I work at an izakaya pub in Japan, and kakiage don is something they often make for staff’s meal there. When this dish is served for supper, waiters/waitresses figure out that the kitchen staff is really busy that night and there aren’t much leftover ingredients in the kitchen.
Kakiage Don (Shredded Vegetable/Seafood Tempura on a Bowl of Rice)
Ingredients - 2 to 3 servings -
The vegetable/seafood ingredients can be substituted with your favorites.
(20 to 30 g for each)
- Sweet potato
- Mitsuba (Japanese wild parsley)
- Kobashira (eye of scallop)
Cooked short grain rice for 2 to 3 servings
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
55 g flour (cake flour preferred)
2 tsp corn or potato starch
1 egg yolk
A pinch salt
100 mL ice water
(1 tsp sake … optional)
160 mL dashi stock
40 mL soy sauce
40 mL mirin
40 mL sake
1+1/2 tsp sugar
1. Heat all tsuyu (sauce) ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Remove from heat. Set aside.
2. Shred vegetables. Cut seafood in small chunks.
3. In a bowl, mix egg yolk and ice water. (Do not get ice in the egg-water mixture. Add sake, if desired.) In another bowl, mix flour, corn or potato starch and salt and add to the mixture. Stir lightly by running chopsticks or a fork through the batter in a “cutting” manner so that it does not develop gluten in the flour. The batter can be lumpy and should be slightly runnier than regular tempura batter.
4. Add shredded vegetables and seafood chunks to the bowl that was used for mixing dry ingredients. Sprinkle with a little amount of flour and toss to coat the vegetables and seafood.
5. Pour the batter over the ingredients and mix.
6. Heat vegetable oil to apx. 180 C. Take a scoop of the ingredients on a turner and let the excess batter drip off.
Slip the ingredients into oil, pushing gently with chopsticks or a fork. Deep-fry until both sides are golden brown.
Drain on paper towels.
7. Heat the sauce again. Pour sauce (apx. 60 to 70 mL per serving) over warm rice in a big rice bowl (donburi). Place a kakiage on the turner and dip it very briefly in the remaining sauce in the saucepan, then transfer onto the rice. Serve warm.
Read More for Serving Suggestions and Tips
Serving suggestions: Pickles, soup (especially miso soup) and hot green tea would be nice accompaniment to refresh the tongue. If you like the kakiage crispier, just place it on top of rice without dipping in the sauce and pour sauce over it.
Now, these are various tips for crunchy tempura batter that I’ve found on Japanese websites. Maybe you’ve heard of some of these, but there might be something totally new to you. Choose what you like. ;)
To make crunchy tempura batter:
1. Use ice water to make batter and keep ingredients refrigerated until use.
2. Use egg yolk, instead of whole egg.
3. Add a little corn/potato starch to flour.
4. Add a little salt to flour.
5. Add a little baking powder to flour.
6. Add a little vinegar to batter.
7. Add a little beer or other kind of alcohol to batter.
8. Use mayonnaise instead of egg.
9. Use unsweetened soda water instead of ice water.
10. Use rice flour instead of flour.
11. Make batter right before you start deep-frying. Do not make it way beforehand.
I have tried 1 to 4 and 11, and they seem to work for me, but you may not get the same result because the crunchiness of tempura also depends on other factors such as the kind/temperature of the oil you use, how you drain tempura, etc. I use vegetable oil, sometimes canola, and at our izakaya, we use the mixture of shirashime oil (refined oil) and lard.
* Kakiage is also great for the topping of warm udon or soba noodles. I always do this with leftover soggy kakiage.