What You'll Get
- $12 for $20 worth of Japanese and Chinese cuisine
Tempura: The Delicate Art of Fast Food
Yielding a crispy, uniquely flaky finish, tempura batter can turn a plate of veggies and seafood into a classic of Japanese cuisine. Learn where their pleasant crunch comes from with Groupon’s exploration of tempura.
A batter that puffs up into an airy, golden crunch in the deep-fryer, tempura is simply a mixture of water, flour, and sometimes egg. Naturally, that short ingredient list is what forces chefs to become so compulsive about getting it right. Even before you decide whether you’ll use it to coat vegetables, shrimp, soft-shell crab, fish, or a pair of baby shoes, there are many decisions to make. Rice flour can provide a delicate crispiness; wheat flour has a stronger flavor, but must be carefully mixed to keep it from becoming too dense and glutinous. Using ice-cold water also prevents gluten strings from forming, and some chefs even substitute sparkling water—its bubbles add extra air to the batter and help plates float gently to the table.
Whatever you mix into the batter, you can’t mix it for long. Just a few seconds with a clutch of chopsticks does the trick, leaving pockets of dry flour that quickly turn crunchy under heat. Once you’ve dipped your vegetables or seafood in the batter and tossed them into hot oil, they’ll need only a few minutes to cook. Then, the steaming morsels are ready to be dipped in soy-based sauces or placed atop noodle soups.
Tempura is a mainstay of many Japanese restaurants, but its roots aren’t as ancient as those of sushi or teriyaki. Animal fats were rare in early Japan, and vegetable oils were used primarily for fuel, so frying took a while to catch on. Many theorize that it was finally introduced in the 16th century by Spanish and Portuguese traders and missionaries, after which a throng of tempura-fried fish vendors popped up in the streets where Tokyo now stands.
The Fine Print
Promotional value expires 120 days after purchase. Amount paid never expires. Limit 1 per person, may buy 1 additional as gift. Limit 1 per visit. 1 per party. Not valid with discounted lunch specials. Must use promotional value in 1 visit. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.