and baking powder and stroke with chopsticks until loosely combined. If you can, leave the batter in an ice water bath to keep cool.
Lightly dredge the sweet potatoes in some flour and then place in the tempura batter. I did about 4 pieces at a time, for about 2-3 minutes per side. Place on a drying rack and sprinkle with salt when done.
I did this all with chopsticks and almost died (ok, I’m exaggerating). If you are not comfortable using chopsticks then by all means use tongs. Oil burns are not fun.
To plate, combine the soba noodles with the vegetable mix and top with the tempura. Serve with peanut sauce on the side.