Kakiage recipe

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Kakiage is a delicious home-style tempura fritter made from a mixture of vegetables, fish and seafood.

  • Yield: 6 Servings

Ingredients

For the Sweetcorn and Fishcake (Japanese Kamaboko) or Crab Stick Fritter
  • 7 oz/1¼ cups (200 g) sweetcorn kernels, preferably fresh, or use frozen and lastly canned
  • 3½ oz (100 g) Japanese fishcake, known as kamaboko, or good-quality crab/seafood sticks, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp instant dashi powder
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) or tempura batter mix
For the watercress, prawn (shrimp) and squid fritter
  • 3½ oz (100 g) squid, cut into thin strips
  • 3½ oz/3 cups (100 g) watercress, roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • 6 fine green beans, cut into 3 cm (1¼ inch) pieces
  • 6 medium-sized prawns (shrimp), deveined and cut in half lengthways
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) or tempura batter mix
For the Burdock and Carrot Fritter
  • 7 oz (200 g) burdock root, peeled and julienned (can use celeriac or parsnips instead)
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced lengthways
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) or tempura batter mix
How to Make It
  1. Make the Ten Tsuyu Dipping Sauce first.
  2. Prepare all the vegetables and seafood for the fritters, dry them and place in individual containers.
  3. If you are making all 3 types of fritter, add all the ingredients (except the cornflour/cornstarch or tempura batter mix) for each type of fritter to 3 separate bowls. Lastly, add the cornflour (cornstarch) or tempura batter mix and mix well to coat all the ingredients.
  4. In a medium-sized pan, heat about 4 cm (1½ inches) deep of sunflower oil to 160°C (320°F) for deep-frying. While the oil is heating up, prepare the tempura batter or, if using tempura batter mix, very lightly mix it with the chilled water until a lumpy batter is achieved. Do not overmix, the batter is meant to be lumpy.
  5. Add most of the lumpy tempura batter to the bowl with the sweetcorn and fishcake or crab stick mixture and mix it thoroughly until the vegetables and seafood are all partially wet and a rough batter is formed. The consistency should not be completely wet, it should be lumpy, with visible pockets of dry flour but paste-like enough to stick the vegetables and seafood together. Add more tempura batter, water or flour if necessary.
  6. Take a heaped soup spoon of the mixture and, using a second soup spoon, gently press the mixture down to mould it into a nicely rounded shape. This process will shape the fritter and stop it from coming apart as it hits the oil. Very gently slide the mixture off the spoon into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan, but fry 4-6 fritters at any one time until all the batter is used up. Fry the fritters for 2-3 minutes, turning them over halfway through, until crisp and golden.
  7. Make another batch of tempura batter; the batter should be made just as you are ready to start frying. For the watercress, prawn (shrimp) and squid fritter, prepare the mixture as instructed above. Then make the round shape of the mixture using soup spoons and carefully slide into the hot oil. Fry for 1 minute, then turn it over and fry for another minute or so. If you would like to make larger and beautifully rounded fritters, you can use a noodle strainer. To form each one, add about 4 tablespoons or roughly one-sixth of the mixture to the strainer basket, press gently, then lower the basket into the oil. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
  8. Make a third batch of tempura batter and repeat this process for the burdock and carrot fritters.
  9. If you would like to serve the fritters very hot, you can quickly re-fry them for 30 seconds or so just to heat them through; they will turn crispier. Serve the fritters with the dipping sauce with grated daikon (white radish) if using or with a generous sprinkle of wasabi, matcha or sakura salt or Maldon sea salt flakes.
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