What do you-a say-a to a-someone who is-a angry-a? Tempura, tempura!
OK, ok. Sorry about that. I’ll try for a better introduction next post.
In our continuing search for food that pairs well with Sauternes or sweet white Bordeaux wines, my husband and I came up with this recipe for Spicy Crab Tempura. From previous experience with Alsace whites, we figured a sweeter white would go well with spicy food. We had some amazing King Crab leg in the freezer and knew that the innate low-key sweetness of the crab would balance out the high-key sweetness of a sweet white Bordeaux or a Sauternes. The big chunks of succulent crab would be overpowered by many a sauce but could stand up to some heat. How about a light batter to add some crunch? Tempura, that’s it. With some spice in the batter, and a lightly-flavoured dipping sauce.
We agreed on a rice-flour tempura batter with ground red chilli. But what dipping sauce would enhance both the crab and the Sauternes? Should it be mayonnaise-based or a lighter yoghurt-based sauce? We couldn’t quite decide so we made one of both: a curry mayonnaise and Greek yoghurt mixed with fresh red chilli, ginger, a dash of lime juice and fresh coriander/cilantro.
The results were brilliant. The spice in the batter offset the sweetness of the wine. The crunch of the batter offset the soft texture of the crab. The spice, the crab and the Sauternes reacted just as we had predicted, as a beautiful match. We loved the spicy tempura crab with the chilli yoghurt sauce but didn’t think the sauce did anything for the Sauternes. The curry mayonnaise was delightful with the tempura crab and surprisingly enough the fat in the mayonnaise did not clash with the syrupy sweetness of the Sauternes. All in all, it was really rather more-ish!
Madame Thermomix’s Spicy Crab Tempura
Recipe adapted from a tempura batter recipe in Japan: Part of the World Cook Book Collection, published by The Times
250 g white rice, or 250 g rice flour
up to 1 tsp ground red chillies or cayenne pepper
340-350 g sparkling water
500 g king crab meat, shelled, or 500 g mixed vegetables such as carrots, courgettes/zucchini, cauliflower
good pinch of salt and pepper
2 tbsp wheat flour (use some of the rice flour if you are wheat intolerant)
oil for frying
- Make the rice flour: Weigh rice into Thermomix bowl. Place a piece of kitchen roll/paper towel between the lid and the measuring cup and Grind 5 minutes/Speed 10.
- Prepare the vegetables by cutting them into strips. Place the crab pieces/ vegetable strips in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of wheat flour (or rice flour) and coat them in it. This absorbs any liquid and helps the batter stick.
- Add the ground red chillies to the rice flour in the Thermomix bowl. Weigh in the sparkling water and blend 30 seconds/Speed 6. Check the consistency and add more water if required. The batter should be like thick cream.
- Heat about one inch/2 cm of oil in a very small pan (you’ll not waste so much oil) or in a deep fat fryer. Oil is hot enough when a drop of batter sizzles and turns golden brown. Pour batter over crab/vegetables and stir to coat evenly. Fry in small batches until just golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper.
Serve on heated plates with sauce or sauces of your choice.
Bon appétit !
I am honoured and delighted to say that this recipe now appears in In the Mix: Great Thermomix Recipes by Dani Valent (Slattery Media Group, 2011), available through Thermomix Australia and UK Thermomix.