" My Stepmother Is an Alien" Extra Terrestrial Tempura

The following recipe was featured during the presentation of My Stepmother is an Alien during TBS's Dinner & a Movie.

You will need:

For the Tempura

  • 8 jumbo shrimp
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2" rounds
  • 1 yellow onion, halved lengthwise and cut into 1" slices
  • 10 medium mushrooms, stems trimmed
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, sliced on the diagonal in 1" slices
  • 10 green beans, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 bunch green onions, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 canned lotus root, cut crossways into thin slices (optional)

For the Dipping Sauce

  • 1/3 cup sake (or Japanese mirin cooking wine if available)
  • 1/3 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup clam juice (or Japanese dashi, if available)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp red radish, grated (or Japanese daikon if available)

For the Oil and Batter

  • 1/2 cup sesame oil
  • 3 cups soy oil
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 3 cups ice water
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 sopping wet designer sportscoat, preferably with electrically conductive brass buttons (pocket monogram and ascot optional)


1. Prepare the shrimp: Shell and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Make three or four 1/4" incisions on the inside of each shrimp to prevent them from curling up as they fry. Rinse in cold water, dry with paper toweling and set aside.

2. Prepare the vegetables: Cut each vegetable as indicated above, dry well and arrange on a tray or platter.

3. Prepare the dipping sauce: In a small saucepan, bring the sake to a boil. Ignite with a match and shake gently while the alcohol burns off. Add the soy sauce, water, clam juice and sugar and return to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm. Grate the ginger and radish and set aside.

4. Prepare the oil: In a large heavy saucepan or deep fryer, combine the sesame oil and the soy oil and heat to a temperature of 340-360- F. (test the oil temperature by dripping a few drops of batter into the oil. If the oil is hot enough, the batter will sink part way down into the oil, then rise very quickly to the top)

5. Prepare the batter: In a medium mixing bowl, lightly mix one egg yolk together with one cup of the ice water. Add one cup of the flour all at once and fold the flour into the egg mixture with just a few strokes until the ingredients are only barely combined. Important -- The batter should remain very lumpy. If mixed until smooth the result will be a thick, heavy coating.

6. Set up an assembly line: Arrange all tools and ingredients from left to right around the cooking area as follows: a) dry shrimp and vegetables to be fried b) remaining sifted flour c) tempura batter d) hot oil e) slotted spoon and chopsticks f) draining rack or paper towels.

7. Fry the tempura: Each piece of food to be fried should be dredged in flour with the excess shaken off, dipped quickly in the batter and fried 2 to 3 minutes until golden, turning once in the oil. Remove from the oil with tongs or slotted spoon and drain briefly before serving. Use the batter as quickly as possible, mixing more only as it is needed.

8. Eat: Add the grated ginger and radish to the dipping sauce. Dip each piece of hot and crispy tempura into the sauce and consume. If your mission went as planned, it should taste out of this world.

9. Science safety tip: If your fryer is equipped with a Kleistron tube, never let the oil rise above 360-F (ruining a batch of tempura is one thing, but destroying the atmosphere of a neighboring galaxy is universally considered very poor form in anyone's cookbook.)

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