Tempura prawns, carrots and zucchini

The fine art of frying – tempura style

Tempura prawns, carrots and zucchini

Tempura prawns, carrots and zucchini

A conversation with the person who cuts my hair started off with “what did you do this weekend?” then turned into “what I cooked” before taking a detour and stopping at the topic of frying (like it) and donuts (love them!)  The discussion sparked a thought about contraptions and gadgets for frying and before I knew it I had a vintage Fry Daddy on the way via a bidding frenzy on the web. 

As I waited for my package to arrive, I pondered what I should make first.  Donuts at the office?  Hmmm.. not sure that the lack of open windows and third floor location would create the optimal “fry zone”.  Potatoes?  Maybe, but seemed like a mundane task for such a regal, vintage appliance.  I finally settled on tempura because the combination of meat and vegetables seemed like a good compromise with the “deep fry” part of the equation.

Although usually associated with Japanese cuisine/restaurants (sorry to state the obvious) the concept of tempura or frying was actually introduced to Japan during the mid 1600’s by Portugese missionaries.  The word tempura is thought to have been derived from Latin meaning “times” or “time period” which refers to the Lenten period.  There is actually a Portugese dish called peixinhos da horta (garden fish) which is similar to Japanese tempura and can be found on various menus and sites associated with travels to or food from Portugal. 

While munching on my test batch and waiting for the oil to cool in my new “old” fryer my thoughts returned to donuts covered in cinnamon and sugar.   Another day would bring donuts but for now, some exercise to counter the effects of all the frying.  With that I put away the Fry Daddy, laced up my sneakers and headed out the door for a hike.

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