Asian culture, particularly Japanese, have been influencing me for over the years.
Ikebana, origami, the tea ceremony, sushi are synonymous of Japanese cultural aspects that seduce many of us.
Vegan sushi, for example, is now part of my diet and there are a few Japanese restaurants that offer various dishes that may satisfy our vegan delights: the typical miso-dashi soup (based on miso, tofu and chives), the raw tofu with seaweed, the fried tofu, rice and vegetables cooked in so many different ways.
The idea of today's dish – vegetable, tofu and roots tempura- is based precisely on Japanese food culture and the Portuguese influences that were taken to Japan in the sixteenth century.
Tempura is a plate that can have several ingredients involved in a batter and fried in vegetable oil.
As I wanted to have an energetic meal, I used two strong roots that I bought in Martim Moniz: burdock root, one of the most positive roots, about which I have already written Burdock salad and lotus root, which has medicinal properties, acting as a tonic for the lungs and heart.
Lotus root is very decongestant, excellent against diseases associated to breath and allergies.
As it grows in ponds, lotus root does not have chemical fertilizers for cultivation, and this enhances the quality of the product.
When cut, it presents a geometric pattern in the form of holes and a crispy texture. It has a slightly sweet flavor and can be cooked in several ways: fried, braised, stuffed, in salads and in teas, for the relief of cough and phlegm.
To go with the tempura, I cooked tomato rice and I also served some raw turnip to cut the effects of the vegetable oil used for frying.
Hope you enjoy!
For the tempura:
12 slices of burdock cut diagonally
6 slices of lotus root
12 carrot slices cut diagonally
4 slices of tofu, cut into 6 squares each
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup fresh water
1 bunch of coriander
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 pinch of pepper
Vegetable oil of good quality
For the rice:
4 hands of rice
4 medium tomatoes
1 medium sized onion
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
1 turnip of good quality
Start by marinating the slices of tofu:
cut the tofu into squares, place in a container with water to cover, add the lemon juice, the grated ginger and shoyu. Let it stand for 20 minutes while preparing the vegetables.
Wash the burdock, remove the peel, cut and steam until it is al-dente.
Wash the lotus root, remove the peel and cut into slices. Steamed until it is al-dente.
Wash the carrots, cut into diagonal shape and steam until it is al-dente.
Prepare the rice:
Chop the onion, place in a pan and cook until brown.
Wash the tomatoes, remove the skin and seeds, cut into squares and add to the onion. Mix well and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat.
Add water to double the amount of rice. Cover the pan and bring to the boil.
After boiling, add the rice (washed) and season it with salt. Cook until tender.
Meanwhile prepare the batter:
Place ingredients in a blender and blend until you get a creamy paste.
Place the tempura vegetables in the batter and combine well.
Heat the oil and when hot, place the roots, tofu and carrots involved in the batter.
Fry for 30 seconds over medium heat and then add 1 more tbsp of batter over each ingredient. Fry on one side and on the other and then place on paper towels.
Serve tempura with the rice and the grated radish.
© veggie delicious food, June 2013