Sadly, some of the most beautiful books on my shelves fall into this category unfortunately for those of us who bought them with high hopes, only to have our expectations dashed as soon as we tried to cook from them. There is nothing more irritating; it is a waste of good time and ingredients and there is no excuse for it. As a user and author of cookbooks, I know there is nothing more important than coming up with recipes that will work, regardless of the level of expertise of the person doing the cooking. For that reason, all my recipes have been tested many times over, always looking for the simplest way to achieve a result, without sacrificing authenticity.

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Arrange on a tray, cover, and refrigerate until serving time. The table setting for each person is a plate lined with a paper napkin for draining the fried food, a small bowl for the sauce and another small bowl with 1 tablespoon of grated daikon and 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger. To make the tempura sauce, heat the mirin in a small saucepan, remove from the heat and ignite with a match. Shake the pan gently until the flame dies, then add all of the other ingredients and bring to the boil.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Set aside. No more than 10 minutes before serving, make the tempura batter and stand the bowl in a larger bowl containing ice. Break the egg into a bowl with the iced water and beat until frothy. Add the bicarbonate of soda and flour and beat just until the flour is mixed in — do not overmix. The batter should be thin; if it seems too thick, add a few drops of iced water.

If sesame oil is not available it may be omitted, but it gives a deliciously nutty flavour to the food. Dip pieces of fish, prawns and vegetables, one at a time, into the batter and then gently lower into the oil. Do not fry more than about six pieces at a time, as the temperature of the oil must be kept moderately high for best results.

As each piece turns golden this should take only 1 minute , lift it from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain for a few seconds on paper towel, then serve immediately. Food is dipped in the tempura sauce and eaten while crisp and hot.

The daikon and ginger are mixed into the sauce to suit individual taste. Variation A good way to use up any leftover tempura ingredients is to make tempura domburi. This is where the tempura ingredients are served with rice and sauce. Simply prepare 1 quantity hot cooked rice and re-fry the tempura above briefly to heat through. Put the rice in individual bowls, top with the tempura and serve with any leftover sauce on the side.


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