April 30, 2010

Two approaches to creamy croquetas!

Finally, other than the versioned traditional “torrijas”, something typical spanish!: croquetas de jamón ibérico (spanish ham croquettes…it doesn’t sound as good, does it?). About a month back my brother asked me “so when will you post about a spanish recipe? show your roots!” Well, my roots are spanish, but since I’ve lived abroad for quite a few years, cuisine-wise I’m not so deeply-rooted!
Croquetas are one of those tapas that can be creamy flavourful heaven…but often they are terrible! There’s nothing more disappointing than going out for tapas, getting a “ración” and when you bite into it…not again! it’s like biting into cement, but made with a conglomerate of flour that sticks into your front teeth first and then into your palate!(often from frozen commercial brands) So, I’ve quit hoping I’ll get the good ones when I go out, I just don’t ask for them anymore!
Basically, croquetas are just a flavoured thick béchamel, shaped and coated with breadcrumbs that will withstand frying, so when you bite into the crispy outer layer, you feel the creamiest warm béchamel. The problem with making them is that to get the texture right is not as simple as it seems. If the béchamel is not cooked to the right consistency, it will burst and you’ll end up with the coating on one side and the filling on the other! Also, to have it creamy rather than thick, you must use much less flour, making the resulting dough more difficult to work with.
But, I’m sharing with you today two approaches to making good croquetas. Note: I’m not saying these are the best croquetas (they are “my” best croquetas)…everyone has a grandma that makes the best croquetas!:-). I’ve used jamón as a filling, as they are really tasty and quite traditional, but feel free to change the filling according to your preferences or availability! Salted cod is also often used, roasted chicken with it’s juices is delicious!, funghi porcini mushrooms make wonderful croquetas, spinach & nutmeg are also nice, or simply you can add hard-boiled egg to these…They can even be made sweet! Lemon rind ones are lovely! So innovate as you like!
About the two approaches, one is a softer béchamel version, meltingly soft, but a bit more difficult to work with. The other has slightly more flour, just enough to make it workable using your hands (so the shaping procedure is completely different) but still very creamy. The latter working method I’ve adapted from a restaurant where we had to prepare hundreds of them, so it’s quicker to make, and you can shape them as small as you like…excellent for one bite cocktail ones! (but cutting down on the flour…as at home it pays off to make it even creamier!!!). All you need to succeed making these tasty tapas is to be accurate with the weights, and learn the point at which the béchamel is well-cooked, then you’ll make these with consistent excellent results! Furthermore, you can make a good batch and freeze it and fry from frozen, so once done, they are really convenient to take out when you need something! I hope you try these y…¡Qué aproveche!

Croquetas de jamón ibérico
(about 50 medium-sized or 100 bite-size…so you can half the recipe!)
1L whole milk
130g flour (for approach #1) or 160g or up to 180g (for #2)
65g mild flavoured olive oil (or 90 for #2)
65g unsalted butter (or 90g for #2)
150g jamón ibérico*
salt and freshly milled black pepper
(optional, about 100g of onion)
(optional but recommended to infuse the milk: 1 spanish ham bone
*Important: you don’t need a really good (and pricey) one…I wouldn’t “waste” a good jamón ibérico de bellota to make anything but to eat it on it’s own! a mid-range price one is more than ok!)
You’ll also need for coating:
some plain flour
2 eggs
some breadcrumbs ( ideally about 500g) The more, the easier to work, you can always sift when you finish for other uses.
I always first infuse the milk (by the way, for croquetas, some people use substitute some of the milk with a good stock…depending on the flavour you want) but I prefer to do it this way, as in my opinion yields a creamier result with all the flavour a let’s say, ham stock would do. So, if you can find a bone from a spanish ham (a mandarin size is enough for 1 liter) make sure you remove any “yellow” skin, which has a “rancid” flavour.
just place it on pre-warmed milk and bring it to a boil. Turn it off and cover with film to infuse until cool. Then, strain. You can do this the day before if you like.
Also, have your jamón ready, cutting it as finely as possible.
Now we start making the roux for the bechamel. I sometimes like to add finely chopped onion, fried until very soft to the croquetas, specially if I don’t make the previous infusing step, as it gives a nice taste to the bechamel that complements the ham very well. If you use, chop it up as finely as you can and slowly fry in the oil (not the butter) until starting to colour and it’s very soft. Then, add the butter…
Add the weighed flour (for #1 or #2) and fry over low-medium heat to cook the flour a bit, for about 1 or 2 minutes, stirring as it cooks.
Now, the time to add the milk (if it is coolish, it is easier to add it without the risk of getting lumps). For those not used to making bechamel, the way it works best for me is as follows. I take the pan off the heat and grab a whisk (keep a spatula with you also, to scrape the sides, as this thick bechamel will stick) add a generous laddle at once and immediately whisk vigorously to incorporate it into the roux. As you see it thicken, keep pouring more milk constantly whisking…When it is all incorporated and lump-free return to the heat. For these small amounts it’s best to do it off the heat (I think) as it quickly boils up and if you are not quick enough, you’ll inevitably get lumps!
Now, it’s workout time! You must keep stirring constantly until it is thickened enough. So, I find it easier to do so with the whisk, but keeping the silicon spatula to, from time to time, scrape the sides, as the whisk doesn’t reach.
When it’s fairly thick add your chopped jamón and continue whisking!
It will take about 10 minutes to get to the right texture…To know when it’s ready, if you are using recipe #1, you are looking for the bechamel separating from the bottom of the pan…If in doubt continue whisking until you see than it starts to almost “separate” some of the fat. Then, stop. For recipe #2, you are aiming for a bechamel to completely come together and separate from the bottom and sides of the pan…in fact, if you touch it, it should barely stick! This is important to keep in mind, since you want to be able to work it with your hands, and although you’ll be doing it when cold, this is a good indication. So, here is photo of when each is about ready…The one on the left is obviously much thinner, it can still be cooked a bit more, but don’t expect it to come off the sides as recipe #2.
Whenever each is ready, take if off the heat and pour into a tupper or pyrex and cover it with film touching directly on top, so it doesn’t form a skin. Let cook, ideally on a rack, and when cool, film over again and rest until the next day.
When ready to make your croquetas, get ready a bowl with some flour, another one with the well beaten eggs (they need to be liquidy, so if you need to add a tbsp of water), a medium or small frying pan, and a large tray with sides with as much breadcrumbs as possible (I’m not the best example, as I happened to be out of breadcrumbs!… so just processed enough stale bread to use. But believe me that working with more makes your life easier!!)
So, for the thinner bechamel recipe, you will have to do as follows: Flour a working surface, and grab two spoons(large or small depending on the size of croquetas you want to make) and hold one on each hand. Take a spoonful of mix with one of the spoons and with the other press to shape a quenelle…
Lay each “quenelle” over a floured surface and dust with extra flour and lightly shape and place on the frying pan and pour two spoonfuls of the egg wash and sauté the croquetas in the pan! Carefully with this recipe as they’ll want to stick! You’ll need to work quick at this stage, so the “dough” doesn’t stick to the bottom. So, the moment you place the croquetas to half-fill (or less) the pan and pour in the egg, sauté them to cover with the egg and pour into the breadcrumb tray.
The traditional way to do it, in case you prefer it is to have a large bowl with beaten egg (much more than two) and drop the croquetas there after flouring then, then with a fork or straining onto another bowl, you remove them onto the breadcrumbs. But this way I find you use much less egg and dirty the breadcrumbs much less, as you only add enough egg to coat the croquetas into the pan, so there’s no threads of egg in the breadcrumbs!
And that’s it! shake the breadcrumb tray to distribute them and coat them, just roll each a bit and place into a tupper side by side to directly freeze! I always freeze them as I do them…Specially this lighter recipe, otherwise if fried room temperature they are more likely to break. Also, I find it more convenient to freeze them flat side by side and then, separate them and place in a bag with the date, so I can take as many as I want each time to fry and it barely uses any space!
Now, for working on the other recipe…after this, you’ll be happy. If in doubt, I recommend you try this easier version and then move onto the other one if you want to try! Just in case you are put off making them!:-)
Your dough will have “set” and you can simply unmould it over the same film that was covering it.
Then, with a knife or a dough scraper break up slices to roll into sausages ( like making gnocchi)…If you can, try not to add much flour at this stage on the working surface, but leave it to after they are cut and you want to shape the rounds. For me it worked well with barely any flour. Then, cut up into the size you want. These I’ve made one-bite (cocktail) size to show you…
And over a lightly floured surface roll the croquettes, one at a time or two with both hands if you can handle. Place them on the pan and as before add a tbsp or two (depending on how many croquetas you have…with this recipe you can fill up the pan more as they won’t stick) and sauté and into the breadcrumbs.
Here’s the difference in size:
So, grab as many as you want from frozen and deep-fry until golden brown…
They are super crisp outside and meltingly creamy inside!
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April 23, 2010

Skillet cookie sundae…can the “original” be improved?

I think the first time I tried this dessert it was on a trip to Miami, sometime in 1993. I remember I was impressed with Tony Roma’s column of crispy onion rings (I don’t remember them being all squashed up like they serve them now, at least here in Spain, but rather through the hole in a stand holder). Also, I still remember the butter-soft BBQ ribs and…this amazing, decadent dessert! Basically it’s just a huge chocolate chip cookie baked on a skillet and served hot with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and thick hot chocolate fudge sauce. Nothing, huh? just the thing for a diet! But, there’s not one time that I go to a Tony Roma’s and not get one, even if just for myself! I’d rather eat less ribs or no starters!
So, about a year ago, I decided I wanted to try to make it at home…you can’t just go to a restaurant every time you have a chocolate craving! can you? Well, I’d rather have it at home and enjoy it as I please. I can’t even remember where I got the first recipe from…but compared to a chocolate chip cookie, it had much less flour, considerably more butter and the result, well just wasn’t as expected! But then I twitched the recipe a bit…and I think after two tries, like they say, third time lucky! The recipe is much closer to a proper chocolate chip cookie, but still with less flour, to get a soft interior and much less sugar than usual…as enough is in all that chocolate fudge (which by the way, it’s also what makes this dessert so fantastic) and ice-cream, so all together it’s…close to heaven!
I thought I’d take this recipe to the grave…there’s not one person that’s tried it who doesn’t just love it (perhaps some of them lie?) and since you can freeze it, the moment you want it, just pop it out, place it on the skillet (which I bought JUST for this, but honestly any pyrex or baking dish will do…it just doesn’t look as nice), bake it for 15 minutes and you’ll please (and impress!) whichever guest you have over. Well, you need a chocolate sauce for it, but that you can put together in 5 minutes. So, no I’m not taking this to the grave..I’m sharing it with you all because…not sure, because it can make people happy?! hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Before I leave you with the recipe, I’d like to share with you that starting today and hoping it will last long, I’ll be contributing to another fantastic spanish blog on all bread-related matters: Madrid Tiene Miga. Today was my first post on moroccan msemmens and melouis…layered, flaky, buttery crêpe-like flat breads that can be served sweet or savoury to suit your taste!.

Edición 12 Octubre 2013:

Para los hableis español y os de pereza andar con el traductor, me he enterado de que Bea del blog "Sin Salir de mi Cocina" ha replicado la receta en su blog... la encontrareis casi con el mismo título pero en español. Podeis acceder desde aquí.

Skillet cookie sunday with hot chocolate fudge sauce
(For 4 150g “cookies”)
For the cookies:

120g unsalted butter (room-temperature)
100g brown sugar
70g granulated sugar
1 large egg (60g)
150g all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
120g chocolate chips or broken up chocolate (70% cocoa)
For the hot fudge sauce:

75g fresh cream (35% fat)
30g unsalted butter
25g granulated sugar
pinch of salt
60g chocolate (70% cocoa)
(optionally you can add a drop of vanilla extract, Tony Roma’s is flavoured, but I prefer it without)
Calculate to do this, at least 1 day ahead the moment you want it, read on as I will explain why…
Since I have never got the butter at room temperature and I rarely plan ahead to leave it out, I just pop the amount I need into the microwave on a low power (400 watt or less) testing after 20 seconds until it’s soft but not melted.
I like to give the sugars a whizz in the spice blender. This is not essential, but that way it dissolves better into the butter. So, then cream the butter with the sugars and a pinch of salt (and vanilla if using, I sometimes omit it) until you get a paler creamy texture with a whip (I use a hand-blender one…otherwise, it’s much harder to cream it).
Incorporate the egg while beating and add the flour with the baking powder & baking soda sifted, until homogeneous.
With a spatula mix in the chocolate chips (you could add pecan nuts to this, if you like them, to personalise your cookies!)and…(This is the New York Times tip to the perfect chocolate chip cookies, and it works!) cover with film and leave in the fridge for at least 24 hours! (ideally 36 hours). During that time, the flour with absorb some of the moisture from the dough and that will directly affect how it cooks in the  oven resulting in a more flavourful, with hints of caramel, cookie!
This fudge sauce, I have to tell you is the result of lot’s of tests! It’s the best hot fudge I’ve made and tried, plus it is super easy to put together! you can make extra for your weekend pancakes or just to spread over some toasts (no need to warm up), or over brownies…It keeps well over a week in the fridge.
Just put in a small saucepan all, except the chocolate, and bring slowly to a simmer. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt and off the heat add the chocolate chopped up as finely as possible, or at least into small squares. Stir slowly to melt all the chocolate, if still not completely dissolved, you could bring it back to the fire over very low heat stirring until melted.
That’s it! Pour into a tupper-ware to keep, and ideally cover it with a piece of film directly in contact with the sauce, so it doesn’t form a skin on the surface. Leave to cool and pop in the fridge. Whenever you are ready to use it, heat it on the microwave at medium power (400 watt) for a few seconds until it’s the temperature you want. Alternatively, just use a pan again, but the microwave avoids dirtying anything else.
So, after you’ve waited your 24-36 hours for your dough, you’ll see it’s manageable, that is, it can be handled without sticking. Divide the dough into 4 equal 150g pieces for a 16cm skillet. Separate the one you’ll be using and you can wrap the others individually in film and freeze them.
Now, the one you’ll be serving can pressed into the cast iron skillet (I managed to find this small skillet in Le Creuset here in Europe, but Tony Roma’s are Lodge). If you haven’t got a skillet, no problem…until I bought one I would use a pyrex tray roughly that size, or else adjust the serving size to the size of tray/skillet/pyrex you’ve got! If you want this dessert for more than 2 people (just think you’ll all be eating from the same dish, fun but maybe not so for some!) use a larger tray to go into the oven.
As I was saying, no need to butter, just press in with your palm to flatten the surface. It will look fairly thin, but don’t worry, as it will more than double in height after baking.
Preheat your oven to 180ºC and 15 minutes ahead from when you want to serve it, just place it in. Check in case in your oven it needs a bit more time. It should look golden all over…
Serve with a scoop of your favourite vanilla/cream ice-cream (or any other flavour you like) and the hot fudge sauce generously over it!
Crispy on top and soft on the inside…yummy!
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April 16, 2010

Coriander pesto…and a simple & comforting dish with it!


Fresh coriander is one of those herbs that you either love it or hate it (like Marmite!). I can’t recall when I first encountered coriander, I just know that I’ve always loved the taste! Here in Spain except for Canary Islands, it’s not very common to use it. In many other places (Brazil and Australia come to mind) it can, in fact, be overused. I remember a few years back a teacher from a culinary school in Australia telling me how it was the new fashion, and chopped coriander was added to almost everything. Moderate use in the right dishes is the key! But to me it’s the “touch” to some recipes…A guacamole without it, is not guacamole to me, or the taste it gives falafel cannot be substituted with anything else. Also, in many dishes of Asian cuisine it’s one of the key ingredients, like fresh rice nems or larp salads.

But the pesto sauce that I’m sharing with you today may seem like an overdose of coriander! Believe me if I tell you that it blends with the other ingredients perfectly and the taste is not at all like coriander on it’s own. Linguini is not a big fan of coriander, but he easily gulps down a plate of pasta dressed with this pesto. Plus, for those of you who do like coriander and often get a bunch for some other recipe…it’s a fantastic way to use up whatever you have left over! (I often do that).


It’s great on it’s own with pasta or roasted vegetables, but one day I put together some ingredients I had in the fridge and this simple pasta dish was born. The taste of the fresh pesto, with a slight tart note (from lemon juice), with the sweet and slightly smoked taste of roasted red peppers and the subtle saltiness from the goat cheese make a wonderful combination with the perfect balance. Super simple, but super tasty and comforting! I hope you enjoy it!

Coriander pesto & a simple yet comforting pasta dish

(For 3 servings)

For the pesto:

30g fresh coriander (stalks removed)

30g roasted cashed nuts (or walnuts or pine nuts)

30g parmesan or grana padano

1 medium clove of garlic (grated or mashed)

70-80g olive oil (I prefer it’s not extra virgin for this dish)

1 tbsp of lemon juice (to taste, I like a bit more)

salt (to taste)

freshly ground black pepper (a pinch)

(a bit of grated lemon rind can be a nice addition, but I suggest you first try without it)

For the pasta:

~300g linguini (100g per person, use more depending on your serving size)

1 large red pepper

about 50g of crumbled goat cheese

extra freshly ground pepper

a drizzle of olive for sautéing the peppers

First, separate the leaves from the large stalk. You could actually use them whole, but the texture won’t result as delicate in the final pesto. If you do remove them…do not throw them away! In Thailand roots are often used and preferred to the leafs as they have a more intense flavour. The stalks also have flavour and chopped up they are great to flavour some dishes. For instance, they make a great addition to a butternut squash and coconut cream, or I use it for the “sofrito” of kedgeree, or a creamy shellfish rice. Furthermore, wrapped in film, they keep much longer than the leaves!


Give them a wash in cold water and dry them up as best as possible. I use the salad spinner…


If your cashew nuts are raw, you should toast them. Place them in the oven a bit over 150ºC and roast for about 15-20 minutes. Bear in mind that if you do, they should be cool by the time you use them. Similarly, if you use pine nuts, as in authentic pesto genovese, toast them either in the oven or in a pan over medium heat on the stove.


Now, easy…put everything but the olive oil in a food processor (the coriander, the parmesan, the nuts, salt & pepper, grated garlic and the lemon juice)


Process a bit, just to integrate everything and add little by little the oil to emulsify the paste instead of all at once to avoid the oil separating from the paste. If you like it runnier, add some more oil. Adjust salt and lemon juice and that’s it!


For the pasta, as simple as roasting the peppers and putting everything together!

To roast the peppers, I like to preheat the oven fairly high, to 220ºC. I place them over some aluminum paper (to wrap them later to make peeling easier, and avoid dirtying the tray!) Drizzle a bit of olive oil and coarse salt and in it goes! No need to turn, no nothing. After about 35 minutes, or a bit more, remove the tray and wrap the peppers in the aluminum paper until cool enough to handle. They should get fairly darkened & blistered all over to develop a sweeter and smoky taste!

The photo below is to show you how the skin should look like (don’t worry that it’s black, that’s why you roast at such a high temperature, so it blackens outside, but remains ok, not mushy inside). You can see the peeled part is still red!


Peel, discard the seeds and slice into thin strips lengthwise.

When your pasta is cooking, you could use the peppers just as they are or sauté them slightly in a bit of oil. Then add, the cooked pasta, the pesto and crumble half of the goat cheese.


Serve with some crumbled cheese over each dish and freshly milled pepper…Buon appetito! (not really Italian, but hey, it sounds great!)


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April 11, 2010

“Still walking”...fresh corn tempura


Last year my mom told me about a japanese movie that she was sure I’d love to watch. She said that there were many scenes of traditional cooking and in particular one of some corn cakes that were mouthwatering…She sure was right! The movie “Aritemo, aritemo” translated into “Still Walking” is a beautiful film that revolves around a family and the problems it drags years after a dramatic event. I don’t want to tell you about it, in case you want to watch it. But, I leave you with this link to a video from that fantastic corn tempura I am talking about.

I’ve had this tempura in mind for quite a while and finally decided to try to make it. So, I’ve been testing with tempura batters and how to make this particular type of tempura called “kakiage”. From what I’ve read, “kaki” means to mix or stir and “age” to fry in oil. In normal tempura, the ingredients are battered and fried individually, whereas in kakiage, they are fried together by adding some tempura batter to hold them together.


So, this corn tempura, namely “tomorokoshi” tempura in Japan is a delicacy only made when corn is at it’s sweetest, during July and August. Obviously the corn I’ve managed to get is probably far from those extremely fresh sweet corns used in reknowned tempura restaurants in Japan. But, it’s the freshest I could find and it still makes a great sweet and crispy appetiser! The corn cooks as it fries and the fresher it is, the more if pops and it gets softer inside while crisping outside! If you can manage to get fresh corn I highly recommend you try it!


Corn tempura

Makes about 8 medium corn cakes.

1 corn on the cob (about 120g of kernels once removed)

For the tempura batter:

50g tempura flour (or 40g cake flour + 10g cornflour)

100g ice-cold water

optional: 20g egg white (if using, reduce water to 90g)


Corn, sunflower or canola oil for deep-frying

extra flour for lightly dusting the corn kernels

To begin, I will explain to you this final recipe I’ve reached, and for those interested, to follow is a brief explanation on how I reached this tempura batter and not another.

First, start removing the kernels from the cob. I like to cut the cob in half by making a light incision with a knife. Don’t even try to cut through, it’s way too hard, just mark your knife and with your hands holding either side press down to break apart.

Now it’s easier to start from the top of each side and work your way to the bottom. With your thumb press down the kernels to release them from the cob:


If the corn is fresh, this will be relatively easy and the kernels will come out whole, undamaged. If you find that you cannot release them and instead you bruise them, it’s better to just run a knife lengthwise, as closest to “bone” of the cob, to release them.

Though the first method is preferred to end up with whole kernels


You can keep these in the fridge until you are ready to use them in this recipe.

When you are ready to make the tempura, start by preheating the oil in which it will be fried.

This is key #1. The temperature of the oil and that it’s constant is crucial to get a non-greasy good tempura. Ideally you want your oil at 160-170ºC and to maintain that temperature throughout the frying. So, you should choose a pan that keeps heat well. Usually those with thick bottoms and walls are best. Also, you want a large surface area, which you will only fill by 1/3 to not bring the temperature down (remember you’ll be using ice-cold batter!) So, a wok or alike is best. I found a thick bottomed frying pan to work best for me, so choose whichever pan you think has both bigger surface and thicker material, and fill up 2/3 of it or at least a bit more than half.

While the oil is warming up begin your batter. You MUST use ice-cold water! This is key #2, the idea behind this is that when ice-cold batter comes in contact with the hot oil, it will shield from absorbing much oil. So, either get a small jug and add a generous amount of ice-cubes, to keep it very cold, or, as I like to do, whizz enough water with also a generous amount of ice-cubes in a blender (Thermomix, Osterizer or alike).

If you decide to use egg whites (these just provide extra-binding which for this type of tempura, kakiage, thus can help to hold all kernels together and spread out less if you want tighter cakes) beat them lightly into the amount of water suggested in the recipe.

If you find it difficult to weigh the ingredients, this recipe does well with volumes…So, just think of it as 1 volume liquid: 1 volume flours. For the liquid, use a bit less than a whole egg white and complete with the ice-cold water. For the flours, 1/5 of cornflour and complete with cake flour.

Time to check the oil temperature, it should be hot by now, but if you haven’t got a thermometer, you need to check that it’s about 160-170ºC with your batter. So, sift your flours (it’s best, but sometimes…I forget the “sifting” part) into a bowl and add the water just giving it a stir!! This is key #3, a very light mix…it must end up being lumpy! That way the wheat flour will not develop gluten and the tempura will be light and crunchy instead of chewy!(the cornflour adds extra crunchiness)…Also the lumps form that lacy texture that looks like “explosions” (if you know what I mean).


It will feel fairly light, liquidy, but don’t be tempted to add extra-flour before you try it. For “kakiage” the batter should be slightly thicker than normal tempura, so only if when you try it it spreads out too much add flour with a light touch and light mixing!

Now, try the temperature…if you pour a drop of batter into the hot oil, it should go halfway down the oil (that’s why you also want plenty of oil…I know, I know, I hate deep-frying for that, but do like me, keep a tupper and filter the used oil with a strainer after each use…)and immediately up again. If it goes down to the bottom and takes a bit to rise again, it’s too low. If, on the other hand, as you pour it it sizzles in the surface, it’s too hot! Adjust accordingly.

Now, get ready to fry…If your kernels were removed with the “thumb” method :-) they will be whole, so I find this step is not necessary. But, if some are bruised, then like most other kakiage, which are strips of vegetables, it’s best to dry the surface sprinkling a bit of flour.


Now, you have two options. Either add a few tablespoons of batter into the corn or, like in the video-clip from the movie, add the corn into the batter and use a slotted spoon to remove excess batter and drop the cakes the size you want.

I’ve used the latter, I find it gives a lighter result, but you have to make sure to do that, remove excess batter!


And just fry them, either with the slotted spoon or spoonfuls of the one mixed with just some batter. Do few at a time…ideally only use 1/3 of the surface area of the pan.

Cook for 2-3 minutes turning once, no need to keep turning around!


Just a warning note…If your corn is very fresh, it’s more likely to pop…not as much as popcorn, but since you are frying in very hot oil, it’s best to use one of these to protect you and your kitchen from splashes…just don’t stand over the frying pan!


Once it feels dry, remove onto a rack or some absorbent paper…and eat warm!!!!

You can add a pinch of fine sea-salt but I find they are perfect just as they are, very sweet, crunchy and light!


Can you see how crispy these are?


Now, about the tempura batter…

I had a few doubts…the main ones:

1) Difference in adding yolk/white/beaten egg or none of those to the water

2) what flours are best, other than commercial tempura flour mix: wheat soft flour alone, cornflour, rice flour, potato starch or a mixture of these.

So, it’s not purely scientific as perhaps all constants are not kept equal as in a lab, but fairly close to get decent results…

I made 4 different batters: 1 with yolks, another with whole egg, another with white and a last one without any egg at all. All, the same proportions of liquid: flour and those with egg, using 1/5 of egg from total liquid. The results for the same amount of time:


Clockwise, the top one is without egg, the next is just whites, the bottom one is just yolks and the left one is whole egg. There was a clear difference, given the same amount of time and a constant temperature between the white and no-egg one being much crunchier than the other two. The yolk one in no time got soggy again, and so did the egg one later. These are the no egg and just white ones a little closer, if you can see the texture…you can notice also the white one spreads less than the one without.


So, though many recipes to tempura advise to use yolk or whole egg, I chose not to.

Next, the blends of flours…I had no potato starch, so tried variables with the other three.


The right one is rice flour, which I did not like at all, both flavour-wise and texture, the next clockwise is half flour, half corn-flour, too crunchy, but not as light. The left one is just wheat flour and it’s nice but it spreads a lot. Finally, the top, which I like best is 1/5 cornflour…crispy, but still a light coating, it tastes as good as the wheat flour one and binds better together. So, that one it is!

Ah, also, some recipes recommend adding a bit of baking powder (1 tsp per 50g of flour). Well, the result…


It might be good for individual tempura…but for kakiage…it just disintegrates! I had to catch it with a strainer. This is actually used as a crunch topping, it’s called “tensaku”. But, not for this purpose!

So, until further experimentation or until I find a fantastic tempura chef to tell me all his secrets (which I doubt!) here’s my closest approach to this fantastic appetiser! I got my craving satisfied!



P.D. I’ve had to rewrite this post twice as my computer mysteriously shut down and there was no temporary file saved…so just wanted to warn you that yes, Murphy does exist and he is amongst us, so save your work! ;-)

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