Because I love tempura-fried foods, Tendon is the donburi of my choice. The original technique of frying breaded foods came from Portuguese traders but as is customary in Japanese tradition, they made a few adaptations for a lighter result.
Tempura should never be heavy or greasy. Unfortunately, many eateries turn out heavily battered fried food and call it tempura. True tempura should be light with a lacy aura of crispiness. There is an art to frying lacy, light tempura.
Many cooks experiment with batters, attempting to lighten them with creative leavening agents. One recipe calls for the use of soda water, hoping the carbonation will lend some lightness. Others use Bisquick baking mix or self-rising flour because of the baking soda and baking powder in them. Iíve tried many of them and must tell you that leavening is not the secret to the lacy texture of great tempura. The rising agents tend only to give rise to the batter which results in a soft, puffy tempura.
Some people like to increase the crunch of tempura by dipping it into the batter and then coating it with panko bread crumbs. I love panko. But traditional tempura does not need it, if it is made correctly. In fact, the Japanese do not consider fried foods coated in panko as tempura but rather furai/fried foods. For this recipe, you will need fried shrimp tempura and you need to visit BellaOnline.com Japanese food site Lacy Shrimp Tempura Recipe for the recipe and technique.
Tendon is a rather misleading dish. It is simply a donburi bowl filled with hot white rice and topped tempura and tentsuyu sauce. But the sauce is delicious on rice. I love this one-bowl dinner. You can add vegetables to it, but if I feel it needs some greens, I scatter on some sliced scallions or tempura-fry some green beans (my favorite!)
Japanese Shrimp Tendon Recipe
steamed white rice
6 fried shrimp tempura (three for each bowl)
1-1/2 cup dashi
ľ cup. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. mirin
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 green onion, sliced thinly
grated daikon radish
In a small pot, heat the dashi, soy sauce, mirin and sugar over low heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. In each donburi bowl, place a serving of hot white rice and top with the fried tempura shrimp and vegetables. Pour about Ĺ cup of sauce over each dish.
Three shrimp tempura might seem like an overly generous number, but I like more than one and Japanese like to serve items in odd numbers. It is a superstition. Three is better than two.