This was my first time attending Lauren's annual Toyota family picnic and I was really eager to try my hand at some tasty traditional japanese cuisine. Lauren made most of the vegan japanese feast with gomae, vegan yakisoba, and cold tofu. But I know that fried food is always a crowd pleaser so I decided to tackle what I already know... yam tempura. It's easier to make than you think!
3 yams, cubed
3 C brown rice flour
1 1/2 C chilled soda water
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 C frying oil (sunflower or grapeseed)
Note: make sure your soda water has been in the fridge or freezer prior to preparing this recipe. It needs to be really cold before frying.
Cube the yam first and set aside. Pre-heat your oil in a small pot to medium heat (approx. 365F)
In a large mixing bowl combine rice flour, paprika, chilli powder, salt and pepper. The most important part is that the soda water must be cold before incorporating it into the batter. The colder the batter the lighter and crispier the texture. Add the cold soda water to the rice flour mixture and fold with a spoon a few times. Do not over mix the batter as it will cause the soda water to flatten.
Lay out some paper towel on a plate near your frying station before hand. Submerge a few pieces of the sweet potato into the batter and lift it out with a fork to allow the excess batter to drip off before frying it in the oil.
Cook the pieces of battered yam for approx. 4 minutes in the oil before removing and placing on the paper towel to cool. The small pot will save you from using too much oil but only allows for 6-8 pieces to cook at a time. I recommend keeping the batter in the fridge between batches. Tougher root vegetables tend to take a bit longer to cook so if you're using the batter on something like asparagus or onions only cook for 3 minutes.