Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Radiused Corner Year - And How To Make Fake Tempura!

Welcome to A Radiused Corner. This month of June marks my 1st anniversary.

If you're a first time visitor.. Basically I'm a student of learning more of what I eat. I enjoy photo-documenting these meals and to later go about casually researching it. But for the most part what I write are thoughts and ramblings. Another motivation for this blog is that I hope one day my future kids, grandkids and their grandkids will find it all amusing. I certainly wish I had a resource to tap into to see and learn what my grandparents or even distant ancestors ate for lunch!

Since my very first post was a food related crafts topic, I thought it'd be appropriate to do the same for today.

How to make fake tempura:

I know there are a lot of fake food fans out there like myself. For me the only thing cooler than a nice snap shot of your favorite bowl of Pho or Katsu Curry in a perfect natural light setting would only be the same but a Three Dimensional object of it magically suspended in space/time. Of these I found out that the tempura was a relatively easy thing to create. The batter part anyway, so you'll have to do some searching or be a little creative to what you actually make into a fake tempura. But that's also the fun part.

*But before I begin a huge disclaimer warning: Please be careful since you will be dealing with melting and handling a good quantity of wax which is very very hot.*
Obviously if you are a minor you must have the supervision of an adult.

What you need:

Wax. I found this for a few bucks at IKEA which turned out way more than I needed. Good news is that the color of a light tempura batter looks very similar to that of natural candle wax so chances are you won't need to color it.

Set up:

First melt the wax slowly under a very low flame. Careful not to burn it. Any smoke would be a tell tale sign. I discovered that this IKEA candle was only off-white colored on the outside and bright white in. In retrospect I would've added more color. A few shavings from a light brown wax crayon should do the trick.

Next you need to prepare a large container with fairly warm water. This is where you will be drizzling the hot wax to turn into a fried tempura batter like texture. The water should be warm and not uncomfortably hot. This temperature will let the wax harden enough but still remain plastic for wrapping your soon to be tempura'd items. How exciting.


And this is where the "relative" part of my relatively easy description comes in.. This may take a few practices to get down. I'm personality not satisfied with what I've semi-hastily done for this post as well but..

Drizzle the hot wax from about two feet away from your water container (in a somewhat controlled manner and not Jackson Pollock style). Since I did a poor job of photographing the whole process, watching this YouTube clip I found would be very helpful.

I transferred a small portion of the hot wax to a paper cup. Made a pointy spout by pinching its lip. Move the drizzle around so to make a blanket large enough to wrap the object. Again this will take some practice to get right.

A note that the pretty tempura side is facing down so place the object accordingly into the blanket of wax and wrap it around teasing it to the shape desired. The timing and the delicate handling may be tricky at first. The overlapping portion will be the backside and hidden. Fyi, the Ultraman tempura did not work out despite my huge expectations. :(

Gently lift out of the water and voila! You have a fake tempura-fied object. Set aside to let the wax completely cool and water to evaporate.

I definitely could've benefited with more color so that it doesn't look like a glob of candle wax. I also got the batter a bit heavy on this Daiku Maryu..

But they're in season and very fresh. Pfff.

If I were smarter I would've used a green candle so it at least looked like an asparagus or green bean but oh well. And while I'm at it I'd color the wax more so it's a light golden brown. Next time?

Also found this blog page while researching the subject of fake food creation. There they also show the making of wax iceberg lettuce, but you gotta see that meat birthday cake! Gross!

So even if you don't immediately go about creating tempura candles just this minute I still hope you found this somewhat entertaining. I had fun. And lastly I want to thank everyone that have supported me and left many kind comments over the year! Cheers.


caninecologne said...

hi dennis! congrats on your first year blogaversary! :)

KirkK said...

Hey Dennis - Looks good enough to eat....but I'd hate scrapeing the waxy residue off my teeth!

meemalee said...

Happy 1st Bloggiversary Dennis!

Here's to many more!

meemalee x

ps thanks for inspiring me :)

Dennis K. said...

Thanks CC! It's been fun.

Hi Kirk, yes it'd be a cruel prank to play on someone, haha.

Hi meemalee, thanks and same here!

imjustatree said...

excuse me sir, but i happened to go thru ur blog from mmm yoso and perhaps i had seen it earlier, but all i have to say is this: massive food porn. i love all your pictures and your long detailed posts. i look forward to perusing your archive when i finish finals. congrats!

btw i still have yet to try that sd pot pie place...wish i had gone when i went to school down it 24 hours by any chance?

Dennis K. said...

Hi HWMNBN, thanks for the compliment! And to think I really force myself to pare down the photos I upload, haha. I think SDCPS' hours are ~10AM to 8PM. They're definitely not open for breakfast. Anyway I hope you don't expect too much except a feeling of time travel.. ;)

Mike said...

Happy anniversary, Dennis. Looking forward to year two!

Masa Assassin said...

Happy 1 Year yeah!!! That tempura stuff was cool.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Mike, thanks and looking forward!

Hi MA! Thanks as well. I really need to start posting more on cooking Real food, haha.

Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary! That candle is so cool!

Dennis K. said...

Thanks cabcooks! I actually ate at Kayaba in Mitsuwa yesterday and the already little pride that I had was completely crushed studying their "real" fake stuff.. haha.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Happy blog birthday! How much do I love that you did a fake food post for it? Japanese fake food really is the best.

Dennis K. said...

Hi WC! Though I may send mine back to the kitchen.. ;)

Anonymous said...

Happy belated 1st! Totally dug the DIY fake tempura instruction. The link you provided with the fake lettuce was outstanding; you're right, that meat pie looks nasty.

Dennis K. said...

Thanks BB, I wasn't completely happy with the results but there's always next time.. ;)