Matsutake Tempura 松茸の天ぷら

japanese cake
This is another classic dish made of matsutake 松 茸. I have to confess that this is my least favorite way to enjoy matsutake but in order to post something new, I have to explore many permutations of matsutake dishes. I do not particularly like making tempura of matsutake because, in my opinion, deep frying overwhelms the subtle flavor of the matsutake. Nonetheless, it is a popular way to cook matsutake

I used small sized matustake (two for two small servings like those shown above) which were cleaned and sliced. I made a tempura batter which was relatively thin. I used cake flour with the addition of a small amount of potato starch and added cold water until the thin batter was formed. But I was careful not to over mix, otherwise the gluten will develop and the result will be tough crust. Although I used peanut oil from force of habit, retrospectively, I should have used a flavorless oil such as canola or vegetable oil. The peanut oil adds an essence of peanut flavor to the matsutake–a somewhat confounding element. The oil temperature should be a bit higher (about 180C, I guess, I used my put-a-drop-of-batter-and-it-floats-back-immediately method of judging the temperature of the oil) ), so that the matustake will cook quickly and a nice crust is formed. It may splatter a lot (mine certainly did), so be careful.

I served this with a lime wedge and my ususal green tea salt. It is a very nice dish but the subtle flavor of matsutake is somehow lost. (That extra peanut taste didn’t help). The texture is nice; a good contrast of slightly chewy matsutake and crisp crust.

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