I am so stoked because after countless disappointing attempts at making super light and crispy tempura, I have finally succeeded! There are tons of different, from slightly to very, variations on how to make tempura batter but tonight I finally settled on a recipe that will be my go-to. I was crazy determined and after a bunch of research, I put together this recipe that combined all the tips and suggestions that I had found. Turns out, cake flour = total game changer. That combined with ice cold and carbonated water plus just egg yolk and not a whole egg give you a tempura batter that will give you solid restaurant-level tempura.
I wanted to recreate the brussels sprouts tempura we had at Jinya Ramen Bar back in Vancouver this summer. I had never cooked brussels sprouts before (and had only eaten brussels sprouts a handful of times!) so I also had to do some brussels sprouts research too. Lots of research went into this dish!
Perfect tempura batter: 1 egg yolk / 1 cup ice cold carbonated water / 1 cup cake flour / a small pinch of baking soda / a few ice cubes
3 to 4 cups brussels sprouts / salt / maldon sea salt flakes / truffle flavoured olive oil (I found one that does not use synthetic chemical stuff and is flavoured with real truffles at Costco. Sure, it’s only something like 0.2% truffle crumbs but still!) / a couple tbsp of cake flour / canola oil for frying
First, prep the brussels sprouts by trimming them (which I learned to do by watching this video) and then halving them. Cook them in salted boiling water for 4 minutes and then immediately cool them down by running cold water over them. In the meantime, heat up canola oil to 355F in a deep fryer preferably or in a large saucepan/pot filled with at least a couple inches of oil.
Using paper towels, dry off the brussels sprouts as much as you can. Turns out when making tempura, your ingredients should always be dry. When your oil has reached 355F, make the tempura batter; do not make the batter until you are ready to start frying.
Toss all the ingredients for the tempura batter into a medium-sized bowl. Using a pair of chopsticks, just kinda poke at everything (no stirring, no whisking!) until everything is just coming together. It should be lumpy with still some little pockets of flour. (In case you wanted to know, cake flour has less protein in it which means it forms less gluten. And by just kinda poking at the batter, you’re not agitating it as much so it won’t be as… gluten-y. Less gluten = super light and crisp tempura! Science!)
Toss the brussels sprouts in the couple tbsp of cake flour so the batter can stick to them better and then using chopsticks, dip each sprout into the batter and then carefully drop into the hot oil. Cook the sprouts in small batches so the temperature of the oil won’t drop. Let each batch fry for about 2 to 3 minutes or until they’re golden. As soon as a batch is done, scatter the sprouts on a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle some maldon sea salt flakes over top and drizzle over some truffle oil. Enjoy!