Time for tempura: Traditional and modern recipes for the Japanese favorite

No one knows for sure the origins of the Japanese word “tempura,” but one theory is my favorite.The word is written with three picture characters: Ten, which is also the first part of the word for heaven; pu indicates a woman; and ra is a type of woven silk gauze.Put them all together and you end up with something like “woman clad in silk gauze, giving a glimpse of heaven.”That may be outdated, but it’s not a bad description of tempura — a delicious nibble fried in a light, gauzelike coating.Tempura is all about the lightness of the coating; the more ethereal the better. It should be delicate …

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