My Mistake with Vegetable Tempura

Vegetable Tempura

Yesterday I was on day two of my Japanese eating journey Operation Nippon and I have already learnt a very important lesson about how to eat tempura vegetables. Here’s my mistake with tempura vegetables.

I had a good friend come over for dinner who was vegetarian. I decided I had never made tempura before so lets go all out and give it a go. I bought lots of yummy vegetables and instead of making the tempura flour from scratch which you have to put normal flour in the freezer, have cold water to mix the eggs to try and get the flour light enough I bought tempura flour which I highly recommend as it’s very easy you just add water.


If you buy it from Fuji Mart it’s in Japanese but it has pictures and easy enough to work out. It was 160mls to 100 grams of flour. Unless you are doing a big batch up only use the 100 grams. I used 200 grams and had a bit left over.  I didn’t need much at all.

Cooking Tips

I never deep fry any thing so it was a fun learning experience. You need the oil to be 170 degrees and I learnt a great trick from Adam Liaw from Destination Flavour Japan that you pop your chopsticks in the oil and when they start to bubble a bit then the oil is ready. You can use a thermometer but I don’t have one.

Once I had cut all the vegetables very thinly and heated the oil it was frying time. I dipped the vegetables and fried to my heart content. I fried everything that wasn’t nailed down. It was loads of fun. The vegetables turned out amazing, light, fluffy and little buddies of yumminess.

Eating tips

Now to the part about how to eat them. I was so excited about all the vegetables I didn’t do any other dishes except a few nice pickles, Japanese mayo and tonkasu sauce. We got full very quickly and did manage to eat a fair bit. But here’s the tip of the century. You only need a few pieces of tempura, when I say a few I am talking two or three. Then you balance out the meal with a little bit of rice, a nice fresh green salad, pickles and even a bit of miso soup. Don’t just eat tempura or you will end up with a stomach when you go to bed.  Not the most pleasant night sleep. 

Ha ha I hear you laughing, it’s not rocket science but I was so excited about the big fry up forgot about a balanced meal. I certainly won’t be making that mistake again.  Secondly if you kept eating like that you will end up with a gorgeous sumo figure.

What dinners have you made that you have over done it?

PS sorry for the lack of photo’s I will do more next time as I do love a visual. I have had to use a stock photo which is not mine. 🙁

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Operation Nippon

Sushi Operation Nippon

Recently on SBS I saw a show called The Japanese Diet about an Australian guy Craig Anderson who went to Japan for two weeks to learn to eat like the Japanese for 12 weeks. Craig lost 25kgs. He had a bit to lose but did really well. He’s a cuddly bear type of fella, film buff, director, editor and all round nice guy. So when his mate asked him to be in the documentary he gave it a go. Bloody loved it. After watching this I have decided to do Operation Nippon. I am going to eat Japanese food for the next month (hopefully longer but we’ll start at a month) #operationnippon

I have always loved cooking and when I was a kid I wanted to be a pasty chef and then a chef but couldn’t commit to the hours. I love Japanese food, have a couple of cook books and do cook a bit of Japanese food at home. Last term I started go the step further and making dashi eggs and rice for breakfast, delicious. The health benefits are second to none for a Japanese diet. This got me thinking why don’t I just bite the bullet and go Japanese for a month. I love an experiment and have been inspired by Craig …….. Let’s go bento.

When I lived in Japan in 1999/2000 I lost 8 kgs living there. I cycled everywhere and I’m sure if I started cycling that much here the fat would melt away LOL. Over the year I was there I ate more and more Japanese food at home as I learnt more and loved the food. I was completely obsessed with okonomiyaki and got everyone I know to teach me and show me how to make it.

The guts on the documentary talked some good heath figures. Here are some the figures worldwide for health impact of the Japanese diet.
“Obesity Rates – Japan 3.6%, Australia 28.3%, USA 35.3%, Germany 14.7%
Coronary Heart Disease (deaths per 100.000) – Japan 31.2, Australia 60.3, USA 80.5, Germany 75.0
Cancer (deaths per 100 000) – Japan 217.1, Australia 323.0, USA 318.0, Germany 282.9” Quoted from Craig research on the documentary. This just blows me away. I am such a statistics person and this speak loud clear. Why not try this and why not have some fun.

I am currently on school holidays and we are on Easter break. I need a plan of action.  I am going to start tomorrow.  I need a few rules about going Japanese. This is the plan.

Rules for the month:

  1.  Eat a full Japanese diet breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  2. Eat 150 grams of meat with my main meal.
  3. Half a cup of rice when eating it.
  4. Try nato at least once.
  5. I am not really a big fan of green tea but on the documentary it said it was full of magnesium and zinc!!!!! Hello there…. now that made me interested as magnesium and zinc rocks and especially when it’s in an actually food. Drink at least one cup of green tea per day along with the my usual tea in the morning, a cup of coffee and a decaf tea at night.
  6. Alcohol. I struggled with that and didn’t want to give alcohol all together so why not go Japanese with the alcohol. For the month I am only allowed sake and Asahi light Beer. Actually stop the bus any Japanese alcohol cause the last time I tried Japanese whiskey it was a long time ago.
  7. Snacks – edamame, nori sheets, nuts, ika (dried squid), fruits and vegetables.
  8. Deserts – only Japanese and once per week.
  9. Eat all my meals with chopsticks.
  10. Eat my meals in bento boxes or on Japanese plates.

I think this is not too full on and a good compromise to do this for a month. One month is not too long and not too short to get into the swing of things. Ultimately I would like to do 10 weeks but have commitment problems so don’t want to do a big call and fail. Bugger that pressure especially when I am doing this for fun.

Why am I doing this? A few reasons.
I love Japanese food and would love to be proficient in cooking it so why not do a full immersion and be forced to try new and exciting recipes.
Secondly the evidence for the health benefit absolutely too much to ignore. The list for the benefits of reducing my rates of cancer, obesity and heart disease are incredible compared to what we eat and don’t get me wrong I do eat really good. My diet is not high in sugar, processed food and I love my vegetable etc.
Thirdly, I love a good experiment and would love to see if there is a change in my weight over the month. Lastly, I am bored as bat shit of what I am doing now and the foods I’m eating. A good bit of inspiration will be fun to shake this up.

Wish me luck, you can follow my journey on Facebook or Instagram.  I would say Twitter but I am so hopeless at keeping up with this but will try.

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