Sunday, February 27, 2011

Feb 2011 DC Challenge Panna Cotta & Florentine Cookies


This was a great challenge tasty, delicious and elegant yet simple, fast and cheap to make. It was panna cotta with Florentine cookies. I haven't made neither of these before so I was excited to read the challenge.

Blog-checking lines: The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

Recipe Source: I'm going to be completely honest, I'm not the biggest Giada De Laurentiis fan, but I adore this simple recipe of hers for Panna Cotta. It's well reviewed, simple, delicious and has been my go to for quite some time. I hope you enjoy it.

Spicy coffee cardamom panna cotta with two types (one chewy and one crisp) of Florentines

What a fun challenge this was I love simple recipes that produce super delicious results. I only used about 1/4 of the sugar in both of the recipes the original amounts are much too sweet for my tastes. The panna cotta recipe is a breeze I used 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of powdered gelatin for 4 cups (1 litre) of liquid, interestingly in Australia one tablespoon of our most popular brand (Ward's) weighs 14 grams but its strength is half of the normal North American brand (Knox's) that is why we use the same volume as the challenge recipe and not the weight indicated. One tablespoon of Knox's is 7 grams which is the conversion used in the challenge recipe. This is why it is important to read the instructions on the packet on my pack it says 1 tablespoon will gel 1/2 litre (2 cups) to hard-set so obviously 1 tablespoon will gel 1 litre (4 cups the amount in the challenge recipe) to the soft texture needed for panna cotta. I used thickened cream 35% butterfat.

I did two types of Florentines one thin & chewy and the other thick & crisp, I used rolled oats for the chewy version and cornflakes for the crisp version. Florentines are so simple to make yet produce such a pretty result a great recipe. The kids liked the thin and chewy ones the grown-ups mostly liked the thick and crisp ones (as I did).

Making perfect panna cotta
Panna cotta consists of just four ingredients – cream, sugar, flavouring, and gelatin which when combined correctly forms a sophisticated custard of impressive taste with a creamy full-bodied mouth feel and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. It is the ultimate comfort food deceptively simple to make yet as with all simple concoctions using a minimum of ingredients the utmost care must be taken in the preforming the different steps of the recipe. Panna cotta is often the victim of mediocrity – commonly in restaurants, cafés and the in home it merely comes as a weakly flavoured cream jelly (jell-o) with poor mouth-feel and flavour. Just throwing in the recommended dose of gelatin, throwing the mixture in the fridge to set will get you so-so results, most of the time. However, armed with a little information you can ensure your dessert will stand out each time. The two most important features of panna cotta are flavour and texture

Flavour enhancement
To obtain maximum flavour in your panna cotta it is best to steep flavour into your product, that is use a cold infusion over a period of 24 to 48 hours for example use fresh mint, tea leaves, coffee and whole spices, or use a liquid addition to the panna cotta like a pulled shot of espresso, orange flower water, and liquors, so steep the flavour into the milk that is heated to melt the gelatin.

Texture enhancement
To obtain the ultimate soft melt-in-your-mouth panna cotta both the gelatin and the cream have to handled carefully.

Gelatin is a protein produced by partial hydrolysis of collagen extracted from the boiled bones, connective tissues, organs and some intestines of animals such as domesticated cattle, pigs, and horses. Gelatin is an unusual protein whereas most normal proteins when heated respond by unfolding and bonding permanently to neighbouring proteins (aka coagulating for example poaching an egg), the proteins in gelatin respond to heat by releasing their bonds to each other. The unusually long protein chains in gelatin, when cold, bind to each other via a triple helix structure, which cross link with others to form a web. This web interferes with the movement of the water the gelatin is dispersed in, thus gelling the liquid into a solid.

Many things effect the final texture of a gelatin gelled liquid, particularly the manner in which it is cooled. The warmed liquid, necessary to release the proteins from their initial web and disperse them, is most often immediately placed in the refrigerator and cooled quickly. In doing this, the protein chains bond to each other immediately, and randomly, causing bulky and weak cross sections. By cooling the gelatin slowly, at room temperature, the proteins are allowed to mingle with each other, forming a tighter, more structured web which produces a superior mouth feel and texture.

Heating cream changes its texture and makes it feel thin on the tongue. So never heat the entire amount of the cream used to make a panna cotta it is best to withhold about 1/4 of the cream.

The shear forces produced by whipping very cold cream breaks the protective layer of the fat globules which makes the cream sticky thus increasing its mouth-feel. So it best to heat only a portion of the cream (which has lost some of it mouth feel due to heating) then add to the dissolved gelatin/milk mixture and then add the gently whipped cream (which has superior mouth feel due to stickiness of burst butter fat globules) .

So to obtain the most flavoursome with the best melt-in-your-mouth textured panna cotta
1. Steep the flavouring up to 48 hours in the milk
2. Bloom your powered gelatin in the cold milk until it is full hydrated at least 30 minutes
3. Gently heat the bloomed gelatin and flavoured milk until the gelatin is fully dissolved (do not boil)
4. Let the dissolved flavoured gelatin mixture cool slowly to room temperature which allows for the protein bonds in gelatin to slowly rearrange and form a tight structured web. If gelatin is cooled too quickly the protein chains form a bulky weak-crossed web which has an unappealing mouth-feel.
5. When the flavoured gelatine mixture has cooled to room temperature heat 3/4 of the cream to blood heat (do not boil) add 2 tablespoons to the cooled gelatin mixture to temper it, then add the rest of the warmed cream
6. Gently whip the other 1/4 of cream (that is very cold) until thickened avoid air bubbles then fold into the gelatin mixture. Let cool 15 minutes then pour into moulds and then place into refrigerator.
7. Limit use of fruit such as fresh or frozen pineapple, kiwi fruit, papayas, pineapple, peaches, mangos, guavas, and figs because the gelatin might not set. These fruit contain enzymes which break apart proteins like the collagen in gelatin. When the fruit is canned or cooked before using, it is heat treated, which destroys the enzyme and the fruit can be used. More acidic fruit, such as strawberries and citrus fruit may require more gelatin to set.

Coffee, cardamom, cumin & caraway with chilli chocolate panna cotta
I decided to make a spicy panna cotta I used instant coffee, cardamom, cumin, caraway seeds, cocoa powder, kecap manis and chilli powder. I just love coffee and cardamom so I used this as my base flavouring and then I added cumin, caraway seeds, cocoa powder, kepcap manis and chilli to add spicy after tastes. I only used a small amount of molasses sugar in the recipe the original amount produces a dessert that is too too sweet for my tastes.

WOW this was superb I loved the look of it the seeds on top were soft and so flavoursome adding an extra flavour burst when tasted while the texture of the custard was perfect soft melt-in-the-mouth I really like panna cotta.

I was very careful to bloom the gelatin in the cold milk for 30 minutes then I gently heated the milk until all the gelatin had dissolved. Then I followed the steps above.

The start of the blooming process notice I placed a thin even layer of powdered gelatin over the cold milk I then placed the cup into the fridge for 30 minutes.

The fully hydrated gelatin

Some of the ingredients used, top pile caraway seed, left middle cumin, right middle instant coffee and bottom pile ground cardamom powder.

The mixture in the mould cooling to room temperature

Unmoulded panna cotta

Yum yum the interior of the panna cotta

Two types of Florentine biscuits
Chewy Cherry Chocolate Florentines
One of my favourite confections is cherry chocolate so I decided to make a Florentine based on that flavour profile. Since it is over 42C (106F) in Sydney Australia at the moment I decided to add some cocoa powder to the mixture so I could get that chocolate taste without using a chocolate coating I used cherry extract also. I only had rolled oats so I used them I found that using these produced a chewy texture to the biscuits and the Florentine didn't spread much. The test batch was devoured by the neighbour's kids I could only save a few for the post. I really liked this style of Florentine with the spicy coffee cardmom panna cotta. The chocolate taste was very intense with a great cherry after taste.

The batter

A tablespoon of unbaked batter on a silicone mat

The baked Cherry Chocolate Florentine notice that it didn't spread very much

The baked Cherry Chocolate Florentine

Crisp Cornflake glacé cherry Florentines
In Australia Florentines are usually made using cornflakes and glacé cherries and are crisp and thick so I substituted the oats with cornflakes and added some chopped glacé cherries and I coated (very quickly since it was still very hot) half of the biscuit with dark chocolate again I only used a tiny amount of sugar. These were very crisp and thick which is how I like my Florentines.

The baked Cornflake glacé cherry Florentines

Interior of the Cornflake glacé cherry Florentine

Spicy coffee cardamom panna cotta with two types (one chewy and one crisp) of Florentines

How to unmould the panna cotta
I did exactly what the challenge recipe instructed, I run a knife around the set panna cotta (which really breaks the seal between the custard and the container) then I placed the mould in some hot water for a few seconds and inverted it out onto a plate. It is best to have a paper towel ready to get any dips (which I didn't do).

The panna cotta 'somewhat' holds its shape BUT it does change shape a little I noticed, it was super tasty and the texture was melt-in-the-mouth soft yum yum. See here for a great posting from purplehousedirt about unmoulding panna cotta she always produces such stunning challenge recipes.

A big thank you to MissMollary for a wonderful challenge both of the recipes are keepers and I will be making them again very soon.

Liquorice, gin with dark chocolate panna cotta and three fruit panna cotta
I wanted to make a panna cotta that reminded me of the liquorice all-sorts that I loved as a child. I decided to make a dark chocolate, gin and liquorice panna cotta and to accompany this I made a three fruit (lime, pomegranate and lemon) panna cotta. The liquorice, gin and dark chocolate was superb (gin really goes well with liquorice) it was great to have a small amount and then take some of the three fruit panna cotta, the contrast between the earthy flavoured liquorice/gin/dark chocolate and the light and bright fruit was exquisite I really like how you could choose the amount of each to suit your own tastes. I got some funky retro serving glasses from the local opportunity shop for only 50 cents each.


I used dried liquorice root soaked in gin overnight to flavour the milk for the liquorice, gin and dark chocolate panna cotta and used agar agar to thicken both the panna cottas.

Lime, pomegranate and lemon panna cotta


Mushroom and seaweed panna cotta
I wanted to make a savoury panna cotta so I made a creamy panna cotta using dried shiitake mushroom and seaweed paste, I used agar agar to gel the panna cotta. I was careful to use only a 3/4 teaspoon of agar agar for 800 ml (3 1/3 cups) of liquid this is the perfect amount to make a soft set panna cotta. Unmoulding the panna cotta was so easy and the panna cotta had a great wobble.

The great thing about agar agar is that it gels in about 30 minutes at room temperature.


Gelatin conversions
For our North American bakers if you are using gelatin sheets (that are titanium strength the most common type in the shops) then you should use

1 tablespoons or ¼ oz of powdered gelatin → 4 titanium sheets

This is the substitution that is used in the "Joy of baking" website substitution page how did she get this conversion.

First of all...It all depends on the strength of the sheet gelatin you're using. Sheet gelatins come in a wide variety of quality (and therefore strength). I use, for instance, platinum sheets --which are more expensive, refined, thinner, but more economical--and which have a relative strength of 235 -265g. Silver can be half strength of that... about 130. Bronze is in the range of 125-155, gold 190-220 and titanium 80-130 (titanium is the normal grade that is available in most shops in North America).

Normal Knox gelatin powder 225
Platinum 235-265
Gold 190-220
Silver 130-160
Bronze 125-155
Titanium 90-130

Sooooo.... it may take 3, 4 or 5 sheets to do the same thickening of 4 cups liquid. Thickening is also relative (do you want it to just gel a bit so not runny, or do you want Jell-o Jigglers?)

If you are trying to substitute weights when using sheets, it is far better to use grams, not ounces, as it is more precise with such small amounts. Most sheet gelatin will say on the side of the box what the weight is in grams

As for standard granulated (powdered) Knox gelatin measurements:

1 packet = 1/4 oz = 2 and 1/2 teaspoons (approximately one tablespoon)

Regardless, both kinds of gelatin must first be bloomed (softened in COLD never warm water) and then heated gently (never boiled) to melt/dissolve in order to add. Sheets are usually squeezed out so there's no excess water, and added directly to a warm liquid. Granulated gelatin is usually bloomed in a specific amount of liquid/water, and the whole thing is then warmed to melt and added (both the granular and water which have congealed into one mass). You never just sprinkle granulated gelatin over something you want to thicken.

If you have a cold liquid mixture that you want to add the warm melted gelatin to, then 'temper' it in. That is, don't just try to stir in the liquid gelatin: you will only get little clear lumps or pieces in your mixture. Rather, first stir a small amount of the mix into the gelatin, then add it back into the bigger bowl of mix.

Also, be sure not to use gelatin with bromelin-heavy fruits, like fresh/frozen pineapple, guava, figs, kiwi or ginger root. The Bromelin enzyme destroys the protein bonds in the gelatin, subsequently no gelling will occur. (Cooking or other processing, like canning pineapple,will destroy the bromelin.)

From The Age (an Australian newspaper) I found this formula:
Weight (Bloom 2) = weight (Bloom 1) x square root (Bloom1/Bloom2)

Basically it works like this:
If the Knox's gelatin is your known mass at 1 unit of mass and 225 bloom, it is #1.
and the Silver gelatin is your unknown mass at 160 bloom, it is #2.

Weight (silver) = weight (Knorr) x square root (Knorr bloom / silver bloom)
Weight (silver) = 1 unit x square root (225/160)
Weight (silver) = 1.19 unit

So, for every 1 unit (gram or ounce) of Knox's that is called for, you would use about 1.2 units (gram or ounce) of the silver gelatin.

The simple answer: to go from Knox's to Silver gelatin, just multiply the weight by 1.2

If you are working with a recipe that calls for a specific weight of a specific gelatin (often Knox's powdered gelatin), you can use this equation to substitute a gelatin with a different Bloom value for the one called for in the recipe.

Weight (Gelatin A) = weight (Gelatin B ) x square root (bloom Gelatin B/ bloom Gelatin A)

Or, in this case,

Weight (silver leaf gelatin) = weight (Knox) x square root (Knox bloom / silver bloom)

For example I know that it takes 0.25 oz of Knox powdered gelatin to gel the panna cotta (based on the instructions on the box), but I want to use Silver leaf gelatin instead.

From the manufacturer's information, we know that:
Knox = 225 bloom
Silver = 160 bloom

For this application, to convert from oz Knox to oz silver, the formula is this:
Weight (silver leaf gelatin) = weight (Knox) x square root (Knox bloom / silver bloom)
Weight (silver leaf gelatin) = 0.25 oz x square root (225/160)
Weight (silver leaf gelatin) = 0.25 oz x square root (1.40625)
Weight (silver leaf gelatin) = 0.25 oz x 1.185854
Weight (silver leaf gelatin) = 0.2964635 oz
Weight (silver leaf gelatin) = 0.3 oz (rounded)
to convert from ounces to grams, multiply by 28.35
0.3 oz x 28.35 grams/oz = 8.404740225 grams

To get the number of leaves required -
If the gelatin leaves weigh 2.5 grams each, divide 8.404740225 by 2.5 to determine how many leaves are required.
# of leaves = weight req'd / weight per leaf
# of leaves = 8.404740225 / 2.5
# of leaves = 3.36189609 leaves

So, to replace 0.25 oz of Knox's gelatin, I would have to use 3.36189609 silver gelatin leaves. Which I would round up to 3.5 silver gelatin leaves for convenience.

How many gold sheets do I need to use to set the panna cotta?

From the manufacturer's information, we know that:
Knox = 225 bloom
Gold = 200 bloom

For this application, to convert from oz Knox to oz gold, the formula is this:
Weight (gold leaf gelatin) = weight (Knox) x square root (Knox bloom / silver bloom)
Weight ( gold leaf gelatin) = 0.25 oz x square root (225/200)
Weight ( gold leaf gelatin) = 0.25 oz x square root (1.125)
Weight ( gold leaf gelatin) = 0.25 oz x 1.060660
Weight ( gold leaf gelatin) = 0.265165 oz
Weight ( gold leaf gelatin) = 0.27 oz (rounded)
to convert from ounces to grams, multiply by 28.35
0.27 oz x 28.35 grams/oz = 7.51742775 grams

To get the number of leaves required -
If the gelatin leaves weigh 2.5 grams each, divide 7.51742775 by 2.5 to determine how many leaves are required.
# of leaves = weight req'd / weight per leaf
# of leaves = 7.51742775 / 2.5
# of leaves = 3.0069711 leaves

So, to replace 0.25 oz of Knox gelatin, I would have to use 3 silver gelatin leaves.

So in are panna cotta challenge we need 0.25 ozs of Knox's gelatin so I would have to use 3 silver gelatin leaves.

In North America the sheet gelatin that is normally used is titanium (about 100 bloom strength) so going through the calculations again gives

For this application, to convert from oz Knox to oz titanium, the formula is this:
Weight (silver leaf gelatin) = weight (Knox) x square root (Knox bloom / silver bloom)
Weight (silver leaf gelatin) = 0.25 oz x square root (225/100)
Weight (silver leaf gelatin) = 0.25 oz x square root (2.25)
Weight (silver leaf gelatin) = 0.25 oz x 1.5
Weight (silver leaf gelatin) = 0.375
Weight (silver leaf gelatin) = 0.38 oz (rounded)
to convert from ounces to grams, multiply by 28.35
0.38 oz x 28.35 grams/oz = 10.63125 grams

To get the number of leaves required -
If the gelatin leaves weigh 2.5 grams each, divide 10.63125 by 2.5 to determine how many leaves are required.
# of leaves = weight req'd / weight per leaf
# of leaves = 10.63125 / 2.5
# of leaves = 4.2525 leaves

So, to replace 0.25 oz of Knox's gelatin, I would have to use 4.2525 titanium gelatin leaves. Which I would round up to 4 bronze gelatin leaves for convenience.

¼ oz of powdered gelatin bloom strength 225 → 4 titanium sheets bloom strength 100

¼ oz of powdered gelatin bloom strength 225 → 3½ silver sheets bloom strength 160
¼ oz of powdered gelatin bloom strength 225 → 3 gold sheets bloom strength 200
¼ oz of powdered gelatin bloom strength 225 → 4 titanium sheets bloom strength 100

Using agar agar
Agar-Agar is a flavourless gelling agent, made from seaweed. Agar-Agar is a great substitute for gelatin especially for vegetarians. Unlike gelatin, agar-agar does not contain animal by-products, also it will stay solid at room temperature. Agar-agar has a stiffer consistency than gelatin, but can be prepared smoother. It can be used to make all sorts of interesting meals, savoury and sweet.

Can be bought at many Asian markets and sometimes your at your local grocer. Sold powdered, flaked, crinkled strands or in a block. The powdered form being the easiest to use in the kitchen because it dissolves in water easily. Set 2 cups of liquid using 2 teaspoons powder, 2 Tablespoons flakes or 1 bar, broken up into pieces. Bring water and agar-agar to a boil, stirring for 2 minutes for the powder, (8 mins for the flakes and 12 mins for the bar), then add what ever flavouring you would like. Highly acidic ingredients may need extra agar-agar to set, such as lemons, strawberries and things containing vinegar. Ingredients high in enzymes such as pineapple, mangoes or papaya will need to be cooked before agar-agar is added because the enzymes will break down the agar-agar inhibiting the gelling process. If you want to have a softer outcome try playing with using a high liquid ratio.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Feb 2011 DC Tempura & Soba noodles

Tempura and soba noodles

Soba is a type of thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour. It is served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup. It takes three months for buckwheat to be ready for harvest, so it can be harvested four times a year, mainly in spring, summer, and autumn.

Hiyashi Soba is a popular dish in summer. It's like a noodle salad. Restaurants in Japan serve Hiyashi Soba only in summer. Even if you don't have much appetite because of the heat, Hiyashi Soba can be appetizing. Common Hiyashi Soba toppings are omelet strips, ham, cucumber and grated Daikon. You can also have the noodles just with the dipping sauce.

Tempura is a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried. A light batter is made of cold water (sometimes sparklin water is used to keep the batter light and soft wheat flour (cake, pastry or all-purpose flour). Eggs, baking soda or baking powder, starch, oil, and/or spices may also be added.

From the website the information is stated. Well... it may interest you to know that the Portuguese were the ones who introduced tempura to the Japanese way back in the 1500s when they landed in Japan along with establishing trade routes and bringing Catholicism. The battered seafood and vegetable dish was apparently loved so much by Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, that he died after eating too much tempura. I don't know if this is true as I think one would pass out before they could that!

Recipe Source: I’ve had many different versions of this dish so I’ve combined a few different recipes from around the WWW. Most notably: Zaru Soba Noodles from Food; Zaru Soba from Globetrotter Diaries; Perfect Tempura from Pink Bites; Tempura from Itsy Bitsy Foodies; and my Japanese stepmother.

Blog-checking lines: The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including,, and

Posting Date: February 14, 2011

See here for a PDF of the challenge.

Soba noodles and tempura
WOW this is a marvellous challenge!

Soba Noodles
I used a mixture of store-bought natural flavoured soda noodles & green tea soba noddles, I made the broth for the noddles using instant benito soup powder, tangle weed powder, sea weed paste, double deluxe soy sauce and rice-fermented mirin, I used chives/mint instead of the spring onions, I added some dark sesame oil and a mixture of flavoured (bamboo, wasabi, BBQ and teriyaki) sesame seeds and some hot chilli sauce. I chilled the noddles. OMG I never realised how good chilled soba noodles are for a hot summer's day as we having in Sydney Australia at the moment. This is the perfect lunch so easy to make and so delicious.

I used perilla leaves, raw prawns, raw prawn heads, sweet potatoes, peaches and bananas for my tempura. I made up the batter using chilled soda water and added some ice cubes. The batter looks very thin but it is perfect to use. You really do need to dredge your ingredients in flour I forgot to do it for the first perilla leaf and the batter wouldn't stick at all. I noticed that the batter became thicker and thicker when it was used up this is because we only lightly combine the batter ingredients (I didn't want to activate the gluten in the batter so I only mixed the batter a couple of times with chop sticks) so there was a slightly heavier flour layer on the bottom of the batter bowl so if you want a thicker layer of batter on your ingredient dip right down to the bottom of the bowl so it will be coated in a thicker batter. Notice how thin the batter is on the tempura (especially on the perilla leaves which I deep fried first) remember we are not making fritters so in tempura the base ingredient will show through in places. Notice how the prawns and the fruit have a thicker tempura layer on them since at this stage I had to use the batter from the bottom of the bowl.

I was stunned how great tempura is! The perilla leaves are astounding the leaves are so tasty (they taste like a combination of basil, mint and lemon grass with a touch of apple) and with the crisp layer of tempura which makes for a total sensory overload of yumminess these were my favourite of all the tempura I made. The sweet potato are crunchy and crispy and the sweet potato flavour comes out to the forefront. The prawns and prawn heads are sweet and the skins of the prawn heads are a great contrast and the fruit are a great treat at the end of the feast the peaches are extra special (my second favourite tempura) and the banana with the crisp batter layer are so delicious and so so so good these would be great with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Tips for tempura
1. Try to keep the oil clean at all time use a very fine sieve to strain the oil often this stops the loose cooked pieces of tempura batter from sticking onto new pieces of uncooked tempura which spoils their appearance. Remove the remnants of batter between each batch so they don't burn and leave a bad flavour in the oil.
2. I used rice bran oil I hate the strange fishy smell that canola oil has when used for deep frying.
3. Try to keep the batter layer thin and deep fry only until crisp do not brown to much if you can help it. A very light golden colour is fine.
4. Use a couple of ice cubes in the batter to keep it cold at all time. Only make the batter just before you need to use it as it becomes gluey if left for too long.
5. Test the heat of the oil by dropping in a small amount of batter. If it sizzles immediately, the oil is hot enough to use.
6. Drying on a wire rack works much better than using paper towels.
7. You can reuse the oil again cool to room temperature, strain using a very fine sieve lined with paper towels. Taste to make sure that the oil isn't flavoured too much from the deep frying. Then you can use it again (about 4-5 times) for shallow frying and deep frying, when the oil becomes cloudy discard.

Here is a fabulous egullet forum thread about tempura cooking using very traditional ingredients it discusses many aspects of this challenge it even has some information about soba noodles highly recommended! It explains the difference between making tempura and making fritters. The photos are very informative.

"What colour should cooked tempura batter be?" Japanese cooks insist that tempura should have no colour (or as little as possible) when cooked and that the batter layer shouldn't evenly coat the ingredient like in a fritter i.e. your ingredient can show through in places in a tempura. The cooked batter shouldn't be bread-y and it should be crisp and not greasy in many Japanese restaurants in Sydney they serve tempura on paper boards which becomes transparent if the tempura is too greasy. See the photos in this thread.

"Do we use raw seafood in tempura?" the usual practice is to use green (raw) prawns (shrimp) and raw seafood BUT I have seen a number of sites that used large frozen cooked prawns with some success also crab sticks are used a lot in many places.

A key to success to tempura making is to make sure that each item to be deep-fried is dry (free from moisture on the surface) before coating with tempura batter. Use paper towels, if required. Otherwise, it will take more time to deep-fry than necessary.

Ingredients for the soba noodles

Cooked green tea soba noodles and unflavoured soba noodles

Finished chilled soba noodles

Perilla leaves


Perilla leaves tempura

Sweet potato tempura

Prawn and prawn head tempura

Peach tempura

Banana tempura


Chilled soba noodles and mixed tempura meal

Greek ingredient tempura
I wanted to make a special Valentine's day present for the neighbour she is Greek she has been so nice to me lately I decided to treat her with a lunch of tempura using her favourite Greek ingredients. She loves olives, a small fish she calls bony grouper, crab, marinated chillies and dry apple cider so that is exactly what I tempura'd I also added my favourite perilla leaves. I used the apple cider in the tempura batter I noticed that the final deep fried tempura layer was very light and crispy.

What a lovely lunch this was, I absolutely adored it, the olives and chillies were lovely salty and spicy and the bony grouper was so tender. Crab sticks and perilla leaves are a lovely combination.

Some of the ingredient

The plate of Greek ingredient tempura

Olive tempura a wonderful salty treat

Small bony grouper tempura this was so tender and moist

Crab stick tempura

Marinated chilli tempura this was hot and spicy great with the other ingredients

Perilla leaf tempura

Final tempura plate