Kakiagé

Marc Matsumoto

Hi! I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques while giving you the confidence and inspiration to cook without recipes too!

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Crispy and delicious, Kakiage are Japanese fritters made with vegetables such as onions and carrots held together with a small amount of tempura batter.

A gossamer structure of vegetables held together with a nearly invisible layer of crisp tempura batter, Kakiagé (かき揚げ) is quite possibly my favorite kind of tempura. With a taste as delicate as its texture, all it needs is a sprinkle of umami rich finishing salt such as mojio or fleur de sel to season it. To the uninitiated a good Kakiagé can be a true revelation on how simple ingredients can be transformed into something magnificent.

Although it may seem like a jumble of vegetables, each component contributes something unique to this Japanese fritter. The onions lend a marvelous sweetness and complexity, characteristic of caramelized onions. The carrots deliver color and an earthy sweetness. The burdock ponies up a mineral flavor along with a delightfully crunchy texture, and finally the mitsuba adds a splash of green along with a fresh herbal note that completes the crispy cluster.

Japanese kakiage fritters are a type of tempura made with vegetables such as budock, onions, and onions.

I've tried a bunch of different combinations of vegetables for Kakiagé and this is by far my favorite, but other vegetables can work as well. Sweet potatoes and kabocha pumpkin can add sweetness and volume, celery can add some flavor, and green beans can make this even more colorful. Some people like to add shrimp or scallops to Kakiagé, but I'm not a huge fan because they tend to get overcooked and chewy, making the Kakiagé heavier than they need to be.

If you've never worked with burdock before, it can be a bit tricky to work with as it tends to discolor very quickly. Head to my Kinpira Gobo post to learn how to cut and prep this tasty vegetable.

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KakiagéA gossamer structure of vegetables held together with a nearly invisible layer of crisp tempura batter, Kakiagé (かき揚げ) is quite possibly my favorite kind of tempura. With a taste as delicate as its texture, all it needs is a sprinkle of umami rich finishing salt such as mojio or fleur de sel to seas...

Summary

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  • Courseappetizer
  • Cuisinejapanese
  • Yield5 fritters 5 fritters
  • Cooking Time10 minutesPT0H10M
  • Preparation Time10 minutesPT0H10M
  • Total Time20 minutesPT0H20M

Ingredients

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160 grams
Onions (1 small onion, sliced)
90 grams
Carrots (1 small carrot, julienned)
70 grams
Burdock (1/3 burdock root julienned)
10 grams
Mitsuba (1 small bunch)
80 grams
All-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup
Club soda (cold)

Steps

  1. Prepare the onions, carrots, burdock and mitsuba and add them to a large bowl, breaking up any clumps onions. Make sure your vegetables are very dry (use paper towels to dry them if they aren't).
    Mixed vegetables for kakiage.
  2. Prepare a wire rack lined with several sheets of paper towels. Heat a heavy bottomed pot with 1-inch of vegetable oil to 360 degrees F (180 C).
  3. Toss the vegetables together with the flour until the flour is evenly distributed.
    How to make Japanese Kakiage.
  4. Add the cold club soda to the vegetables and then mix to combine. It's okay if there are a few small lumps of flour but there should not be any water at the bottom of the bowl. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
    Carrots, onions, burdock and mitsuba coated in a light tempura batter.
  5. The easiest way to shape the batter and ensure it does not fall apart while frying is to shape it on a spatula first, and then lower the whole spatula into the oil, using a second spatula to scrape the fritter off the first one.
    How to shape kakiage.
  6. Fry the Kakiagé until they are no long limp and then flip and fry the other side (about 1-2 minutes)
    Frying tempura kakiage.
  7. Fry the second side until it crisps as well (an additional 1-to 1 1/2 minutes).
    Frying kakiage, Japanese tempura vegetable fritters.
  8. When the Kakiagé is crisp (but not yet browned), remove from the oil, draining as much oil from them as you can over the pot before transferring to your prepared rack.
    Japanese fried vegetable fritters.
  9. Serve the Kakiagé on a sheet of paper with a side of good finishing salt.

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