Yes, you heard me right. I found out about this recently after Liz read something online that spoke about three Portuguese explorers who introduced battered and fried green beens to the Japanese. Liz asked me if I knew Japanese tempura was based on this Portuguese food known as Peixinhos da Horta (translates to garden fishies). As far as I know, it isn’t common in the Azores, so I had never heard of it. Time to do some research.
During Portugal’s discovery era in the 16th century, the Portuguese took this recipe to Japan. The Japanese later modified the batter a little and applied it to a variety of veggies and seafood as we know it today. Today’s Japanese cuisine tempura is lighter and crispier than Peixinhos da Horta.
Since I’d never eaten Peixinhos da Horta, I had to do a bit of research before preparing my version of the recipe. Peixinhos da Horta are typically made with green beans, but some versions use red pepper or sweet potato.
The recipe worked really well. It was cool to prepare a delicious recipe that has a connection to Portugal which dates back over 400 years. People often say, “what’s old is new again”. True for me in this case.
Thilled to partner with our friends at Breville Canada again!
Breville has an amazing lineup of products and the Smart Fryer™ is no exception! I was so excited to try the fryer. When they informed me that it was on its way I immediately started my list of things I wanted to fry. We don’t deep-fry that often, but it’s nice to know that when I want to fry something, I have the perfect tool to do it with. The Smart Fryer™ is called smart for a reason. It has quite a few presets for popular foods so it takes all the guess-work out of frying. These include fries, wings, calamari and more.
You’re probably going to laugh, but the thing I was most excited about trying first were the fries – twice fried! In know…I know… you’re probably thinking, “It’s just fries. What’s the big deal?” Well, let me just say that not all fries are created equal. Blanching fries (the first fry) means cooking them in oil at a low temperature. The second fry is at a higher temperature. The second step colours them beautifully and gets them crispy on the outside. I’ve made fries in the past, but I never spent the extra effort required to double-fry them. But honestly, it was super easy with our Breville Smart Fryer™ since it has a preset for both steps. This fryer even knows how to maintain the ideal cooking temperature. It automatically raises the temperature when you place the basket of ingredients in the oil so that it doesn’t cool down below the ideal temperature. No guessing and adjusting the temperature on your own anymore. Simple. Safe. Super.
This is one smart machine! Stay tuned for more recipes using this fryer… I have a list of things I want to try (or should I say, fry).
Why not challenge yourself to try an old recipe? It doesn’t have to be 400 years old :-)… but as you can see here…it can be. As always, eat well, friends!
Portuguese Tempura (Peixinhos da Horta)
- 1 lbs fresh green beans washed and with the tips cut off
- 1 tbsp course sea salt for cooking the green beans
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 3 cups white wine
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- 2 to 4 litres vegetable oil depending one the vessel you're using to fry the tempura
- * Garlic sauce or tartar sauce optional to serve on the side
- Heat the oil in a fryer to 350 ºF
- Place green beans and 1 tbsp of salt in large pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until beans just start to to become tender, about 4 minutes.
- Drain the water and set the beans aside in a bowl.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and pepper.
- Whisk in the eggs, wine, olive oil and parsley.
- Add the egg mixture to the flour mix and whisk.
- Coat 5 or 6 beans at-a-time in the batter and carefully place them in the fryer. Note: careful not to over crowd the fry basket (or pot), to avoid the beans sticking to each-other.
- After about 1 1/2 minutes or once the tempura has a nice light golden colour, carefully transfer the peixinhos/tempura to a serving dish lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil.
- Repeat the last two steps until all the beans are used up.
- Serve hot and enjoy!