Recipe Kakiage

Kakiage is a popular Japanese dish made from a mixture of vegetables and sometimes seafood, all bound together with a light tempura batter and deep-fried to golden perfection. It's a versatile and delicious dish that can be enjoyed as a side, topping for noodles, or even as a main course. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to make Kakiage, including ingredients, preparation steps, tips, variations, calorie information, and a conclusion.

Ingredients

For the Tempura Batter:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup cold water (preferably ice-cold)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (optional for extra crispiness)

For the Kakiage:

  • 1 small carrot, julienned
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small sweet potato, julienned
  • 1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup small shrimp, peeled and deveined (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For Serving:

  • Tentsuyu (tempura dipping sauce) or a simple soy sauce-based dipping sauce
  • Grated daikon radish (optional)
  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Instructions

1. Prepare the Ingredients

  1. Vegetables: Cut all vegetables into thin, uniform strips. This ensures even cooking.
  2. Seafood (optional): If using shrimp, make sure they are peeled, deveined, and cut into small pieces.

2. Make the Tempura Batter

  1. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a bowl, sift the flour and baking powder (if using) together.
  2. Prepare Wet Ingredients: In another bowl, beat the egg and mix with the ice-cold water.
  3. Combine: Gradually mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring gently to combine. The batter should be lumpy; do not overmix.

3. Mix the Kakiage

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the prepared vegetables and shrimp (if using). Sprinkle with a bit of salt.
  2. Coat with Batter: Pour the tempura batter over the mixture, gently tossing to coat evenly.

4. Fry the Kakiage

  1. Heat Oil: In a deep-frying pan or pot, heat the vegetable oil to 170-180°C (340-350°F).
  2. Form Kakiage: Using a large spoon or your hands, form small fritters from the mixture.
  3. Fry: Carefully lower the fritters into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  4. Drain: Remove the kakiage from the oil and drain on paper towels.

5. Serve

  1. Plate: Serve the kakiage hot, accompanied by tentsuyu or a simple soy sauce-based dipping sauce. Add grated daikon radish and lemon wedges if desired.

Tips

  • Cold Batter: Keeping the batter cold helps create a lighter and crispier tempura.
  • Don't Overmix: Lumps in the batter are fine. Overmixing can result in a dense coating.
  • Oil Temperature: Maintain the oil temperature to ensure even cooking. Too hot and the outside will burn; too cool and the kakiage will absorb excess oil.
  • Uniform Cuts: Cutting vegetables into uniform pieces ensures even cooking.

Variations

  • Vegetarian Kakiage: Use a variety of vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms.
  • Seafood Kakiage: Experiment with different seafood like squid, scallops, or small fish fillets.
  • Spicy Kakiage: Add a bit of chili powder or finely chopped chili peppers to the batter for a spicy kick.

Calorie Information

The calorie content of kakiage can vary depending on the specific ingredients used and the size of the portions. On average, one serving (about 100 grams) of kakiage can contain approximately 200-250 calories. This includes calories from the vegetables, batter, and oil absorbed during frying. Adding seafood will increase the calorie count.

Conclusion

Kakiage is a versatile and delicious dish that embodies the light and crispy characteristics of tempura. With its simple preparation and variety of possible ingredients, it’s a delightful addition to any meal. Whether enjoyed as a side dish, a topping for noodles, or on its own, kakiage is sure to impress with its texture and flavor. By following the tips and variations provided, you can create a personalized version of kakiage that suits your taste preferences. Enjoy this classic Japanese dish at home and bring a taste of Japan to your kitchen!

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