how do you judge a good tempura batter?
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Most, if not all tempura batters will use very cold water and a mixture of flour and rice flour.
We include the addition of alcohol in ours, grappa to be exact. We are making fritto misto, not tempura. Basically the same thing though.
We use equal parts cake flour, rice flour and an egg with ice cold seltzer water and grappa.
The best way to tell if your batter is great is if the food is still crispy when it gets cold. That is the standard for us.
I use white rice flour and cold beer. I'll add paprika for color, salt and white pepper as well.
The feel of the batter is one of those things that takes practice.
To loose and the batter doesn't coat well.
Too much batter and the finished product becomes too chewy.
I agree with the comment that a well made tempura stays crunchy even once cooled.