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Taiwan is a melting pot. We were ruled by the Japanese government for fifty years. The arrival of the Japanese in 1895 brought an array of ingredients ranging from seaweed and raw fish to tempura and miso. Most of our elders speak Japanese, and Japanese food is my comfort food. When I was little, tempura was a treat that I looked forward to indulging in every time my dad or grandma took me to a nice Japanese restaurant. I can never resist the crunchy feeling of a tempura shrimp in my mouth. Never! Now I am in my thirties, and those crunchy treats bring me back to my childhood. Every time I see a plate of tempura shrimp, my eyes light up with joy and excitement.
Brownies were a novelty for me, but for Robin, they were a huge part of her childhood and spark happy memories. Just like tempura is my weakness, brownies are Robin’s weakness. She also loves fried food. “If you fry it, I will eat it,” she said. So here we are, the tempura brownie—an Asian twist on an American confectionary classic. You can’t go wrong!
125 grams (4.5 ounces) 70% dark chocolate
85 grams (6 tablespoons) butter
150 grams (¾ cup) sugar
40 grams (¼ cup) flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups ice water
Apollonia N29 for dusting
Oil for frying
Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan, whisk until glossy and smooth.
Beat the eggs and sugar in a mixer with the whisk attachment until light and fluffy. The mixture should be pale yellow.
Add in the melted chocolate mixture. Mix until combined.
Combine the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl.
Add the dry ingredients to the mixer.
Mix just until combined and a smooth batter is formed.
Spray a loaf pan liberally with non-stick spray.
Add in the brownie batter.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20–30 minutes. (You want them to be slightly under-baked, so they are easier to scoop later.)
Let the brownies cool completely then scoop brownie balls with a cookie scoop.
Preheat fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beat egg in a bowl until smooth.
Add the ice water and whisk to combine.
Add the flour and cocoa and whisk lightly to combine. Do NOT overwork the batter.
Working in batches, dip the brownie balls in the batter and then carefully place them in the oil.
Fry until crispy, timing will depend on your oil temperature and the size of the brownie balls, go for a nice golden brown color.
Remove to a rack over paper towels to drain, then dust with Apollonia N29.
The oil from tempura can be cooled, strained, and re-used, until it acquires too strong a flavor.
La Boîte Tip: Try serving these with balls of ice-cream for a hot and cold sweet treat.