Kakiage is a kind of tempura in which several ingredients are mixed together first and then fried in tempura batter. —Yuko
Test Kitchen Notes
I have eaten my fair share of tempura, but had never made any. Yuko's Carrot and Shrimp Kakiage made me glad I gave it a try. The shrimp, onions, and cilantro work splendidly with the sweet carrots; they add depth of flavor, but allow the carrots to take center stage. The only trouble I had was in making my first one too thick, so the batter wasn't fully cooked in the center. This was a beginner's error, and easily corrected by using a spoon to flatten the kakiage out. The rest came out like a dream. I ate 2 for lunch splashed with a little soy sauce, which I found to be a perfect accompaniment to the sweetness of the tempura. Thanks, yuko, for a wonderful introduction to homemade tempura! —hardlikearmour
For the kakiage:
vegetable or canola oil, for frying
Sesame oil (optional)
flour, plus extra for coating components
cold water (keep water refrigerated until use)
3 1/2 ounces
cleaned and shelled shrimp, chopped into small pieces
carrots, peeled and cut into matchstick-sized pieces
medium onion, thinly sliced
cilantro, roughly chopped
For the dipping sauce (optional):
1 1/4 cups
1-inch piece dried kelp (kombu)
(about 5 grams) shaved dried bonito (called katuo bushi or kezuri bushi in Japanese)
soy sauce (preferably Kikoman or other Japanese brand)
Start heating oil in a deep fryer (or a medium sauce pan) at medium heat until it reaches 350° F. If you use sesame oil, a good ratio is 70% vegetable oil and 30% sesame oil, but you can use less sesame oil. The oil should be ready when the batter is ready to fry.
While the oil is heating, make the batter: crack an egg into a large bowl and mix with ice water. Sift flour, cornstarch, and salt into the water and quickly stir with chopsticks or a fork. Do not use a whisk nor over-stir.
Make sure shrimp, carrots, onion, and cilantro are completely dry. Dust each ingredient with a bit of flour and shake to remove excess. Put 1/4 of the shrimp, 1/4 of the carrots, 1/4 of the onion, and 1/4 of the cilantro in a small bowl and stir in 1/4 of the batter. Mix together lightly (again do not over-stir) and drop the loose bundle into the oil with a large spoon. Spread slightly and shape it to a round. Keep unused batter in the fridge as you make each one.
Fry each until golden and cooked completely—about 1 minute on each side, followed by an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side to finish. Remove from oil and put on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet.
Repeat three more times to make a total of four large kakiage (or you can make more as a smaller version).
Serve with dipping sauce (see steps 7 and 8). If you can't make dipping sauce, you can serve with salt and pepper or flavored salt. I like truffle salt or curry salt (mix salt and curry powder). Or you can eat with any condiments you like.
To make the dipping sauce, start with the dashi: In a medium sauce pan, add water and dried kelp and let sit for 10 minutes. Heat the pan on medium heat and take out kelp right before the water boils. Turn down the heat to low.
Add bonito flakes to the pan. Right before it reaches the boiling point, turn off the heat. Set a strainer over a clean bowl or pot and strain the liquid. Do not squeeze water out from the bonito.
In a small sauce pan, heat mirin on medium heat and bring it to a boil. Keep it boiling for 1 to 30 seconds and add dashi and soy sauce and return to a boil. Boil another minute or so. Turn off the heat and set the dipping sauce side.