When making batter it's important to keep the batter mixture thin, making your fried food light and crispy. Light batters coat food evenly while keeping it moist and tender. A batter recipe is extremely easy to make, and it tastes great with all deep-fried foods, including fish, shrimp, onion rings, fries, chicken, fritters and a variety of vegetables. You can easily add other ingredients to the batter to change the flavour.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (substitute sugar for sweet batter)
1 cup water (substitute beer or whole milk as desired)
Paprika, to taste (optional)
Black pepper, to taste (optional)
Place about a cup of ice water in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Stir in one large egg. Remove the egg from the refrigerator just before adding, as the egg should be well-chilled.
Stir 3/4 cup of flour and 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda into the egg mixture.
Mix the batter lightly and don't worry about a few small lumps of unmixed flour. Too much mixing will result in doughy, non-crispy tempura.
Keep the tempura batter in the refrigerator while you prepare the foods for frying.
Prepare the foods for frying in the tempura batter ahead of time. If you are making fish tempura, wash and debone the fish, then cut the fish into small chunks. If you are using shrimp in your tempura, the shrimp should be de-veined.
Use the freshest, firmest vegetables you can find to make vegetable tempura. Wash the vegetables thoroughly.
Cut the vegetables into chunks. Avoid soft vegetables, as soft vegetables will become soggy when the vegetables are deep-fried.
Pat the food dry with paper towels. Place the food in the refrigerator until you're ready to deep fry.
Set the bowl of homemade tempura batter in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Tempura batter should be kept cold while you work.
Season the cut veggies
Place 2 to 3 inches of cooking oil in a heavy frying pan. You can use nearly any type of oil, including canola, safflower, corn or peanut oil. However, avoid olive oil, which will alter the flavor of the tempura. If you are using a deep fat fryer, fill the fryer to the level recommended by the manufacturer.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, heat the oil then drop about a pea-sized bit of batter into the oil. If the oil is hot enough, the batter will drop to the bottom before it sizzles and bounces quickly to the top of the oil.
Dip the prepared food in the tempura batter, then place the food in the hot oil.
Turn each piece once so the food cooks evenly on both sides.
Cook the tempura until the batter is golden brown.
Remove the fried tempura with tongs, then place on a layer of folded paper towels.