For the second installment in this series -- about the delicious seafood my husband and I ate on the beach in Kenya during our honeymoon -- I present seaweed tempura. The seaweed at Kiwayu was almost translucent, and emerald green. During the day, it undulated gently under our toes as we swam in the crystal clear Indian Ocean -- at night, it served as an addictive bar snack, freckled with sesame seeds and encased in a light, crisp tempura shell.
This is my interpretation of the recipe the chef at Kiwayu kindly gave me. —Merrill Stubbs
If your seaweed is in wide strips, slice them into thin ribbons. Clean the seaweed with running water and drain it well. Set aside.
Stir together the flour, a pinch of salt and the sesame seeds in a medium bowl. Gradually pour in the soda water, whisking constantly.
Heat 2 inches of oil in a large, deep pot over a medium flame, to about 300 degrees F. In the meantime, add the seaweed to the batter and stir to combine. Carefully drop the seaweed into the hot oil by 1/2 tablespoonfuls, about 6 spoonfuls at a time. Fry until lightly golden, turning over once during cooking, and then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels while you fry the rest of the seaweed. (If the clumps of seaweed sink and stick to the bottom of the pot, don't worry -- after a minute or two you should be able to use the spoon to gently ease them from the bottom of the pot.)
Sprinkle the fried seaweed with salt and serve while still warm with soy sauce for dipping.