Vegetable and Shrimp Tempura
For the dipping sauce:
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup plus 1 heaping Tbs. bonito flakes
- 3 Tbs. dark soy sauce
- 3 Tbs. mirin (Chinese rice wine)
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 oz. green beans, trimmed
- 1 zucchini
- 5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, about 1 1⁄2 inches
in diameter, stems removed
- Canola or peanut oil for deep-frying
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 cup rice flour
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups ice water
- 8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Cut the carrot into pieces 5 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Using as much of the sweet potato as needed to yield 1/2 cup, cut into slices 1/8 inch thick and then cut each slice in half to form half-moons. Cut the onion into slices 1/2 inch thick. Cut the green beans into 5-inch lengths. Cut the zucchini into pieces 5 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Cut the mushroom caps in half.
Preheat an oven to 250°F. In a wok or deep saucepan, pour in oil to a depth of 5 inches and heat to 370°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Line a baking sheet with a double thickness of paper towels.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, sift together the cake and rice flours, salt and baking soda. In a small bowl, using a fork, beat together the egg yolks and ice water. Stir the egg-water mixture into the flour mixture just until the batter comes together.
Working in small batches, dip the vegetables into the batter, allowing any excess to drip off, and then slip them into the hot oil. Deep-fry until light golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a wire skimmer, transfer the vegetables to the prepared baking sheet to drain. Transfer to an ovenproof platter and place in the oven. Between batches, use the skimmer to remove any bits of batter from the oil.
Before dipping the shrimp in the batter, make several slashes in the underside (concave side) of each shrimp to prevent curling while frying. Reheat the oil to 370°F and, working in batches, dip the shrimp into the batter, allowing any excess to drip off, and then slip them into the hot oil. Deep-fry until light golden brown, 30 to 60 seconds. Using the skimmer, transfer the shrimp to the platter with the vegetables. Serve the tempura with the dipping sauce.