Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Grape leaves for Tempura!

I read an article in a local paper about a family that grows grapes for leaves. According to them, the leaves are so good that they wait for them rather than for the grapes.

I decided I need to try....we have Thompson in our backyard, which is a good kind for leaves, the paper says. So I picked some. Young, soft and thin (almost transparent) ones are good for eating.

Then I realized that the paper didn't have the recipe! I had Google a little. I found a Greek cuisine that rolls ground meat with grape leaves, but I was not going to use meat.

So I decided to deep fry them.

Actually, they were good! Soft yet crunchy and have a hint of sweet....probably grape?

I can't help thinking this should be good for Tempura!

Tempura is one of the Japanese dishes that are difficult to find authentic one. "Cost-effective" Tempuras are unnecessarily fat with coating and overly greasy. That is not Tempura.

The real Tempura needs fresh and tasty ingredients, thin coating, good oil and good frying technique. It's not really a home dish. My product above is pretty miserable compared to the picture here...I had hard time to deal with the thin leaves. I couldn't straighten them easily and they turned brown so quickly. Even though they tasted good, they could be much better! I was envisioning something like the green leaf in this picture.

Well, I need a Tempura chef. I dream of good grape leave Tempura, that is not greasy, just crunchy and light. Arrhh!

If you would like to try your grape leaves, it seems like May is the best season in California. The leaves get too hard in June. Googling some more will take you to some more recipes, or, since the leaves are pretty docile, you could be creative and invent your own dish.


Photo at the bottom: panduh


Bird said...

I am very tempted to try this idea, although I doubt the vine leaves in London will be sweet enough to work well :)

eco-samurai said...

Thank you for your comment! If the leaves look thin and young and you can see the veins clearly, they could be worth trying... I am just amazed to find that we can eat what we don't usually think is edible.

Anonymous said...

I have eaten grape leaves in Greek restaurants and prepared the ones sold in a can, but never thought to pick the fresh leaves! Great idea.
Vegetarian Greek dolmas are excellent. I can't find my recipe so you will need to google. The grape leaf is stuffed with a rice mixture and baked. I mix spices and currants in the rice and bake with tons of lemon. The combination of sweet, spicy, and salty is delicious, but lots of work to roll up!