I love tempura, especially those in Japan because the batter is incredibly light, crisp and airy. I sometimes manage to get it right, but sometimes, even using the same recipe, it can turn out like pisang goreng . Three important points to remember are 1) do not fry more than 3 pieces at a time to maintain the heat of the oil 2) have enough oil and the oil must be very hot 3)The flour is not to be mixed well. In fact I suspect the way they get all those strands of crispy batter is probably dip it in flour again after dipping in batter. Will test my theory next time.
medium-sized prawns, shelled except for tails & dirt veins removed*
brinjals/eggplant, in thin slices
pumpkin, in thin slices
1) When oil is being heated, prepare batter: put 1 cup ice-cold water and 1/2 handful of ice in a bowl, then add 3/4 cup tempura flour and stir quickly till batter forms but some lumps are still present. If the batter gets too thin as the ice melts, add more flour. Make batter in small batches so the batter is always of right consistency.
2) Dredge each piece of veg/prawns in tempura flour, then into the batter and then drop into the hot oil. Drain on kitchen paper. Serve immediately.
* Tempura prawns are usually rod-straight. This is achieved by cutting the underside or inner curve of the prawn and straightening it. Vero, my helper, cut the upperside (see the picture) and I had to cut the underside and pull the prawns as straight as they would go...