Tempura

Tofu Temupra, Sour Cucumber Puree, Seaweed Ash

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Tofu Tempura, Sour Cucumber Puree and Seaweed Ash

This dish is taken from my next book which should come out this spring or early summer. Its built from a mix of traditional and innovative new ideas.

The Tofu is marinated in a simple, traditional, japanese dashi before being cooked as a tempura. To create an incredibly light crisp batter some of the water in the batter is substituted with vodka (which evaporates out much more quickly during cooking), the batter also includes methylcellulose F50, which forms an oil impermeable film in the batter (so the tofu steams inside the tempura and doesn’t absorb any oil or become greasy), finally the whole batter is carbonated in a cream whipper to create an incredibly light airy batter which turns out crisp and glassy once cooked.

The sour cucumber fluid gel is fresh and sharp with very clean flavours, it acts as the sweet and sour element in the dish, provides vibrancy and mimics the use of cucumber in fish dishes (here the flavour of the sea comes from the use of seaweeds).

Finally the whole dish is finished and seasoned with a Seaweed Ash, this is something I haven’t seen anyone else do before and I was really pleased with as a finishing touch for the dish. Incinerating the dried dulse seaweed to ash keeps its delicate flavour of the sea and slight saltiness whilst giving you a beautiful, unique new product to season the whole dish and provide the final flavour of the sea.



Sour Cucumber Puree
600g Cucumber Juice
120g Caster Sugar
8g Citric Acid
8g Ascorbic Acid
7g Agar Agar

Juice the cucumbers to obtain 600g fresh cucumber juice.
Immediately mix the ascorbic and citric acid into the cucumber juice, followed by the sugar.

Separate out 300g of the cucumber juice into a pan, whisk in the agar and gently heat to a simmer whilst stirring. Hold the mixture at a simmer for three minutes then remove from the heat.

Now off the heat slowly pour the cold cucumber juice which was set to one side into the hot juice in the pan. Stir and then pour out into plastic containers to set in the fridge.

Once the gel has set use a stick blender to blend it to a smooth puree.

Reserve in a squeeze bottle

Marinated Tofu
240g Plain Tofu
1 Stick / 12g Kombu
50g Dried Shittake
500 ml boiling water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
80g Tamari
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

Combine the kombu, shitake, thyme, tamari and vinegar in a bowl. Pour over the boiling water and leave to infuse for 2 hours.

Strain the dash and cut the tofu into 3cm cubes. Marinade the tofu cubes in the dashi at least 24 hours before cooking.

The Tempura Batter

100ml Methylcellulose Slurry (Made by blending 3g methylcellulose in 200ml boiling water then stirring until it cools and thickens - store excess in the fridge)
85ml Vodka
125g Plain Flour
2 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice
Pinch Dried Chilli
A good pinch of salt

Mix all the liquids together and stir well.
Combine the flour with the spice and salt in a bowl.
Now whisk the liquid into the flour until smooth.

Strain the batter to remove any lumps.
Pour into a cream whipper and charge with two co2 chargers.

Chill if the fridge. Ideally for arround two hours

Heat deep frying oil to 190C.

Place pieces of tofu first into flour and coat. Shake off excess flour.
Spray some batter out of the whipper into a bowl.
Dip the tofu into the batter then drop in the fryer, cook 2-3 mins until crispy.
Drain off excess oil on paper towel.

Seaweed Ash

Burn Dulse seaweed with a blow torch in a bowl until it no longer flames but just glows read.

Allow to cool, carefully place the ash in a spice grinder and powder, store in an airtight container

Plating up -

Dot cucumber purée arround the plate,
Place a few of the tofu tempura arround the plate.
Finish by sprinkling over the seaweed ash