KAKIAGE - Japanese Tempura Fritters

Crispy, crunchy veggie and shrimp tempura fritters with crazily tasty textures.

Fun with tempura! 

Kakiage is simply a mix of thinly sliced veggies and roughly chopped prawns, tucked into a light batter, and plopped by little handfuls into hot oil.  Pulling each fritter apart a bit in the middle, with a chopstick, as it fries, adds to the divine texture of these rather indulgent Japanese fritters.

 I used zucchini, sweet onion, baby carrots, asparagus, jalapeno and prawns, but Kakiage lends itself well to improvisation.  Bean sprouts, sweet potatoes, green beans, green onions or whatever you have in the fridge can be easily handcrafted into hot, crispy fritters that remind us why we so thoroughly enjoy the flavours and textures from the Land of the Rising Sun. Kakiage-3

As with all tempura, you'll reap the tastiest, lightest, crispiest results by using ice water and only mixing the batter for a few seconds.  Leaving lumps in the mixture along with cold temperature results in the unique puffy, crisp texture of kakiage.  I even chill my bowl before making tempura batter for a little added cold boost. Keep it COLD and stir little!  Over mixing the batter will kick the gluten into action creating a more dough-like coating, and we'll have none of that.

Kakiage is good on it's own as an appy, with a tempura or sweet Thai chili dipping sauce, or you can make a meal of it by serving with a scoop of sticky rice or with a bowl of ramen or udon noodles. 

**Thanks to My Kitchen Snippets food blog for the inspiration!**

KAKIAGE ~ Japanese Vegetable and Shrimp Tempura Fritters - Makes 15-20

15 (31-40 count) prawns, peeled, deveined and chopped into 2-3 pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into thick matchsticks about 2-inches long
1 small sweet onion, peeled, halved, and very thinly sliced
20 thin fresh asparagus stalks, chopped into 1 - 2 inch lengths
2 small carrots, peeled, very thinly sliced into 'coins'
1 fresh jalapeno, minced

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 - 1 cup ice water

In medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Add beaten egg and ice water and mix lightly.  Batter should be quite thin.  Add prawns and all chopped veggies.  Stir to evenly coat.

Heat about 1/2-inch oil in a large skillet or heat oil to deep-fry in wok, over high heat.  Once oil is hot, either spoon or take small handfuls of batter coated goodies and carefully slip into oil.  Use a chopstick to keep fritters in small, irregular rounds, but also spread the centres of the fritters a bit, with a chopstick to create more texture and delicate crunch.  Fry, in batches, until golden, about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes per side.

Drain on paper towels and serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.