Fry me to the moon.

Americans will batter and fry anything, even counter-intuitive notions such as ice cream and beer (it’s true, Google it). Ours it not the only culture, however, to crave the crunch. Though the Colonel might have been the first to commercialize a crust-laden comestibles (in “original” or “extra crispy” varieties no less), tempura, courtesy of Japan, is marked improvement on the notion.

Made with either seafood or vegetables, tempura has long been a staple in bento boxes. Of note is the preparation of the batter, which is only lightly whisked (often with chopsticks) to prevent the wheat gluten from activating and becoming “doughy” prior to frying. Moreover, tempura should not be confused with panko (preparations using breadcrumbs), which are usually used in “furai,” a Japanese-invented, western-style of deep-frying.

Tempura’s deep, dark secret is that it’s actually an import from Portugal in the 16th century (England also got the memo – hence, ye olde fish and chips).

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