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
Soba was easy because I didn’t try to make them from scratch. So cooked to packet directions and let cool. A dipping sauce to go with them, 1 part soy, 1 part mirin, 6 parts dashi. Spring onions and nori strips to serve. Pick up the noodles and dip into sauce, then eat. Messy, but good.
Tempura is trickier, because frying is fun. You want the oil at about 160c (170c for fish/prawns), and the things you are tempura’ing to be nice and cold before they get dropped into the oil. So pre slice and then chill them, and keep your tempura batter iced (put the bowl with the batter inside a larger bowl of iced water).
1 egg yolk
1 cup iced water
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornflour
1/2 tsp baking powder
I used Kumara and sweet potato, snow peas, nori, prawns, mushroom, eggplant and fish. I wouldn’t use kumara again, it is a bit too starchy, the rest were amazing, especially the snow peas. Slice sweet potato thinly and blanch it first, the rest can be done raw. Butterfly the prawns and cut the fish thinly, to help with cooking time (About a minute in the oil, minute and a half if you are paranoid about seafood)
Mix yolk and water, add flours and baking powder, quickly combine using chopsticks. It should be runny and a bit lumpy. Drop your slices of things in to coat them, then slide them a few at a time into the oil. Cook for a minute or so, until the batter is just colouring. Fish out and drain them, serve asap.