Okay, so you made some delicious tempura…. now, how should you eat it? Sure, you could have it over soup noodles or rolled up in a maki, but if you want to make the tempura the star of your meal (and not the noodles!), dipping your crispy deep fried creations in a simple sauce is definitely the best way to bring out the flavour of all your hard work!
Tempura sauce is a simple sauce made from only a few ingredients. It is light and clear, and a bit salty and sweet to taste. A bit of grated daikon (radish) gives it a special zip, making for a great accompaniment that won’t overpower your tempura or weigh down its light-as-air batter.
Just like in real life, tempura sauce is often seen in anime as a popular way to serve tempura. I’ve never seen it been focused on directly (unlike with other foods) but it is nonetheless an important part of the anime food landscape.
About the recipe:
The hard part was making the tempura… the easy part is making the sauce! Basically all you do is throw everything (minus the grated daikon) into a pot and gently simmer it until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature and serve!
For the grated daikon, you can put as much or as little as you want in your sauce. In many Japanese restaurants outside of Japan, the tempura sauce generally only has a very small amount of daikon in it, just enough to make the sauce a little cloudy. But, while I was in Japan, I was served a home cooked tempura dinner where I was given close to a quarter cup of grated daikon to go with about half that amount of sauce…. The daikon was placed a bit to one side of a flat-bottomed bowl with the sauce pooled together on the other. More sauce and daikon were added as I ate, I could mix the sauce and daikon together if desired, and I was able to adjust the taste to my liking.
So, how much daikon to add is really up to you! The recipe below gives a guideline, but feel free to change it to suit your own tastes.
About the ingredients:
Daikon is a type of white radish that is white in colour, mild in flavour, and that can grow quite large. It’s a big part of Japanese cooking, showing up as pickles, cooked in stews and soups, and even grated into sauces. Daikon is available in many standard and specialty grocery stores.
Dashi is a type of fish stock made from boiling bonito. It is often found in Asian grocery stores in the form of small granules that dissolve in liquid.
If you are vegetarian, an alternative to dashi is kombu dashi, which is a stock made out of seaweed. Like dashi, you can either buy it in the form of granules that dissolve in liquid, or make your own by simmering kombu seaweed in water. Kombu is one of the ingredients used to make dashi.
Makes about 1 cup of sauce
- 3/4 cup dashi stock (or, kombu dashi for vegetarians)
- 3 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 inch piece of daikon (or more), peeled
1. Place dashi, soy sauce, mirin and sugar in a small saucepan. On low heat, bring to simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside until cool.
2. Just before serving, finely grate daikon using the small holes on a grater or a microplane. Squeeze the water from the grated daikon.
Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed as a dipping sauce for tempura. Place sauce in small bowls and add grated daikon to taste.
Source: Just One Cookbook