Saturday, 19 February 2011

Peixinhos da horta - Little fish from the kitchen garden

Peixinhos da horta - Little fish from the kitchen garden
This is a curious name for a humble but very tasty accompaniment to a meat dish or part of a vegetarian platter.It does not contain any fish. It is prepared with green beans in a batter, and so resembles small fish.
In the middle of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese landed on Japanese shores. In addition to establishing trade and trying to convert the Japanese to Catholicism, the Portuguese introduced tempura, the technique of dipping fish and vegetables into a batter and frying them. This is one example of Japanese food evolution by incorporating foreign influences.
The secret of good tempura is in its lightness.Some people use carbonated water for the batter.For my tempura batter I use Sagres beer. My reasoning is that while the batter is Japanese, the tempura is being eaten in Portugal, and without the Portuguese we would not have tempura. And it gives a great flavour too.
VARIATION:
substitute asparagus spears or purple sprouting broccoli for the green beans.

Purple sprouting broccoli tempura
For the tempura
400g purple sprouting broccoli
sunflower oil for deep frying
180g rice flour plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of sugar
1 egg white
180ml sagres beer or light lager

In a pan of boiling water, blanch the runner beans and or broccoli, if using for about two minutes or until tender to the point of a knife.Drain in a colander and refresh under cold water to halt the cooking process and keep the colour.Tip onto paper towel and carefully pat dry.Heat enough oil in a deep fat fryer, or a large wok, just less than half full,to 190C/375F. Put the rice flour in a bowl and mix in the salt and sugar.Whisk the egg white until soft peaks form. Mix the beer into the flour mixture a little at a time; don´t worry if it stays lumpy. stop adding the beer before the mixture becomes too runny. Fold through the whisked egg white. Finely sift the extra flour over both sides of the vegetables, tapping off any excess. Dip the vegetables, a few at a time into the tempura batter, letting any excess drip off( but not too much).Place straight into the hot oil and fry for about two minutes until pale golden and crispy, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.Only fry four pieces at a time, otherwise the batter will become soggy. Always bring the temperature of the oil back up before frying the next batch. Serve immediately with Wasabi mayonnaise, chilli dipping sauce or yuzu dipping sauce.


"Arigatou gozaimasu"- itadakimasu

 Obrigado- bom proveito

Thank you - enjoy your meal

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