This was my first daring cooks challenge. Remember Daring Bakers? Well this is all the same Daring Kitchen except in these challenges the recipes are savory, instead of sweet. I must say this challenge went much more smoothly than the Daring Bakers one. And it really was delicious. I really love Japanese tempura and I’ve ordered it many time at my favorite Japanese restaurant Fugakyu. This is my first attempt at making it from scratch though. It really is pretty simple and comes out tasting just like it does at the restaurant. For the tempura I used asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms and shrimp. But you can your own vegetables and seafood of choice. The soba noodles I’ve never made nor had before so those were great to make and try for the first time. Very light and refreshing – probably better for a hot summer day, rather than the middle of winter, but still good nevertheless. For the noodles I added bean sprouts, cucumbers, scallions, nori and egg strips. Once again you can add toppings of choice. I used the same dipping sauce for the noodles and tempura – which I made from scratch because I couldn’t find the dashi stock anywhere. Also couldn’t find the kelp anywhere either so had to improvise and used dried kelp granules to make the stock. Was a success though. Overall I really enjoyed this month’s challenge and hope you try these recipes out as well!
Start to Finish: 30-45 minutes
12 oz soba noodles
4 tablespoons dried kelp granules
2/3 oz dried bonito flakes
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup mirin
Nori (dried seaweed), thinly sliced
Scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
dash of salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1. Over high heat bring 2 liters of water to a boil. Add the noodles, a little bit at a time, stirring to separate. When water returns to a boil add 1 cup of cold water. Repeat twice. When water returns to a boil check the noodles – they should be firm-tender.
2. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water until they are cool. Drain and cover with a damp towel.
3. To make the dashi stock add 4 tablespoons dried kelp granules to 4.5 cups boiling water. Soak for 10 minutes then remove kelp granules. Over low heat bring the water to a boil and then add the dried bonito flakes and turn off the heat. Wait until the bonito flakes sink, then strain the stock.
4. To make the sauce, in a separate pot gently heat the mirin, add soy sauce and the stock and bring to a boil. Take off heat and cool.
5. To make the egg strips, beat egg and 1 tablespoon water together, add sugar and salt, continue to beat, add cornstarch, mix. Strain the mixture. Heat pan over medium-low heat and coat with a little oil, add 1/3 of the egg mixture and swirl until it is evenly spread over the pan. Cook egg until set then flip and cook on other side. Remove from heat. Fold into thirds and cut into thin slices.
6. Serve noodles by sprinkling with nori, dipping them into sauce and adding the toppings.
Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura
Start to Finish: 30-45 minutes
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 cup iced water
1/2 cup flour, plus more for coating
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
ice water bath, (fill larger bowl than what will be used for the batter with ice and some water)
oil for deep frying
1. Place ice water in large bowl. Gradually pour beaten egg yolk into the ice water, stirring with chopsticks. Add flour, cornstarch and baking powder all at once, lightly mixing with chopsticks until ingredients are loosely combined. Batter should be runny and lumpy. Place batter bowl into larger ice bath bowl to keep it cold while frying.
2. Heat the oil (over medium/medium-high)to 320 degrees F for vegetables and 340 degrees F for seafood. (If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil by dropping a piece of batter into the hot oil – if it sinks and immediately rises to the top the oil is hot enough).
3. Start by frying vegetables first. Dip vegetables first in flour and then in batter, and drop into hot oil. Fry a few pieces at a time and place on wire rack or paper towels to drain excess oil.
4. Serve with same dipping sauce as for the soba noodles.