Tempura, Soba, and the Flu, I think.

There’s nothing like the light, crispy crunch of a perfect tempura batter, plus some awesome  caramelized vegetable soba noodles! Japan or bust!

I love just about every international cuisine out there. I say just about, because there are some I’ve never tried, like Ethiopian, Indo Chinese and Congolese, for example.  Of course there are what I call ‘International American’ because it’s common American eats even though its origins lie in the country it’s from (unlike”so-called Chinese” Chow Fun (Chow Mei Fun), Chow Mein, Chop Suey (Chop Sooy) etc) all three of which originated in America).

One of those international cuisines is Japanese, obviously sushi, but so so much more, from Katsu Don (chicken) to Nikujaga (stew) to Tonkatsu (pork), to my all time favorite, or let’s say must always order with the aforementioned other favorites aka tempura anything.  I also love all kinds of Asian noodles and noodle bowls, so this month’s challenge is manna extraordinaire, and boy am I going to eat goooood.

How to make the best tempura! From sweet potato to broccoli to onion to cauliflower, plus garlic soy soba noodles with caramelized vegetables and a tempura egg.To make the above noodle dish, toss cooked soba noodles with dressing from soba noodle-vegetable saute recipe, below. Top with a sliced medium, soft-boiled egg or tempura egg, sliced roasted red pepper and diced ham. pancetta or prosciutto.

Fast forward two weeks. I’m sick, so I’m not going to eat good. In fact, I made everything two days ago, and I still haven’t touched it. I was queasy photographing it all, so queasy that I couldn’t even get my post up because it would mean I have to look at it all again.  What started as a simple cold, has morphed into aches, pains, nausea, sore throat, and of course, the stuffy nose, turning my bedroom into a balled up kleenex ticker tape parade aftermath.  I just inserted this paragraph so you’d all understand why it took me three days past reveal day to get this post up.  Now I have to take a deep breath and try not to gag as I upload the photos.  I’m ticked off, I was really looking forward to eating this.  OK, back to me before I was sick, below.

How to make the best tempura! From sweet potato to broccoli to onion to cauliflower, plus garlic soy soba noodles with caramelized vegetables and a tempura egg.

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com

The only problem I have with this month’s challenge is the ‘cold’ factor for the noodles.  I’m sorry, but we’ve been blasted with freezing cold weather and storm after storm, from snow to heavy rain, to freezing rain to sleet.  I don’t want cold noodles, I need some serious warmth.  This is why I decided to go against the challenge grain a bit and make myself a nice bowl of spicy, warm soba noodles, along with my spicy, warm tempura.

Wow, I’m already feeling toasty.

Shichimi Tempura Battered Poached Eggs

Tempura poached egg preparation: After all of the above; the egg is then deep-fried (20 seconds at 375°F), but as most of you know, I can’t give you deep frying photos because my kitchen has no windows outside of a tiny one on the door. 

First let me start with the tempura.  I decided to tempura batter what I order all the time.  My favorite tempura is sweet potato, broccoli, sweet onion, and asparagus.  I also decided to tempura batter a few poached eggs.


Yes, you can bread or batter a poached egg (or soft-boiled egg) and deep fry it.  I’m sure some think that there’s no way the hot oil won’t cook the yolk.  Two words, twenty seconds; that’s all it takes.  Of course you have to take great care in flouring and dipping the egg in the tempura batter. In other words, don’t use chopsticks to hold it; a slotted spoon is perfect.  I always wondered why those pubs that claim they can and will deep fry anything, have yet to attempt a poached egg.  Then again, maybe they have, but I’m always hoping to see it when I see them on TV deep frying candy bars and sneakers.How to make the best tempura! From sweet potato to broccoli to onion to cauliflower to eggs, plus garlic soy soba noodles with caramelized vegetables and a tempura egg.

SO, here’s another great thing about my tempura battered poached egg; Shichimi Togarashi.  I LOVE this spice so much.  I used it back in ’08 in the Lavash cracker challenge  (the same night I took a flying leap and annihilated my knee), and even made my own.

Shichimi Togarashi is 7-spice blend that usually includes red chile pepper, dried orange peel, white and black sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, nori, and ginger. However, sometimes poppy seed …wait, you can read about it HERE, and if you’d like, purchase it HERE.  You can also make your own, swapping in and out what you prefer.

How to make the best tempura! From sweet potato to broccoli to onion to cauliflower to eggs, plus garlic soy soba noodles with caramelized vegetables and a tempura egg.This was a deep fried pancetta bowl holding the noodles and egg.  It busted open just as I was about to snap the photo.  Figures.

With that said, I added a whole tablespoon of shichimi into the tempura batter for the poached eggs.  Yes, I made two batters, because I ended up using up my first batch (which was already doubled) on enough of the aforementioned veggies to feed a small country. It would have been well worth it if I had been able to like..umm..eat some of it without the building nausea wave ready to knock me off my surfboard.

How to make the best tempura! From sweet potato to broccoli to onion to cauliflower to eggs, plus garlic soy soba noodles with caramelized vegetables and a tempura egg.

Before I get to the soba, I have to mention that the tempura batter recipe provided to us by our lovely hostess is really good.  However, I prefer my old standby of rice flour and seltzer or beer because it stays crispier longer.

So here’s how I treated my soba noodles: I didn’t make the dashi dipping sauce (errr, soup.  I’m sorry, it’s a broth, not a dipping sauce), but instead I chose the spicy dipping sauce and used that to not only dip the tempura, but dress my noodles.  I added a bit of chili-garlic sauce to it because calling it spicy as is, is akin to calling a box turtle, fierce.  I topped it with sauteed red bell peppers, carrots, sesame oil fried spinach, green onions,  plus shredded cucumber and deep-fried pancetta.

You see, since I was topping some of the noodles with a poached egg, Eggs Benedict came to mind, so why not a little eggs Benedict fusion? It just seemed naked without some kind of pork product.  I actually tried to make a cup out of the pancetta to hold the soba and the poached egg, but unfortunately, my noodles busted it open and it broke, as you can see in the photos above.

How to make the best tempura! From sweet potato to broccoli to onion to cauliflower to eggs, plus garlic soy soba noodles with caramelized vegetables and a tempura egg.

Of course everyone had their choice how to have their soba, so only a poached egg and pancetta on request.  It was just as yummy with just veggies, as you can see directly above.

How to make the best tempura! From sweet potato to broccoli to onion to cauliflower to eggs!

For the recipes for tempura and soba, plus fantastic instructions and links, click HERE.

Warm Soba Noodle Vegetable Saute

One 8-ounce package soba (buckwheat noodles) or any noodles you prefer
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced very thin
|2 carrots, cut into 1 1/2-by 1/4-inch sticks (julienned)
3 scallions, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons grated or finely chopped ginger
1 bunch of regular or baby spinach, thoroughly washed and dried

If making cold soba noodles, instead of a warm saute, just slightly steam the vegetables, then cool and add some peeled, seeded and shredded cucumber. Keep chilled until ready to serve. Also, if making it cold, sometimes I also like to add crab, then mayo to the below dressing, similar to a Kani salad, but with noodles!

2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water

salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted lightly

1. In a large pot, bring 5 quarts salted to a boil. Add noodles and boil until al dente. Drain noodles in a colander and immediately rinse with cold water. In a large bowl toss noodles with 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Set aside.

2. Combine the remaining sesame oil, the rice vinegar sugar and the water in a measuring cup or small bowl. Set aside.

3. In a large non-stick skillet heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over moderately high heat. then add carrots and bell peppers. Saute until tender and slightly caramelized. Remove to a separate bowl. Now add the tablespoon of sesame oil to the skillet, and add ginger, garlic and scallions. Saute for 3 minutes, then add all the spinach at once, stirring and tossing until spinach is wilted.

4, Add the carrots and bell peppers back to the pan and let cook 1 more minute. Scrape the vegetable mixture over the noodles and toss well.

5. Pour the dressing into that same skillet, scraping up all the bits  of flavor stuck to the pan (the fond), and cook until slightly reduced and thickened. Immediately pour over noodle-vegetable mixture and toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and  either let chill in the fridge for cold soba noodles, for several hours or overnight, or serve it immediately, hot or warm. However, you could chill it to let the flavors intensify overnight, then heat it up again before serving. Finally, you can also serve it room temp. After chilling, let it come close to room temperature then top with lightly toasted sesame seeds, if desired.

Garlic Soba Noodles with Caramelized Vegetables and Tempura Egg

Tempura Battered Poached Eggs (Poached Egg Tempura)

4 poached eggs
Well seasoned flour
Tempura batter from recipe linked at end of post, or one of your choice, with Shichimi Togarashi seasoning added.

1. Poach 4 eggs, then immediately slide into a bowl of ice water.  Cover and let chill while you make your tempura batter.

2. Heat 2 inches oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan (about 1 1/2 inches deep) over high heat until deep-fat thermometer registers 375°F.

3. When ready to fry, gently blot any water from top of poached eggs with paper towels, then sprinkle each egg with salt and pepper and/or spice of your choice.

4. Carefully dredge 1 poached egg in flour, gently dusting off excess. Transfer egg to bowl of batter, spooning the batter over it to coat completely.  Lift it out gently with a slotted spoon, letting excess batter drip off. Gently lower spoon into oil and let egg slide off. fry for 20 seconds, then remove and place on a paper lined cooling rack. Repeat with remaining poached eggs, 1 at a time.

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41 Responses to Tempura, Soba, and the Flu, I think.

  1. Shelley C says:

    I have been so excited to see your post after seeing the teaser picture on the forum, and this was worth the wait. I am so sorry you are sick – I hope those germies leave for good so you can get back to your regularly scheduled EVERYTHING. I give you major credit for doing this while feeling icky, and for doing it so beautifully, to boot. I am not so tempted to try tempura-ing a poached egg, I can’t even begin to tell you. Everything looks wonderful, and your photos, as always, are beautiful. Feel better soon!!

  2. Rosa says:

    Everything looks wonderful and so appetizing! Very well done.

    I hope that you’ll feel better soon.



  3. HOLY MOTHER OF A CHINLESS GOAT. Scrumptious. Simply Scrumptious. You’ve outdone yourself this month. And sick to boot! Oh my lovey, I wish I were there to eat your food rub your feet, wipe your feverish brow, hold your hair back while you hork, feed you spoonfuls of clear chicken broth, and all the other eat your food necessary things one does for her loved one when her loved one is sickly.

    Love you!!!!!

  4. So sorry to hear you have been ill and doing the challenge during your sickness to outstanding. I love the idea of poached egg tempura And that last photograph is stunning batch of tempura I adore the way you arranged the different veggie tempura.

    I hope you feel better soon.

    Your photography is exquisite as always.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  5. Renata says:

    Sorry about your illness, and I hope you have recovered.
    I’m in awe of your tempura & soba! Not only is it very good looking, but I just love the poached egg tempura! What a great idea!!!

    • Renata says:

      Hi Lisa, thank you so much for your lovely comment! Actually, you wouldn’t want to see my kitchen during “making of” 😀
      It would be a great pleasure to have you here! Be my guest!

  6. Simone says:

    So sorry to hear you’re sick and that you don’t feel like eating all these deliciousness goodies (that’s not even a sentence I fear) you’ve made! Ofcourse had I lived any closer I would have gladly come over to finish it of for you… 🙂

  7. Lisa- Sorry to hear you were sick through preparation of your wonderful creations, and I hope the kleenex tickertape parade clean up crew has come and gone. I was tempted to do the tempura egg-thing, but the recipe I saw called for boiling the full egg 3 minutes, ice bath to stop cooking, ever so gently removing the shell, dipping the egg in batter, rolling in panko, and then deep-frying…both methods sound really interesting and I may have to give it a go with store-bought soba noodles. You were smart not to attempt homemade soba noodles – not so much fun 😉

  8. Ohhh, Lisa, I’m so sorry you are not feeling well. Sending healthy thoughts you way and hoping you feel better. Awesome job as always with the challenge.

  9. Maranda says:

    Amazing!!! I love the addition of the egg! Yum!!!

  10. chef_d says:

    I hope you are better already, I’ve been waiting for your post–and I’m impressed as usual! I haven’t seen a poached egg tempura, yours is the first one and it looks interesting! I’m imagining all the flavors of the Shichimi Togarashi with the egg…yum! Beautiful plating for the tempura and the soba…excellent job!
    By the way, I nominated you for the Stylish Blogger Award on my blog. Please drop by to accept it 🙂

  11. Megan says:

    Oh no! Sorry you are sick. I’d be so bummed if I spent so much time and effort making such amazing dishes and then was too sick to eat them. I love Asian noodles too and I’m not sure why I’ve never tried making them at home. And the tempura looks incredible! Feel better!

  12. climbhighak says:

    Damn, I wish I had thought of that. What a great idea. I ended up adding chile garlic sauce to my poke salad too. That stuff is amazing. I suggest you put it on everything to help shake off what ails ya.

  13. Pia says:

    OMG, Lisa! You surely closed feb’s challenge with a “bang”=;) Wow!!! this is amazing! I’ve seen fried eggs long time ago. He’s the author of cooking eggs 100 ways? he was a guest at Martha Stewarts show and he made fried eggs. His tecnhique was drop the egg as you would w/ poaching but he had two laddle to bring the whites around the yolks til the yolks are coated w/ the whites and it turns brown. I’ve tried them once but didn’t do it again..well..i forgot about it until now=;) Your pictures are beautiful as usual! Can’t wait for your march challenge! Oh and hope you feel better!

  14. 5 Star Foodie says:

    I love the idea of tempura poached eggs, a must try for sure! Everything looks amazing! Hope you feel better very soon!

  15. Suz says:

    YOU TEMPURA’D AN EGG?!!!! That is the best thing I have ever seen in my life (and I’ve seen some things). Seriously, that’s the most beautiful tempura I’ve seen and your arrangements are so pretty! Good call on the hot soba – sometimes you just need something warm and comforting. Also, I’m sorry to hear you’ve been poorly. Hope you feel better soon!

  16. Sue says:

    I wish I lived next door to you so I could eat this for you:) Tempura battered poached eggs sound/look AMAZING!!! Seriously. I hope you are feeling better, Lisa, and are all well SOON!

  17. Jenni says:

    Fantastic job darling! Your soba and tempura look fantastic! I love your tempura! It looks absolutely awesome!! So sorry you couldn’t eat it, that must have been dreadful! I give you super props for actually doing all that while trying not to hurl! I would have just curled up on the couch and said “forget it!”.

    Hope you are feeling better now!

  18. Mark says:

    Love the tempura battered poached egg! What a brilliant idea, and i t all looks great!

  19. Valerie says:

    Ah, I finally get to see your fried poached eggs! I remember you made them for a previous DC challenge, but had lost your pics. I gotta say, it sounds like a real treat! And your tempura looks awesome, and beautifully plated.

  20. Janine says:

    beautiful tempura!

  21. Lot-O-Choc says:

    Oh wow this looks amazingly good, I love soba noodles so much and youve given me such a craving for them now! I hope you feel better soon and stop feeling sick so you can enjoy some good food! 🙁

  22. Your pictures are GORGEOUS! 😀 AND your Tempura sounds SO good! 😀

  23. Elle says:

    Really hope you are feeling better Lisa! The photos are just beautiful and all that lovely egg yolk running down to the noodles is wonderful to think of. The tempura shot with the broccoli standing up like a tree is also great…and reminds me of Moosewood’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest idea. My kids grew up thinking of broccoli as little trees and they were giants…so they alway ate their broccoli.

  24. Tonianne says:

    I am stunned at how u were able to batter and fry a poached egg without cooking the yolk or the egg breaking! How did u do that??

  25. You are amazing and an incredible trooper. I backed out of this challenge because I was a bit overloaded…you are sick in the worst way and you created still a masterpiece. Love the poached egg. I hope you are 100% again asap hun!

  26. Kellypea says:

    I’m all over that deep fried poached egg on this. And yes. Much in life does seem naked without pork ;). Sorry you haven’t been well — sounds like it’s been pretty bad. You even had my stomach doing the ol’ squeegee justnreading about how you felt. My good friend brought some pastel soba back from Japan and I haven’t done anything with it because I can’t get over pink noodles. But hey — I’m thinking they might look cute in this. Great post! Get well!

  27. I really like the idea of the warm soba, and that tempura looks positively lovely. I love it how fried goodness translates to every culture. Think about it: America=onion rings, Indian=Pakora, England=fried mars bars (LOL) and fish and chips… ah, its all good!
    *kisses* HH

  28. Hold everything. I have a serious need for a tempura battered poached egg right now! Amazing. Your soba looks great too especially with the added chile garlic sauce. I want the tempura battered vegetables too.

  29. Juliana says:

    Lisa, sorry to hear that you were sick…both the soba and the tempura look delicious, specially the poached egg tempura…very creative…by the way, love the pictures 🙂

  30. Wow, a Japanese version of a Scotch egg. I always wondered how to make these.

  31. Lisa!
    Sorry I am so tardy responding… I read you a few days back, and hten my service provider went crazy. I am just back to responding after doing my work and getting my post up. YOu never cease to amaze me. You are such a tenacious little cook in your kitchen and you always surpass any requirements of any challenge you have ever participated in. Absolutely gorgeous.You did all of this not well – it must have been a blast doing that wacky thing to the egg! How good was it? YUM.
    The entire dish – and the next several parts – has me simply in awe.

  32. Mary says:

    Hope you are over your evil illness by now–I can sympathize as I seem to have caught every germ circulating in every school this year. Anyway, your soba and tempura both look gorgeous, and even more so considering how you felt when putting it all together. Bravo! Poached egg tempura almost makes me want to deep fry again. Almost, as I am still airing out the curtains from last time.

  33. Ben says:

    Those pictures look so delicious. I hope you are feeling better.

  34. Dan says:

    Wow did you live in Japan and pick up all these skills? Looks better than the Japanese restaurant I just ate at last night. Your pictures are great as usual. Where can I have your food? Very talented woman.

  35. Carolyn Jung says:

    I’m with you on that. I love cold soba noodles. But in the winter, I definitely prefer a big bowl of brothy noodles that I can slurp or a plate of hot, crispy noodles topped with all manner of goodness. Hope you’re feeling better! 😉

  36. Christina says:

    Oh those soba noodles and tempura look great! I love tempura sweet potatoes, although I have never tried to make them at home. Mmmm…. 🙂

  37. FOODESSA says:

    Since I’m a little of a late comer to wish you well…I do hope you feel like yourself by now ;o)

    Lisa…you have no idea how much I relish meals like the one you’ve prepared. You’ve made me terribly hungry!
    I learnt a few things here today…and I’m grateful for all your dedication in the kitchen ;o)

    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,

  38. Lea says:

    It looks perfect.

  39. Medeja says:

    What a wonderful salad! I would really enjoy such dinner!

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