corn and seaweed tempura popper

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Before talking corny, you know how sometimes when parents, despite their best intentions no doubt, can suffocate us with all their unnecessary concerns followed by… uh… understandably agitating gestures?  God don’t you just hate that? So freaking un-cool is what it is!  And just to make it perfectly clear before I confess anything, I am still with you.  You know, “Team Kids”.  But yesterday… I think I may have done exactly that… ok and then some.

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In case you just parachuted in from hopefully somewhere much funner, here are some stuff that’s previously on Days of Our Lives…  So.  Bado has been experiencing more frequent seizures (too much reality?  How about…) disco-dancing in the past two days, one of which came knocking around 3 AM yesterday.  And you know, every time that Bado decides to disco-dance is an ultimate family affair.  Jason and I speed-walking in stealth mode for first-aids party favors, but all while mainly trying to talk Bado out of disco-ing because really, she’s got no moves.  And the other pups, excited by all this mid-night fiesta, jolting and bouncing off the beds in a look that says “OH OH is this a ROAD-TRIP!?”.  No… but it’s a real party.  And what’s a party without food?  To replenish poor Bado after all that hardcore disco-dancing (oh but baby, you were faaabulous), dear mommy I… gave her carrots (bizarrely a staple in my fridge for no reasons).  Yes, perfectly aware that she had a history to puking raw carrots (sometimes her appetite and stomach disagrees…), which was exactly why I cooked the carrots in the microwave before serving but nonetheless, dear mommy… gave her carrots.

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Thus began the following day of non-stop puking, and more disco-dancing… fun, fun, and fun.  In between the initial scare that it was the bun in her brain acting up, until later on realizing that all she was puking were just… chunks of carrots, yesterday was like a roller-coaster ride.  Anyhow I’m thankful to say that Bado survived another day despite of dear mommy me.  But did I tell you?  I did ALL THAT while frying a batch of sweet corn tempura by the stove.  Yah!  Can I multi-task or what?  And they were good, the impossibly light, crispy and delicate batter plus the crunch and flavor from the sweet kernels and seaweed with just the slightest touch of sea salt on top.  You wouldn’t believe this is done in your kitchen from scratch out of any day let alone this one!  But I learnt from my lesson I really did.  Bado just watched while she drooled.  Awww…

PS:  Later confirmed as of the cause behind her more frequent discos, was due to the loss of potency in her medicines because I kept it wrapped in cheese (it’s the moisture) inside the fridge for easy-feeding…  Dude, parents are dangerous…

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This recipe is very versatile as you can easily switch Japanese seaweed to finely diced chives, or other types of herbs.  If you want to change the quantity of the recipe, there’s a very easy rule to remember about the ratio of the batter – the amount of dry ingredients (flour + corn starch) : the amount of wet ingredients (club soda + egg white) is 1 : 1, BY VOLUME (not weight).  So 2 cups of dry ingredients will need 2 cups of wet ingredients.

And to save you trouble on collecting corn kernels off the floor, use a bundt cake-pan to cut kernels off the cob is a good trick.  Just place the corn standing up in the center of the bundt cake-pan, and cut the kernels with a sharp knife as usual.  The kernels should be mostly caught by the pan instead of flying off onto the counter.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet corns
  • 1 tbsp of all-purpose flour
  • 1 sheet (21 x 21 cm / 8″ x 8″) of Japanese nori/seaweed
  • Tempura batter: adapted from many recipes combined
    • 1 cup (125 grams) of cake flour (or all-purpose if not available)
    • 1 tbsp of corn starch
    • 1 tsp of salt
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 cup (8 fl. oz) of club soda, very cold
  • 2 ~ 3 cups of vegetable oil for frying
  • Fine sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat the oven on 300ºF/150ºC (to keep the tempura poppers warm).

Place the corns standing up in the center of a bundt cake-pan, and cut the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife.  Transfer all the kernels into another large bowl.  Set aside.  Use your hand or scissor to crush/cut the nori/seaweed into little bits of pieces.  Add the torn seaweed to the corn kernels, with 1 tbsp of all purpose flour.  Toss to evenly coat.  Set aside.

Before mixing the batter, start heating the frying oil.  Add 2 ~ 3 cups of oil into a deep but narrow pot so that you have at least 1 1/2″ deep of oil (the narrower the pot, the less oil you’ll need), and heat over medium-high heat.

In another large bowl, whisk together cake flour, corn starch and salt.  Then whisk the egg white in a measuring cup until foamy and frothy.  Add 1 cup of very very cold club soda to the egg whites and whisk slightly to combine.  Add the club soda/egg white mixture into the flour mixture, and use a chopstick or a fork to mix the ingredients until it JUST COMES TOGETHER.  A few lumps here and there is FINE but DON’T OVER MIX the batter.  Add JUST ENOUGH batter to the corn kernels so that the batter barely covers the kernels.  You may not need all of the batter.

Stick a chopstick into the oil to check the temperature.  If bubbles start forming immediately off the edge of the chopstick, the oil is ready.  Slowly drop approx 1 1/2 tsp of kernel batter into the oil (hold the spoon close to the surface of the oil before dropping to avoid splashing, and also keeps the tempura intact).  Anything more than 1 1/2 tsp, you may end up with tempura poppers with crispy edges but uncooked center.  Also, do not over-crowd the pot.  A small pot like the one I’m using can fry 4 tempura poppers at a time.  Flip them a few times in the frying oil until all sides are golden and crispy.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a rack in the oven to keep warm while you finish working with the rest of the batter.

Sprinkle with fine sea salt before serving.

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How to fold brown paper-cones:

Take a piece of brown paper approx 24 cm x 20 cm (10″ x 8″)(I simply just flatten a brown paper envelope), and fold diagonally so that the two corners touch (pic 1 and 2).  You will see a slight strip of paper extruding over the edges, so fold them inward (pic 3).  Bring corner A and corner B together until the bottom tip of the cone is tightly enclosed (pic 4), then fold where corner A and corner B meets, outward, for a couple of times, which should secure the shape of the cone (pic 5).  Line the inside of the cone with a piece of parchment paper (pic 6).  There.

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7 Comments

  • You will all get through this hard time Mandy. I fed my dog fish once… Lets say the result were from the other end and all over the rugs..
    These look fab, I am corn addict. I would gladly eat these with gusto!

    • Reply August 23, 2013

      Mandy L.

      Belinda you’ve been such a great support… Thank you :)

  • Reply August 25, 2013

    Matt

    These look awesome! Need to make these some time, especially now that my local store sells seaweed now. Woo!

  • Reply August 27, 2013

    Sofia

    I’m sorry to hear your dog has been showing symptoms of her unwellness again.
    Nothing to do with that, but my brother and I gave the cat coffee once… the hyperactive effects were highly amusing that day.

  • Reply November 14, 2013

    Weijia

    I’m considering making these for a large party, but also am wondering how long they stay crispy if i cook them a couple of hours ahead of time. Were they still good a few hours later or should they be served immediately after they are fried?

    Thanks!

    • Reply November 14, 2013

      Mandy L.

      Weijia, you can keep them warm in a 250F oven, and they’ll stay relatively crispy. BUT I would say only for 30 minutes because after that they’ll dry out in the oven.

  • Reply December 21, 2013

    Atika

    I just made this and it hit the spot! It is great and perfect for kids party :)

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