Ten-Ichi Tempura

While visiting Ten-Ichi, tentsuyu—tempura dipping sauce—accompanied each order of tempura, along with a dish of sea salt, a lemon wedge, and curry powder. For tempura that includes shrimp, scallops, and/or kisu (Sillago sihama, a small white-fleshed fish), the chefs suggest seasoning with salt and lemon; for anago (fresh seawater eel) tempura, they recommend salt and curry powder. Ten-Ichi used a custom-blended oil to cook its tempura; we found a mixture of eight parts corn oil to one part Asian sesame oil to be a satisfactory approximation. Fresh seawater eel can be very difficult to find; ask your local Japenese restaurant for a possible source.

Variation—Ten-Ichi Tendon (Tempura on Rice): Tendon is served with a sauce similar to tentsuyu (the dipping sauce served with tempura; see recipe, above) but typically sweeter, more robust, and sometimes thicker—although the flavor and the texture of the sauce vary from restaurant to restaurant. At some establishments, tempura is arranged on top of the bowl of hot steamed rice, the tendon sauce then poured over it; others put the sauce between the rice and the tempura. Chef's at Ten-Ichi quickly dunk the tempura into the sauce, then lay the pieces atop the rice. To make the tendon sauce, put 3/4 cup of the reserved dashi, 1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine), and 1/4 cup soy sauce into a small pot and bring just to a boil over high heat. Keep hot over lowest heat. Divide 6 cups steamed short-grain rice between 4 deep bowls. Drizzle 1 tbsp. hot tendon sauce over each serving of rice. Quickly dunk hot tempura, one piece at a time, into tendon sauce, then arrange on top of rice. Serve at once. Serves 4.