April 5, 2010

Tempura batter (for pork, chicken and squid)

Sweet and Sour Battered PCS



For some reason the original pork/chicken ball batter that I’d previously used and really liked has not produced good results on all the subsequent occasions that I’ve made it. So I decided to try using John Torode’s batter, which is basically a Japanese tempura batter as it contains cold (sparkling) water.



I decided to batter a selection of things: 1 pork chop, 1 chicken breast and 3 pieces of squid. We didn’t cook the squid for as long, so they are the smaller, paler balls in the photo. The pork and chicken were cooked for about 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally.


The amount of batter was sufficient for this amount of meat and seafood. However, I ran out of cornflour for dusting the pork, so I just used plain flour instead and it was fine.


I got Steve to make the Sweet and Sour sauce from the original recipe we like, as we know it’s a winner! I’ve rewritten the sauce recipe below.



Well the pork and chicken balls were lovely as the meat was moist and succulent. I never normally use chicken breast as I find it dry and lacking flavour. So Steve was very surprised when I told him it was breast and not thigh. Unfortunately the squid tasted very fishy, so I suspect that the frozen squid I used has spoiled, either before or after I bought it.


The batter was nice and crispy, but it was a little bit greasy. It might be because we didn’t drain them well enough. Or we perhaps didn’t have the oil hot enough when we dropped the battered meat/squid in, so the batter didn’t create a barrier against absorbing more oil. I still thought the batter was really nice, but Steve said it just wasn’t the same as the take-away ones! So as a batter it is very nice, but it doesn’t get as high a Munch Rating as it’s just not spongy enough in the middle for Steve’s liking.


So we’re still looking for the perfect recipe. I’m going to look into why the original recipe we liked hasn’t worked since the first time I made it. I think I might have converted the quantities incorrectly when I downsized the recipe.


I have also asked my Dad to ask his friends who own a Chinese take-away for their recipe. Hopefully I will learn some insider secrets!


I now have almost a whole bottle of soda water to use up. I could make up a nice drink with it, but I’ve found a recipe for pancakes which uses soda water as it apparently makes them really fluffy. So hopefully I’ll get around to experimenting with that recipe before the water goes flat!


  • Makes: 6-8 pork balls, 6-8 chicken balls, 12-15 squid rings



  • 100ml soda water, chilled
  • 100ml cold water
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • pinch of salt


  • selection of skinless, boneless meat/seafood, cut into chunks
  • 25g cornflour
  • sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying



  1. Line a baking tray with kitchen paper and turn on the oven to low.
  2. Fill a large pan 1cm deep with oil and heat until shimmering.
  3. Mix the soda water and cold water into the self-raising flour with a little salt (but don’t overmix as it’s OK to have lumps in tempura batter to keep it light)
  4. Tip the cornflour onto a plate and dust the chicken/pork/squid with cornflour shaking off the excess, then dip into the batter. One at a time, lower into the hot oil (about 5-6 every batch). Turn up the heat to keep the meat frying, if needed, and cook for 5-6 mins, turning once.
  5. When cooked, drain on the tray, and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining meat. Stack onto a plate with the warm sauce on the side.
FOR THE sweet and sour SAUCE:


  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) tomato ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) white vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (100g) white sugar
  • 1/4 cup (45g) brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon corn flour
  • 1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) cold water



  1. In a small saucepan combine the first 6 ingredients and bring to a boil whisking constantly.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer stirring for 2 minutes.
  3. In a small cup dissolve the corn flour in the cold water until smooth, then add to the simmering sauce stirring constantly.
  4. Cook for another 3 minutes stirring until bubbly and thickened.
  5. I served this at room temperature. You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for probably about a week or you could freeze it.


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