Thursday, February 02, 2006

Kakiage Don

Kakiage Don

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)
- Carrot
- Onion
- Sweet potato
- Mitsuba (Japanese wild parsley)
- Shrimp
- 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)

Tsuyu (Sauce)
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.

* Tips:
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.


Anonymous said...

This looks wonderful....I think I will try this this weekend....I'll let you know if I was successful..

bourgogne said...

after i saw your post, i was inspired to make kakiagedon. i made this for lunch today. i made way too much but we it all anyway. thanks, obachan, for the recipe. it was sooooo goooood!

obachan said...

Good luck. Let me know how it went. :)

Oh, you liked it? So happy to hear that someone liked this recipe. A cook at the izakaya gave ma an advice for this recipe, so he would be happy, too.

Anonymous said...

Hello from Finland Obachan!I am so happy to find your blog - I am a great fan of japanese food and culture and I have to thank you for your blog already now. Just had time to view last notes, have to view your archive also!Thanks and all the best!

Vivilicious said...

Hi Obachan, I love kakiage (well most fried things really) and I am inspired. I will try this dish soon!

obachan said...

anonymous commenter
Hello! So glad to hear from Finland. It must be really cold over there?
Come visit often! :D

Hi, another kakiage fan! :D I think this is a nice dish to show your creativity by trying different combinations of ingredients. Let me know when you come up with a great invention ;)

Anonymous said...

Hello! Yes, it is very cold in Finland now, at the moment -26 degrees centigrade....!But the sun is shining and snow is glittering beautifully. I used to visit Japan 2-3 times a year, but nowadays I am at home taking care of my kids. During my visits I had some wonderful meals in all kinds of places, but one of the most memorable one was in Kyoto, when I enjoyed okonomiyaki in a very small restaurant with some students. Simple, but very tasty food!!My friends were surprised that I liked it, because it was not served in "a fine" restaurant. It was one of the moments I remember well!Best reagards!

Anonymous said...

Oh yum, Obachan!! That looks so good!! Thanks for the recipe and tips; I've got to try it soon with some miso soup!

obachan said...

Anonymous commenter
OMG, -26 C!! Unbelievable! :O
I had lived in Kansai for about 20 years and went to Kyoto many times, but somehow, never tried okonomiyaki there. You were lucky that you came across such a yummy okonomiyaki. Thanks for sharing the memory of your stay in Japan.

Oh I feel so rewarded. I worked on this recipe to contribute to a cookbook, but looks like it’s not going to work out. But, at least some of my dear readers said that they would give this a try, so this was not a total waste.
Hope you like it. :)

gastrogeek said...

oishiso! I can't wait to make this, it looks delicious.

Anonymous said...


Love yr post! very informative!
Where to get dashi? is there a particular brand to choose from?


HappySurfer said...

Hello Obachan, I was searching the web to know more about kakiage-don and found your site.

What a great post you have here. I am sure there are lots more gems here and you can be sure I will be back for more.

This recipe would do great for a cookbook if you are still compiling.