June 23rd is Tempura Day! Try Noriten Tempura Snack with Echigo Koshihikari Beer

20 Jun 2019

What is tempura?

Tempura are pieces of lightly battered, deep fried seafood and vegetables. Introduced to Japan during the 16th century by the Portuguese in Nagasaki, tempura has developed over the centuries into a popular Japanese dish both inside and outside of Japan. Tempura can be found in many types of restaurants across the country, where it is commonly served as a main dish, side dish or as a topping for tendon rice bowls, or udon and soba noodle dishes.

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Origins of tempura

Earlier Japanese deep-fried food was either simply fried without breading or batter or fried with rice flour. However, toward the end of the 16th century, a fritter-cooking technique using flour and eggs as a batter was acquired from Portuguese missionaries and merchants who resided in Nagasaki. The Portuguese called it Peixinhos da horta which literally means "Little fishes from the garden".

Peixinhos da horta were often eaten during Lent or Ember days (the word ‘tempura’ comes from the Latin word tempora, a term referring to these times of fasting), when the church dictated that Catholics go meatless. Peixinhos da horta is usually prepared with green beans in a wheat flour based batter that are then deep fried. Other vegetables such as bell peppers and squash are also used.

Perhaps not constricted by tradition, the Japanese lightened the batter and added various fillings. Today, everything from shrimp to sweet potatoes to shitake mushrooms is turned into tempura.

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Peixinhos da horta

Recommended drink

The best drink to go with tempura is beer. Beer actually can even be mixed into tempura batter to make it crispier! Beer bubbles up in the batter, making the finished coating lighter and crispier. Carbonated liquid such as beer in the batter makes it froth even more in the oil, creating a lacier finish.

Echigo Koshihikari Beer is light lager that would be perfect for adding into the batter, and as a drink to accompany tempura. The beer has a crisp and refreshing flavor, and exceptionally soothing and smooth quality. This refreshing quality helps to alleviate the oiliness of tempura and carbonation will clean your mouth.

If you are short of time but would like to enjoy a little bit of tempura experience, we recommend trying noriten! Noriten is a Japanese snack of fried tempura chips lined with nori (dried seaweed). These deceptively light chips have a hearty crunchy, crackly texture that reminds us of deep fried pig skin, if it were seaweed-flavored. It's easy to see why noriten is a popular bar snack in Japan. Noriten snacks are really tasty with an addicting flavor and they go exceptionally well with beer!

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