Busy in the kitchen. I recently made tempura using eggplant and mountain yam, and upped the ante a bit by adding pork floss for additional flavor and texture. I wasn’t intending to serve this with any dipping sauce, so the pork floss added a bit of savory taste. I hadn’t realized that mountain yam aka “huai shan” 淮山 has so many health benefits. I liked it eating it coz of the texture, sorta a cross between a potato and lotus root. Soft but with a slight crunch. I notice it being used a lot in Chinese soups so I reckon it must have some health benefits so I googled and found out that it’s anti-aging, lowers blood sugar and blood pressure, improves digestive system, reduces PMS, benefits spleen, nourishes lung and kidney, etc.
And because mountain yam can be eaten raw (the Japanese use it grated), I figured it’d be somewhat cool to try battering it up and deep-frying it tempura style instead. Watch how I made this tempura in the Culina Luna video. :)
Tempura Eggplant and Mountain Yam with Pork Floss
2 Medium Eggplants, sliced
1 Mountain Yam, sliced
1/2 cup Pork Floss
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup ice cold sparkling water
- 1/8 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1/2 cup rice flour (you can also use all-purpose flour)
Make the batter: Mix together the flour, corn starch, salt and baking soda in one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the ice cold sparkling water (it must be ice cold or this will not work) and the egg yolk.
Heat oil in a shallow pan (I used a deepfryer) and when it’s hot, combine the dry batter ingredients and whisk together until combined. Dip the eggplant and mountain yam slices in the batter and into the oil. Shake off a little before you put them into the oil, this batter is thin and runny. Fry in batches, at about 2-3 minutes per batch. Do not overcrowd the pot. Drain on a rack set over a paper towel to catch the oil that drips off. Serve at once with pork floss. Of course if you want to keep this vegetarian, skip the pork floss altogether.
I got all fancy with the sparkling water. Instead of using store-bought soda, I made my own using the SodaStream gadget! Hur hur hur.
SodaStream is a soda maker that turns tap water into sparkling water in under 30 seconds, with no clean-up. You get to enjoy the freshness and convenience of homemade soda and protect the environment at the same time. It’s a nifty gadget that doesn’t require batteries or electricity – so fascinating. While the idea initially sounded kinda complicated, I very quickly discovered that it is super easy to make my own soda. Just pour water into the accompanying bottle, hook it up to the stand, press down the front panel and 1 LED light display, 2 LED lights display, 3 LED lights display later…. voila! Let there be fizzzzzz.
While for this tempura recipe I needed plain sparkling water, with SodaStream you can embellish your soda water and create flavored fizzy drinks – such as adding syrup or a slice of fresh lemon, etc. It’s really cool. The design of the product is very sleek too, which I like. The SodaStream Source Home Soda Maker Starter Kit isn’t expensive at all, kinda nice as a housewarming gift or birthday gift to your guy-who-drinks-way-too-much-Coca-Cola (yes, we all know someone like that! So-and-so’s boyfriend/husband/son…).
This dish came out quite nicely, if I may say so myself. It’s light and the pork floss can be omitted to make this vegetarian. The tempura batter is watery and runny, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Just a light coating on the eggplant and mountain yam slices, then plunge them into a hot deep-fryer to yield a thin crispy outer coating. Make sure you use ice cold sparkling water, the key is for the water to be as cold as possible.