Chanterelle tempura soba

Chanterelle Mushroom Tempura Soba

It’s unlike me to visit a grocery store looking for a specific ingredient. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like using recipes. This means I usually just go and peruse the produce, meat and seafood sections to see what looks good. After finding something that leaps out at me, I’ll round out the basket with other things that will go with whatever it was that got me all excited.

Today however, I went to Wholefoods after work in search of Chanterelle Mushrooms. You see, the fine folks at Marx Foods are having another cooking competition. The secret ingredient? You guessed, it, Chanterelle Mushrooms.

Chanterelle Mushrooms

I don’t actually think I’ll win this time, since my burger recipe landed me 10lbs of Kobe beef last time, but I always enjoy the challenge of coming up with something novel and delicious.

When thinking about what to do with the Chanterelles I ran through the usual gamut of cream sauces, pastas, sautes, and soups one thinks about when you think “Chanterelle”. But since none of these seemed particularly inspired and Chanterelles are mostly about texture, with a very subtle flavour, I didn’t want to do something that would overpower either.

Most tempura you get here is like beer battered fish and chips. Not that there’s anything wrong with beer battered fish (or beer battered anything for that matter), but it’s just not tempura. Tempura should be fresh seafood or vegetables with a thin coating of batter, not the other way around. The hot oil enriches and concentrates the natural flavours of whatever you’re frying while the delicate batter encases it in a crisp jacket that’s neither greasy nor heavy.

The fried mushrooms are fantastic sprinkled with a bit of smoked sea salt, but I took it one step further and used them to top a steaming bowl of soba noodles. The tempura adds depth to the broth and while it will loose some of its crispness, the batter soaks up the dashi giving it an effect not unlike the slice of baguette on top of French onion soup.

For Tempura
1/4 lbs Chanterelle Mushrooms
1/2 small sweet onion sliced and broken into pieces
1 handful of green beans cut into 2″ lengths
1 large egg yolk
1 C ice cold water (+ a few extra TBS incase the batter is too thick)
3/4 C + 2 Tbs sifted flour put in freezer
1/2 tsp kosher salt

oil for deep frying
Smoked salt to sprinkle

For Soup
3 cups dashi
2 Tbs mirin
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sea salt (or more to taste)

1 green onion sliced thinly on the bias
a few pieces of yuzu rind

8 oz soba noodles boiled according to package directions

The trick here is to make the broth first, then have the noodles and tempura done at exactly the same time. If the tempura sits for more than a minute after coming out of the oil, it will get soggy, if the noodles sit for more than a minute after coming out of the pot they will get soft and clump together.

First make the soup by putting the dashi, mirin, soy sauce and salt in a saucepan and bringing to a boil. Keep it warm over low heat.

Prep the Chanterelles by cleaning them thoroughly. A professional chef would shoot me if they heard me telling you to wash them, but I find these particular mushrooms to be very sandy, and there’s no better way to ruin a dish than biting into a clump of grit. I usually give them a good rinse making sure to clean out the gills then let them dry on paper towels for about an hour.

Boil some water for the noodles. Get a wire rack ready for the tempura by covering it with a layer of paper towels. Make sure you have some ice cold water on hand and that the bowl your going to mix the batter in along with the flour is nice and cold (I put them in the freezer for 10 minutes).

In a cast iron or other heavy bottomed pan, add about 1″ of oil. Heat the oil until it reaches 340 degrees then quickly make the batter. For the batter, you want to whisk the egg yolk into 1 cup of ice cold water then dump it all into the cold flour then gently stir. The key here is that everything is very cold and that you don’t stir it too much (having lumps is fine). The batter should be like thin pancake batter, if it’s too thick, add a few more tablespoons of ice water.

Using chopsticks (or a fork if you must), quickly dip each mushroom in the batter shaking off the excess (remember you want a thin coat) and carefully drop into the hot oil. If the mushrooms are small, cluster a few mushrooms side-by-side in the oil so they stick together. They should be crisp and float when they are done. For the other veggies I usually throw in a few green beans along with the onions to make a thin round lattice. Sprinkle the finished tempura with sea salt.

To serve the soba, just put the noodles in 2 bowls, top with green onions, pour the soup over the noodles, then top with the tempura and yuzu rind.

  • http://azcookbook.com/ farida

    You must be super creative if you don’t use recipes at all! I like to add my own twist to recipes and tend not to worry when I miss an ingredient or two – there is always a good substitution for anything, isn’t there? Interesting food you’ve whipped up. Looks very good!

  • http://azcookbook.com farida

    You must be super creative if you don’t use recipes at all! I like to add my own twist to recipes and tend not to worry when I miss an ingredient or two – there is always a good substitution for anything, isn’t there? Interesting food you’ve whipped up. Looks very good!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Oh, I totally agree regarding the weirdness of overbattered tempura. Not elegant at all. It’s been an age since I’ve had good tempura soba– good broth escapes me :) But your bowl does look very good, and worthy of a win!

    By the way, I am always very specific when I go to groceries– your exact opposite, ha ha!

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    Oh, I totally agree regarding the weirdness of overbattered tempura. Not elegant at all. It’s been an age since I’ve had good tempura soba– good broth escapes me :) But your bowl does look very good, and worthy of a win!

    By the way, I am always very specific when I go to groceries– your exact opposite, ha ha!

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com/ Heather

    I broke down and bought some chanterelles today, because they didn’t have maitake where I was shopping. In a few weeks, I’ll have them coming out of my a$$ (I have a few spots), so it felt weird to pay for them.

    I just won a pizza contest with my chanterelle recipe! Funny how that works.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com Heather

    I broke down and bought some chanterelles today, because they didn’t have maitake where I was shopping. In a few weeks, I’ll have them coming out of my a$$ (I have a few spots), so it felt weird to pay for them.

    I just won a pizza contest with my chanterelle recipe! Funny how that works.

  • http://mamastaverna.com/ Lulu Barbarian

    As usual Marc, you excel at creative and delicious.

    As far as washing mushrooms goes, Cooks Illustrated did a test where they weighed mushrooms before and after washing them. It turns out that mushrooms do not absorb water as has always been supposed. I hate even traces of grit with a passion, so I’ve always washed them, but it was nice to get “permission.” :-)

  • http://mamastaverna.com/ Lulu Barbarian

    As usual Marc, you excel at creative and delicious.

    As far as washing mushrooms goes, Cooks Illustrated did a test where they weighed mushrooms before and after washing them. It turns out that mushrooms do not absorb water as has always been supposed. I hate even traces of grit with a passion, so I’ve always washed them, but it was nice to get “permission.” :-)

  • http://www.kyotofoodie.com/ Peko Peko

    Chanterelle tempura soba?!?! OMG!! (sorry) Marc, you RULE!!

    I WANT to EAT!! Chanterelles is a rarity in Japan.

    AND 10lbs of Kobe beef??? 10lbs?? I don’t think that I have eaten 10lbs of Kobe Beef in 10 years!

    Thank you for letting me post my comment on your blog! You are a BIG man, I am just a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

    Some tempura should be over-battered.

  • http://www.kyotofoodie.com Peko Peko

    Chanterelle tempura soba?!?! OMG!! (sorry) Marc, you RULE!!

    I WANT to EAT!! Chanterelles is a rarity in Japan.

    AND 10lbs of Kobe beef??? 10lbs?? I don’t think that I have eaten 10lbs of Kobe Beef in 10 years!

    Thank you for letting me post my comment on your blog! You are a BIG man, I am just a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

    Some tempura should be over-battered.

  • http://www.whiskblog.com/ Shari

    It’s been awhile since I’ve had tempura, but I’m inspired now!

  • http://www.whiskblog.com/ Shari

    It’s been awhile since I’ve had tempura, but I’m inspired now!

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    This looks great. I LOVE tempura…when it’s done well :) And yeah, stray grit freaks me out.

  • http://www.hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com Laura @ Hungry and Frozen

    This looks great. I LOVE tempura…when it’s done well :) And yeah, stray grit freaks me out.

  • http://www.redcook.net Kian

    What a creative way to use Chanterelle! I am also regularly aggravated by heavy dense coating that is passed as a tempura batter. Personally, I would use egg white, and slightly beaten at that. This result in the most airy and light batter.

    I would also suggest that to keep the noodles from getting too soggy they can be pre-cooked then immediately cooled in an ice bath. Then you can simply just reheat the noodles in the broth before serving.

  • http://www.redcook.net Kian

    What a creative way to use Chanterelle! I am also regularly aggravated by heavy dense coating that is passed as a tempura batter. Personally, I would use egg white, and slightly beaten at that. This result in the most airy and light batter.

    I would also suggest that to keep the noodles from getting too soggy they can be pre-cooked then immediately cooled in an ice bath. Then you can simply just reheat the noodles in the broth before serving.

  • http://www.sugarbar.org/ diva

    marc, you really do take some amazing food photos! and this looks really great..anyway i have a question. i remember reading somewhere once, (for the life of me i just don’t recall it), that soba noodles shouldn’t be put in cold water or run under cold water after its cooked. would that be me dreaming tht i read that somewhere, completely making that up or is there some truth in tht? x

  • http://www.sugarbar.org diva

    marc, you really do take some amazing food photos! and this looks really great..anyway i have a question. i remember reading somewhere once, (for the life of me i just don’t recall it), that soba noodles shouldn’t be put in cold water or run under cold water after its cooked. would that be me dreaming tht i read that somewhere, completely making that up or is there some truth in tht? x

  • Marc

    Thanks Farida, I think this all started out of pure laziness in that I hated having to go to the grocer to pick things up. That said I still generally use some base recipe when baking something (which is why you don’t see many baked goods on here).

    Manggy, for good broth, you need good dashi (using the powdered stuff doesn’t cut it). If you can find Konbu (kelp), small dried anchovies, and or bonito shavings, where you live, you can make good dashi. See my post on dashi for more info.

    Heather, Mmmm chanterelle pizza sounds amazing!

    Lulu, thanks:-) That’s great to know that I’m not totally smoking crack here, although I imagine there are some mushrooms (like oyster mushrooms, which I have to wring out after washing) that you’re still not supposed to wash cause they soak up water like a sponge.

    Peko Peko, thanks! Honestly, using Kobe beef for hamburger is a bit of a waste IMHO, but it was good none-the-less. Also on the over battering, I agree, Kakiage wouldn’t be kakiage without a generous layer of crunchy batter.

    Shari, it’s not hard, just have to know the tricks:-)

    Thanks Laura!

    Kian, thanks. Using beaten eggwhite sounds interesting though I’d imagine it would create a thicker (though light) layer of batter?

    Thanks for brining up the water bath. With hot noodles, I cook them a minute less than the directions day and then time the noodles to everything else, so I don’t have to get them cold.

    Diva, thanks:-) I’ve never heard that before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. If you’re not serving them right away, or if you’re serving them cold, it’s usually a good idea to plunge them into cold water to stop the cooking, though I’d be curious to hear the logic of not doing so. I know japanese people consider the cooking water (soba yu) to have flavour and nutritional value, so maybe it’s got something to do with that? Soba Yu is usually added to the dipping sauce for cold soba after you’re done eating the soba and then it’s drunk(drank?) like soup.

  • Marc

    Thanks Farida, I think this all started out of pure laziness in that I hated having to go to the grocer to pick things up. That said I still generally use some base recipe when baking something (which is why you don’t see many baked goods on here).

    Manggy, for good broth, you need good dashi (using the powdered stuff doesn’t cut it). If you can find Konbu (kelp), small dried anchovies, and or bonito shavings, where you live, you can make good dashi. See my post on dashi for more info.

    Heather, Mmmm chanterelle pizza sounds amazing!

    Lulu, thanks:-) That’s great to know that I’m not totally smoking crack here, although I imagine there are some mushrooms (like oyster mushrooms, which I have to wring out after washing) that you’re still not supposed to wash cause they soak up water like a sponge.

    Peko Peko, thanks! Honestly, using Kobe beef for hamburger is a bit of a waste IMHO, but it was good none-the-less. Also on the over battering, I agree, Kakiage wouldn’t be kakiage without a generous layer of crunchy batter.

    Shari, it’s not hard, just have to know the tricks:-)

    Thanks Laura!

    Kian, thanks. Using beaten eggwhite sounds interesting though I’d imagine it would create a thicker (though light) layer of batter?

    Thanks for brining up the water bath. With hot noodles, I cook them a minute less than the directions day and then time the noodles to everything else, so I don’t have to get them cold.

    Diva, thanks:-) I’ve never heard that before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. If you’re not serving them right away, or if you’re serving them cold, it’s usually a good idea to plunge them into cold water to stop the cooking, though I’d be curious to hear the logic of not doing so. I know japanese people consider the cooking water (soba yu) to have flavour and nutritional value, so maybe it’s got something to do with that? Soba Yu is usually added to the dipping sauce for cold soba after you’re done eating the soba and then it’s drunk(drank?) like soup.

  • http://mamastaverna.com/ Lulu Barbarian

    Good point about the mushroom types, Marc. I don’t remember what kind of mushrooms the Cook’s people used. Probably buttons.

  • http://mamastaverna.com/ Lulu Barbarian

    Good point about the mushroom types, Marc. I don’t remember what kind of mushrooms the Cook’s people used. Probably buttons.

  • http://www.cannelle-vanille.blogspot.com/ Aran

    it looks absolutely wonderful!

  • http://www.cannelle-vanille.blogspot.com Aran

    it looks absolutely wonderful!

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com/ [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    Chanterelle tempura sounds phenomenal! It makes me want to get the beautiful chanterelles I see — beautiful but expensive.

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    Chanterelle tempura sounds phenomenal! It makes me want to get the beautiful chanterelles I see — beautiful but expensive.

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com/ claudia (cook eat FRET)

    wonderful!
    i never make things like this
    i need to
    neeeeeeeeeeeeeeed to…

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com claudia (cook eat FRET)

    wonderful!
    i never make things like this
    i need to
    neeeeeeeeeeeeeeed to…

  • http://www.soyandpepper.com/ Nilmandra

    That’s a great description of tempura udon, comparing it with baguette on top of French onion soup. A wonderful entry for the competition too!

  • http://www.soyandpepper.com/ Nilmandra

    That’s a great description of tempura udon, comparing it with baguette on top of French onion soup. A wonderful entry for the competition too!

  • barbara

    Made the tempura to use an excess of chanterelles and as a surprise for my (Japanese) husband. So easy and turned out great! He was a very happy man. Will try with soba another time — Sounds delicious. Thanks!

  • barbara

    Made the tempura to use an excess of chanterelles and as a surprise for my (Japanese) husband. So easy and turned out great! He was a very happy man. Will try with soba another time — Sounds delicious. Thanks!

  • Peter

    This looks so delicious. I love tempura. Eh, I love any kind of Japanese foods. I could eat it every day.

    I came across this site after a Google search for ‘Curry Chips.’ This led me to this recipe. I’ve looked at the About section of this web-site and it does not say where you are from Marc. The only reason I’m wondering is because in the two recipes I have looked at you disparage that ‘here (in the states)’ you cannot get decent Fish and Chips or Tempura that is not beer battered-esque. I live in Massachusetts and get get both foods of excellent quality. So, come up here and try some ; )

  • Peter

    This looks so delicious. I love tempura. Eh, I love any kind of Japanese foods. I could eat it every day.

    I came across this site after a Google search for ‘Curry Chips.’ This led me to this recipe. I’ve looked at the About section of this web-site and it does not say where you are from Marc. The only reason I’m wondering is because in the two recipes I have looked at you disparage that ‘here (in the states)’ you cannot get decent Fish and Chips or Tempura that is not beer battered-esque. I live in Massachusetts and get get both foods of excellent quality. So, come up here and try some ; )

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I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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