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Recipe: Vegetable Tempura

My all time favorite food is shrimp tempura, but since I cannot eat shrimp anymore, I’ve settled for vegetable tempura. I was totally surprised that it was delicious and packs its own surprising twist to the traditional ebi (shrimp) tempura. It’s super easy to cook, too!

I just thought I’d share this recipe for those who want to cook something healthy for their family. The kids won’t even know that those are veggies! :)

Ingredients for the Tempura Batter:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour (I use gluten-free flour due to diet restrictions)
  • 2/3 cup super cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt because it’s more nutritious)
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil (this is optional)

Vegetable Ingredients:

You can actually throw in whatever veggies you like, but I usually use the following:

  • 2 carrots
  • 2 bell peppers (green or red will do)
  • 5 asparagus
  • 3 jicama (this is singkamas in tagalog. and yeah…it’s wrong to refer to singkamas as turnips)

Ingredients for the Tempura Sauce:

  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce (better if you can use kikoman)
  • 2 teaspoons mirin (mirin is japanese vinegar, adding it is optional)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (I use mascovado instead of brown sugar. If using mascovado, make this 3 tablespoons only.)
  • 6 tablespoons grated radish
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger (you can adjust this according to taste)

Other Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 cups of the healthiest frying oil you can get…or afford. :)

Prepare the Tempura Batter:

Mix the cold water, salt, baking powder, egg, and sesame oil in a bowl. Add the flour bit by bit, until you have a somewhat thick batter. Be careful not to over-stir the batter. It’s good to leave a few small lumps of flour because it gives the tempura it’s unique look.

Prepare the Vegetables:

You can slice your veggies your own way. For presentation purposes, I slice my veggies as thin as I can slice them, while maintaining a length of 3-4 inches. Toss all the veggies together in a bowl.

Prepare the Tempura Sauce:

Boil the water, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar together. After it reaches aboil, turn the fire off and put in the grated radish and grated ginger.

Cook Your Tempura:

Put your frying oil in a deep cooking pan/dish or a wok. The oil should be about 2 inches deep. After 5 or so minutes, see if your oil is hot enough. How? Take a small dollop of the tempura batter and throw it into the oil. If it rises quickly, that means your oil is hot enough; otherwise, you have to wait some more.

Using chopsticks, or whatever you have that comes near to it, get  a handful of mixed veggies, dip it into the batter, and dip it the oil…releasing it from the chopsticks gently. After 30 seconds, you can take it out from the oil and drain it on paper towels.

Viola! You now have your vegetable tempura! Serve with tempura sauce. Best when eaten with rice. :)

If you want a visual instruction on how to cook your vegetable tempura, you may want to view the video below. However, we sort of differ in the recipe in some way, and even in the cutting of the veggies. I noticed she cooks her veggies one at a time because they come in big slices. As mentioned above, I slice mine like match sticks, mix them, and put the mixed handful into the batter, then into the oil. They come out more fun to look at, I think. Hehehe!

Signs: Best 12-Minute Video I’ve Ever Watched

I thought I’d post this video because it evokes a multitude of feelings — loneliness, despair, disbelief, hope, wonder, excitement, warmth, fulfillment, and love. I must admit that even with the abundance of soap operas around, it is very seldom that I am able to experience a surge of multiple emotions from them — I think, not yet.  But when this video came, it totally held my attention for the whole 12 minutes. I didn’t even want to blink!

I hope you’ll appreciate this video as much as I did. The director is brilliant, and the actors gave just the right touch of charm to the whole script. And did I mention that this is a silent film?! The background music says it all. This is one of those films that’ll be hard to shake off. :)


There…I hope this video took you out of your auto-pilot mode. :)

My Valentine Wish List

Paging my husband, Mike Sumulong…you have got to read this! :) :) :)

If you’re not Mike, it’s ok..go on and read. You will be amazed how much Valentine’s Day helps our economy. And more importantly, I may be able to help you put together a nice Valentine date for the one your adore. :)

Wish 1: Experience a Dose of Culture

Wouldn’t it be nice to do something different this year? I have been hearing about the Old Manila Walks for some time now, and I would definitely want to try it. The people behind Old Manila Walks will take you through the best of historic Manila by foot. You can choose from any of their five available tours, namely: Intramuros, Chinatown, San Miguel, Chinese Cemetery, and FEU. For those who are undecided, their Halo-Halo tour might be the best one for you.

Wish 2: Dine in a Pre-war Mansion

No, this is not because of my love affair with ghosts inhabiting old mansions and castles. This is more of my wanting to experience how the rich Filipinos circa 1930’s dine and wine. What better place to experience this but at the well-preserved Legarda mansion at San Rafael Street in Manila. At La Cocina de Tita Moning, you can partake of the Legarda heirloom recipes using the family’s antique china, glassware, and silverware. You will also be given a tour of the whole mansion afterwards. I especially like them because they operate by reservations only, which means that I don’t have to wait long to be seated. More importantly, they do prepare special meals for those with diet restrictions like me and your grandparents. Hehe.

Wish 3: Shop and Dine in Opulence

Now, this one, is because of my immense love for malls. There’s this buzz about Adora, a department store tucked away at Greenbelt 5 Makati, which has its own cafe. It does not only boast of housing world-renowned brands, but also has opulent interiors to match. It is strategically located, too…like a secret cove where you can take your secret date. Hihihi. The food selection aren’t bad, too. But I think I’d rather go there for dessert and wind down with a good conversation.

Wish 4: End the Day in My Favorite Restaurant of All Times

I cannot imagine ending this day anywhere else but in Vieux Chalet, of course! My favorite restaurant in the heart of Antipolo City does not only give you gastronomic dishes, but one of the best views of Manila. Perched on top of a hill, you have Manila skyline as your backdrop when dining at Vieux Chalet. And have I mentioned that their Lamb Shoulder with Cafe du Paris sauce is to die for?! If you’re unsure of what you want to order, you might be better off ordering their Special Valentine Meal for Two:

VIeux Chalet Valentine Menu 2009

So there, that’s it for me! Now I cross my fingers and wait. Hihihi. :)

How about you…how would you like to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?

Who’s on YouTube?

I love YouTube for the simply reason that I hate following written recipes. I’d rather see the meals prepared in front of me, which makes YouTube recipe videos quite a treat — I guess I’m one of those visual types. :) But hey, I recently changed my diet and I am no longer eating cooked food as much as before…so I had to explore YouTube further just to preserve its appeal to me. Hehehe!

As expected, there are a lot of videos about famous people there, but I didn’t realize that some of them actually signed up for an official YouTube page! After a quick browse, I found three interesting people who have official YouTube pages:

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

His Excellency Barack Obama

Interesting…interesting. I wonder who else who’s on the same league as these people has his/her own YouTube page? Hmnnnn… :)

Cure for Endometriosis

Thanks to endometriosis, I was able to sample the much acclaimed St. Luke’s Hospital experience and expense. :)

I had to go under the knife last Jan 23, with Dr. Elsie B. Pascua at the helm of my surgery. Dr. Pascua is an infertility expert who was highly-recommended to do my pelvic laparoscopy. She meticulously and methodically cauterized and blasted away the endometrial cyst in my left ovary and some other parts of my reproductive system. Ugh.

Just when I thought that I’m free to go back to my old laid-back life, Dr. Pascua said that she’s no longer going to negotiate with Mike and I on when to have a baby…we have to have it NOW! What terrible timing, really. Just when we are about to leave the country and all the comforts I’ve known since I was little, I  have to emancipate at the same time?! Good luck to me! But, babies are adorable…so I’m open to the challenge!

You might be wondering what’s endometriosis and why I have to race against time to have a baby. Hmnnn…let me see how I can put this to simple terms:

Endomet is a medical condition wherein tiny particles that are similar to what you have inside the womb, found their way outside the womb. Pretty abnormal, isn’t it? And just like the tissue inside the womb which is shed out in the form of menstruation every month if a woman doesn’t get pregnant, these stray particles also try to shed out their blood…only, the blood has nowhere to go! Apparently, they cannot find their way out of the body….my body, in this case. Because of this, the particles get really inflamed and cause a lot of pain and cramping. In my case, I am lucky to have unbelievable levels of pain tolerance. All I can feel is a dull pain on my left pelvis, no excruciating pain whatsoever. This is the reason why my OB and I were both surprised that I have stage 2 endometriosis. God is really good. :)

Ok, now for the baby part, they say that endomet makes a woman infertile for some unknown reason that experts have to research further. But studies show that after having a surgery, the chances of getting pregnant within the next 6 – 12 months increases by 60%. I guess my OB wants me to ride on this really great statistics, and I trust her. So there…I will busy myself on this whole baby-making task ahead of me this February. Hehehe! If all else fails, we go for in-vitro fertilization. Ah, I love science and technology!

Now, here is the most important part of this blog post. Doctors usually say that endomet is incurable. You’re just going to have them over and over again…until pelvic laparoscopy is just like a trip to the mall for you. In fact, a lot of stage 4 endomet patients have total hysterectomy. Yikes! I was truly saddened after hearing this seemingly life sentence for endomet patients like me…and we are like 70 million in the whole world as per recent statistics! But I have this nagging feeling that our body has the capacity to heal itself so I raided the Internet and found these awesome websites : Endo-Resolved and Endometriosis Clinic. They confirmed my thoughts that there is really a solution for this terrible disease — the Endo Diet. The diet is pretty tough because you have to give up meat, wheat, dairy, and sugar. Basically, it tells you to eat like a rabbit. Not a good prospect for a chocolate lover like me. :( But then again, I want to keep my ovaries and uterus until the day I die…so yeah, I’ve plunged into this endo diet without second thoughts.

I hope the website I’ve cited above will help you in embracing that little alien in your tummy which makes your life a living hell. It’s not so bad after all. Remember, we all have to die of something somehow. :)

Oh, for those who have infertility issues, Dr. Elsie B. Pascua may be consulted at:

St. Luke’s Medical Center

Suite 1109 North Tower

Cathedral Heights Building Complex

279 E. Rodriguez Sr. Ave., Quezon City

Tel Nos. 723 0101 ; 723 0301 local 5109

Clinic Hours: Mon – Sat  10:00am – 12:00pm / 2:00pm – 5:00pm