Sunday, November 22, 2009
天麩羅, or, tempura, was introduced to Japan in the mid-sixteenth century by early Portuguese missionaries and traders. That's a little surprising, don't you think? Most people know it's lightly fried vegetables and fish. But did you know that the word tempura comes from the word "tempora," a Latin word meaning "time period" used by both Spanish and Portuguese missionaries to refer to the Lenten period or holy days when Catholics avoid meat and instead eat fish or vegetables (Wikipedia). The Compact, Online Oxford English Dictionary (the OED is the authority on these things,right?) suggests that the word comes from the Portuguese tempêro ‘seasoning’. Whatever the origins of the word (and I do love etymology), we had delicious tempura last night thanks to my step-son. He stood over a pot of boiling oil for a good hour and a half, frying up onions, broccoli, green beans, sweet potato, and other veggies that we gobbled up as fast as he could crisp them in his wok! Dipped in wasabi mayonnaise or a soy-based Asian seasoning dip or a chipotle mustard sauce....delicious! Loved it and loved getting out of the house (finally!) and enjoying time with family :) Woke up with another stuffed head and nose, but it was worth getting out and enjoying life...being sick sucks.