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Chris Amirault

Tempura--Cook-Off 22

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I am most definitely looking forward to learning this technique! Thanks for the response.

The technique I've seen is to dip your fingers in some batter and flick it onto the tempura as it is frying and floating in the oil. That way you get "strands" extending from the tempura.


Edited by sanrensho (log)

Baker of "impaired" cakes...

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I am most definitely looking forward to learning this technique! Thanks for the response.

The technique I've seen is to dip your fingers in some batter and flick it onto the tempura as it is frying and floating in the oil. That way you get "strands" extending from the tempura.

Easier way is to dip the chopsticks you are cooking with in the batter and pat it through the length of the prawn or around the vegetable for this effect.

Also, so the prawn doesn't curl, after de-veining lengthwise, make horizontal cuts across the back. Then gently press down to flatten before dipping in the batter.

For batter, I use cake flour mixed with cold water and an egg yolk.

And for dipping sauce; instead of the traditional sauce (shoyu, mirin, sake, etc.) try it with lemon juice or yuzu juice mixed with a little salt for something different.

Thanks and Regards!


Edited by Obese-Wan Kenobi (log)

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Hiroyuki   

I made tendon for supper tonight, with one major change in the initial plan - not kuruma ebi but black tiger shrimp, which were on sale (one pack of 16 pieces for 880 yen) yesterday. Sorry guys, but I'm not made of money.

First, I made tendon sauce:

gallery_16375_5_20623.jpg

100 ml water

1/2 tbsp instant dashi powder

50 ml soy sauce

50 ml mirin

1 tbsp sugar

Dashi/soy sauce/mirin/sugar ratio = 2:1:1:0.1, which is quite a typical ratio for tendon sauce.

When preparing shrimp, don't forget to cut the tail end and remove water from the tail.

gallery_16375_5_33718.jpg

Everything's ready.

gallery_16375_5_20788.jpg

8 shrimp

Sweet potato

Kabocha

Asparagus

My first attempt to produce flowers on shrimp tempura:

gallery_16375_5_25503.jpg

Total failure! I used a tenkasu skimmer to imitate a shallow bottom, but the tempura stuck on the net. :shock::sad::sad: I should have known better.

For my second attempt, I thought of placing a cooking sheet on the net, but I changed my mind and decided to see what would happen if I just put droplets of batter on the tempura.

gallery_16375_5_67237.jpg

There is much room for improvement. I somehow managed to produce flowers on the upper side only.

Asparagus:

gallery_16375_5_7087.jpg

I wanted to include shishito (a type of green pepper), but because my children don't like them, I used asparagus instead.

Kabocha:

gallery_16375_5_3167.jpg

I like kabocha tempura best next to sweet potato tempura.

Sweet potato:

gallery_16375_5_6125.jpg

My absolute favorite. :wub: Sweet potato tempura has to be thickly coated (with thick batter) and deep-fried at low to medium temperature for a long time (four minutes or longer) to bring out the sweetness.

Pieces of tempura assembled into tendon:

gallery_16375_5_20883.jpg

First, sprinkle some sauce on rice in the bowl, put pieces of tempura one by one in the pot of sauce, and place them on top of the rice. Sprinkle additional sauce on the tempura.

I believe that tendon with its thick "amakara" (literally sweet and salty but actually soy sauce + mirin (and sugar) flavored sauce is one of the tastiest dish that Japanese cuisine has to offer.

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Very useful pictorial! When you put the droplets onto the shrimp, did you do it just with a finger or chopstick? And why do you think it only worked on one side -- or were you unable to turn the shrimp to coat the other side?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Hiroyuki   
Very useful pictorial! When you put the droplets onto the shrimp, did you do it just with a finger or chopstick? And why do you think it only worked on one side -- or were you unable to turn the shrimp to coat the other side?

I used my chopsticks for mixing batter (the thick ones shown upthread).

I never thought of turning the shrimp while putting droplets of batter. :sad: Come to think of it, you are right. I should have done that. But the instructions that I found on the Internet didn't say to turn it...

Next time, I will try to make better-looking shrimp tempura, with better skills.

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Hiroyuki   
Next time, I will try to make better-looking shrimp tempura, with better skills.

and with a better tempura flour:

gallery_16375_5_1093.jpg

I'm going to make some tempura again on December 31, as an accompaniment to soba. (It's customary in Japan to have soba for dinner (or after dinner) on New Year's Eve.)

The tempura flour shown above contains wheat flour, starch, yolk powder, baking powder, emulsifier(!), and coloring agents.

gallery_16375_5_49411.jpg

I didn't know this, but I googled and learned from one site that an emulsifier is required to produce "needle-like, fine flowers" on tempura.

I hope that my shrimp tempura will turn out OK this time.

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Hiroyuki   
First, I made tendon sauce:

gallery_16375_5_20623.jpg

100 ml water

1/2 tsp instant dashi powder

50 ml soy sauce

50 ml mirin

1 tbsp sugar

Dashi/soy sauce/mirin/sugar ratio = 2:1:1:0.1, which is quite a typical ratio for tendon sauce.

Oops, found a careless mistake.

Not tbsp but tsp

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Hiroyuki   

On Dec. 30, I went to the same supermarket and took some photos of tempura.

Shrimp, sweet potato, and kabocha tempura, prepackaged:

gallery_16375_5_93246.jpg

Kakiage and shrimp tempura:

gallery_16375_5_94596.jpg

Closeup of shrimp tempura:

gallery_16375_5_36785.jpg

Apparently, the shrimp tempura was made with a different tempura flour because the "flowers" on the pieces are bigger than the ones on the tempura I posted upthread.

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Hiroyuki   

On New Year's Eve, I made tempura for dinner, as an accompaniment of soba. It's customary to have soba for dinner (or after dinner) on this special day. Such soba is called "toshikoshi soba" (year-crossing buckwheat noodles).

I used the tempura flour I showed upthread.

gallery_16375_5_48404.jpg

You can use a whisk to stir it!

You don't need cold water. You can use tap water!

And you can let it sit!

What great features!

Results:

gallery_16375_5_26539.jpg

It's hard to tell from the picture, but I succeeded in producing "needle-like, fine flowers" on the pieces, all around for some pieces and unevenly on one side only. It was so difficult to put droplets of batter, turn it upside down, and put droplets again within the initial 20 to 30 seconds of the total frying time of about 1.5 to 2 minutes. Besides, I should have thicken the batter to produce more pronounced "flowers".

Renkon (lotus root):

gallery_16375_5_6295.jpg

Cut in 5-mm (0.2-inch) thick slices, soak in water with a little bit of vinegar to prevent discoloration. Thinly coat with batter and deep-fry at medium temp. (170 C = 338 F) for 2 min.

Sweet potato:

gallery_16375_5_9815.jpg

Can you tell the difference in texture from the ones made with a normal batter?

I must say that despite all the great features of that tempura flour, I still prefer the tempura made with the same old batter. The coating with the tempura flour is flimsy and brittle.

So, I will make no more attempts to produce better flowers on my tempura.

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Hiroyuki   
First, I made tendon sauce:

gallery_16375_5_20623.jpg

100 ml water

1/2 tsp instant dashi powder

50 ml soy sauce

50 ml mirin

1 tbsp sugar

Dashi/soy sauce/mirin/sugar ratio = 2:1:1:0.1, which is quite a typical ratio for tendon sauce.

Oops, found a careless mistake.

Not tbsp but tsp

I found another error. :shock::shock:

The proper amount of sugar is 5 g, which is equivalent to 1 1/2 tsp sugar, not 1 tbsp.

Moderators: Could you make the corrections in my initial post and delete this post and post #57 to eliminate clumsiness?

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Hiroyuki   

Some notes on tempura making:

In my tempura and tendon sessions, I used mirin-like seasoning and instant dashi powder. If you find them off-putting, simply replace them with real mirin and real dashi. If you decide to use real mirin, be sure to boil it for some time to remove alcohol. If you find dashi making overwhelming, you may find this simple recipe useful.

Here is a nice site that provides videos showing how to prepare shishito and shrimp.

Click the 8th photo from the bottom to view how to make holes in a shishito with a bamboo skewer to prevent it from explosion during deep-frying,

7th photo from the bottom to view how to peel a shrimp,

6th to view how to remove water from the tail,

5th to view how to devein a shrimp using a bamboo skewer,

4th to view how to make cuts on the belly of a shrimp, and

3rd to view how to make a batter.

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Hiroyuki   

My next mission: Make tempura restaurant-style, light and crispy shrimp tempura. :cool:

Overview of the recipe:

Batter:

1.5 cup (= 300 ml) hakurikiko (cake flour) with a gluten content of 6.5 to 9%

1 yolk

2 cup (= 400 ml) cold water at a temperature of about 5 C (41 F)

This results in a thin batter. Needless to say, the thinner the batter, the thinner the coating.

Also note: The thinner the coating, the less the protection from oil heat, thus the shorter the deep-frying time.

Dust shrimp with flour, and shake off excess flour. (Excess flour will result in heavy tempura.)

Dip shrimp in the batter and deep-fry in the fryer at high temp. (180 C = 356 F) for less than 1 minute, until the shrimp feels light. The shrimp will be still raw at the core and continue to cook with residual heat. Serve immediately, or crispness will be lost.

(Be sure to deep-fry one piece (or two) at a time.)

I don't know when I can try this recipe. I'll do it when I can get kuruma ebi or black tiger shrimp cheap. In the meantime, anyone interested in trying my recipe? If you are a novice, I recommend making some attempts using other cheap ingredients like fake crabmeat sticks.

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Hiroyuki   

Sorry, no shrimp tempura today.

I went to another supermarket today, and found these big pieces of lotus root tempura sold for 50 yen per piece:

gallery_16375_5_57280.jpg

Each measures almost 15 cm (6 inches) long and 1 cm (0.4 inch) thick. I cut each in half and served with hot udon noodles. Yum!

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Hiroyuki   
My next mission:  Make tempura restaurant-style, light and crispy shrimp tempura. :cool:

Special ingredients for tonight's dinner:

gallery_16375_5_79607.jpg

Flower shrimp (right), which are a type of kuruma ebi, and special soba containing fu-nori (a type of laver), a specialty of my region in Niigata prefecture.

Thin batter:

gallery_16375_5_39086.jpg

2 cup (= 400 ml) cold water

1.5 cup (= 300 ml) weak (cake) flour

1 yolk

As you can see, it's very lumpy.

I made shrimp tempura (ebi ten), kaki age, sweet potato tempura (imo ten), and chikuwa's iso age in that order. Chikuwa are tubular surimi products, and iso age is tempura made with batter containing ao-nori (a type of laver).

Piece of shrimp tempura, deep-fried for about one minute, and cut in half immediately.

gallery_16375_5_25422.jpg

As you can see, it's still raw inside. Considering the size (diameter) of the shrimp, I think I should have deep-fried for about one and a half minutes. Anyway, I tasted another piece, and found it was very hot and tasty.

gallery_16375_5_31230.jpg

They all look good, light and crispy.

I asked my wife to start eating, together with the kids, but she said she'd wait. By the time I finished making all tempura, the shrimp tempura turned cool. My wife said it had no flavor. I thought so too. I was convinced that this type of tempura should really be served hot.

Chikuwa's iso age:

Add some ao-nori to the batter.

gallery_16375_5_7746.jpg

Results:

gallery_16375_5_11382.jpg

Conclusion: Tempura restaurant style shrimp tempura is real tasty, but requires a special setup in which you are devoted to making tempura and other diners are devoted to eating it as soon as it is served.

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Shaya   

Hiroyuki you have just made me very hungry for tempura. You have done some great work on this thread. Your food and explanations are just wonderful.

Tempura can be tricky - from the batter to the frying, there is room for trouble. We used to make it with our friends years ago, and I recall the trickiest part was not allowing the batter to turn golden - this goes against the goal of all other deep-frying we do. But it's worth it in the end.

My kids really enjoy it when we go out for Japanese food. My little guy loves the sweet potato and my older guy loves shrimp. I would like to make a meal of it - what do you suggest I serve with it to round out the meal?

A question regarding the shrimp - do you make the cuts on the inside of the curve, and do you make them in the direction of the head?

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Hiroyuki   
Hiroyuki you have just made me very hungry for tempura.    You have done some great work on this thread.  Your food and explanations are just wonderful.

Tempura can be tricky - from the batter to the frying, there is room for trouble.  We used to make it with our friends years ago, and I recall the trickiest part was not allowing the batter to turn golden - this goes against the goal of all other deep-frying we do.  But it's worth it in the end. 

My kids really enjoy it when we go out for Japanese food.  My little guy loves the sweet potato and my older guy loves shrimp.  I would like to make a meal of it - what do you suggest I serve with it to round out the meal?

A question regarding the shrimp - do you make the cuts on the inside of the curve, and do you make them in the direction of the head?

In Japan, when you order a tempura course at a tempura restaurant, you are often asked whether to finish the course with tendon (tempura donburi) or tencha (a bowl of rice with tempura on it, over which tea is poured).

Other than that, tempura is usually eaten with hot rice or cold soba (buckwheat noodles) as accompaniments or with hot soba as toppings. In that case, you just round out the tempura meal with hot green tea (plus some fruit or other).

(I wonder if I answered your question properly...)

As for your next question, the inside (belly side), to prevent curling. You may want to make shallower cuts on both sides too to make sure the shrimp does not curl at all.

Tempura is surely different from other fries. Tempura making is difficult even for native Japanese. No wonder there are restaurants specializing in tempura in Japan.

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Hiroyuki   

This is not made by me, but I just wanted to post a photo of it:

gallery_16375_5_53056.jpg

"Tara no me", shoots of the tree called "tara" (Aralia elata in English).

I'd like to post a photo of "fukinoto" (butter bur sprout) tempura in late March or early April.

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Hiroyuki   
I'd like to post a photo of "fukinoto" (butter bur sprout) tempura in late March or early April.

I was unable to make "fukinoto" tempura for some reason or other.

My son had been craving for yomogi (mugwort) leaf tempura for some time. He actually picked up some yomogi leaves on the river bank last Saturday and asked me to make some with them, but I was too busy then. Today, I asked my son to pick up some yomogi leaves. He came back 15 minutes later with this:

gallery_16375_4595_23878.jpg

I bought a pack of frozen kisu (a type of smelt).

gallery_16375_4595_60918.jpg

For demonstration purposes, I made three different types of yomogi leaf tempura.

Yomogi leaves coated on both sides:

gallery_16375_4595_15022.jpg

Deep-fried at 160 C for 2-3 min.

Yomogi leaves coated on the lower side only:

gallery_16375_4595_53665.jpg

Deep-fried at 160 C for 1.5-2 min.

Shredded yomogi leaves plus ko-ebi (small shrimp) kakiage:

gallery_16375_4595_54893.jpg

Deep-fried at 160 C for 2-3 min.

Kisu:

180 C for 1.5-2 min.

No photo.

Supper:

gallery_16375_4595_43361.jpg

Hot soba (buckwheat noodles) in a donburi (large bowl) with tempura. We topped the soba with the tempura before eating. The soba soup is easy to make: Simply boil a 12:1:1 mixture of dashi, soy sauce, and mirin. I sprinkled some shichimi togarashi (spicy condiment in the small bottle).

A key to success to tempura making is to make sure that each item to be deep-fried is dry (free from moisture on the surface) before coating with tempura batter. Use paper towels, if required. Otherwise, it will take more time to deep-fry than necessary.

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Hiroyuki   

I ran across this video showing how to make vegetable tempura:

http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-make-vegetable-tempura

I'm no expert on tempura, but even I can tell that this recipe is strange in some points, at least to native Japanese like me.

1. 250 g of flour and 150 cornflour (cornstarch in American English)? That's 37.5% cornflour. You can't get the authentic texture with that high percentage of starch.

2. Make tempura batter first and then heat the oil? This must be the other way around.

3. Add water to the flour and cornflour? You should add flour to water.

4. Grated ginger for garnish besides grated daikon? Hmm... Should I say innovative?

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Hiryuki, what's yomogi leaves in Korean? Would you happen to know? I'd like to prepare that kind of tempura once I know what kind of leaves you used.


Edited by Domestic Goddess (log)

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Hiroyuki   
Hiryuki, what's yomogi leaves in Korean? Would you happen to know?  I'd like to prepare that kind of tempura once I know what kind of leaves you used.

Sorry, I don't. Someone else (maybe SheenaGreena) may know. You can only use young leaves around May and June.

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Hiroyuki   
Hiryuki, what's yomogi leaves in Korean? Would you happen to know?  I'd like to prepare that kind of tempura once I know what kind of leaves you used.

Sorry, I don't. Someone else (maybe SheenaGreena) may know. You can only use young leaves around May and June.

SheenaGreena says that the Korean word for yomogi is souk.

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Nargi   

Maybe I'm grossly mistaken on this, but I've never used eggs or any part thereof to make my tempura batter. I use AP flour (rice flour if it's available), baking powder, ice-cold water (seltzer if on hand), and a little bit of sesame oil. It's the recipe in The Professional Chef. I used it in culinary school and since then, and it's served me well enough. One thing I noticed is that my coating is light, fluffy, but crunchy on the outside, they tend to be a decently even coating, somewhat smooth. Not at all patchy or "flowery" as I've seen in this thread. Would this maybe just be "battered" and not tempura? I'd appreciate any insight.


I've never eaten a Hot Pocket and thought "I'm glad I ate that."

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Hiroyuki   
Maybe I'm grossly mistaken on this, but I've never used eggs or any part thereof to make my tempura batter. I use AP flour (rice flour if it's available), baking powder, ice-cold water (seltzer if on hand), and a little bit of sesame oil. It's the recipe in The Professional Chef. I used it in culinary school and since then, and it's served me well enough. One thing I noticed is that my coating is light, fluffy, but crunchy on the outside, they tend to be a decently even coating, somewhat smooth. Not at all patchy or "flowery" as I've seen in this thread. Would this maybe just be "battered" and not tempura? I'd appreciate any insight.

So, you basically mean that your tempura is fritter-like? Tempura is NOT fritters. The texture is very different. And, as I mentioned way upthread (on page 1?), my wife likes to make sweet potato tempura with egg-less batter with some salt in it so that the tempura can be eaten without dipping sauce. Her tempura does not differ considerably in texture from normal tempura. So, I think that your procedure for making batter is somewhat different from the proper one. Not overmixing is one key. Besides, sesame oil is not used to make tempura batter in Japan. As for flour, hakurikiko (lit. weak flour) with a gluten content of 6.5 to 9.0% is used. Judging from what they say in the Japan Forum, cake flour is similar to hakurikiko. AP flour has a content of 7.5 to 10.5% (right?).

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Hiroyuki   

I made fukinoto tempura for supper tonight at long last.

Don't confuse fukinoto (flowering stalks) with fuki (leaf stalks).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuki

gallery_16375_5796_82392.jpg

Sweet potato, gisu (Pterothrissus gissu, deepsea bonefish), and store-bought(!) fukinoto. I had never thought of buying fukinoto at a store in my rural city. The thing is, since we moved to a new house three years ago, we hadn't been able to find the right place to get clean(!) wild fukinoto. When we lived in a resort condo in the mountains, fukinoto were just everywhere around us. When my son and I went shopping together yesterday, he saw packs of fukinoto for sale at a store, and he said he wanted to buy some, so we did.

But today, my son found some nice wild fukinoto on his way back from school. So, I ended up tempura'ing a total of 23 fukinoto, big and small. (It was my son, not me, who counted the the number of fukinoto.)

Tempura'ing in progress:

gallery_16375_5796_52058.jpg

Done:

gallery_16375_5796_40865.jpg

After I finished tempura'ing the fukinoto, sweet potato, and fish, I got this amount of tenkasu:

gallery_16375_5796_51753.jpg

One fukinoto, dipped in the dipping sauce:

gallery_16375_5796_3343.jpg

I added a pack of dried ko ebi (small shrimp) and the tenkasu shown above to the remaining tempura batter, and pan-fried it.

gallery_16375_5796_11261.jpg

This okonomiyaki-like thing should taste good. I think I'll have it for lunch tomorrow, with beni shoga (red pickled ginger), ao nori (a type of seaweed), bonito flakes, and yakisoba sauce (I'm out of okonomiyaki and takoyaki sources).

I used only hakuriki ko (low-gluten flour), eggs, and water to make tempura batter. No other additives added, like starch or baking powder.

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      According to the University of Illinois Extension Office, summer squash, (also known in some circles as Italian marrow), are tender, warm-season vegetables that can be grown anytime during the warm, frost-free season. Summer squash differs from fall and winter squash, (like pumpkins, acorn and butternut squash), because it is harvested before the outer rind hardens. Some of the most popular summer squash are the Green and Yellow Zucchini, Scallop, Patty Pan, Globe, Butter Blossom and Yellow Crookneck.

      My personal favorite summer squash is the versatile zucchini. Slow-cooked with sliced onion and ham hock, zucchini is perfectly comfortable nestled on a plate next to juicy, fried pork chops and creamy macaroni and cheese. But the chi-chi haute crowd isn't forgotten when it comes to zucchini, or, as the sniffy French call it, the "courgette." Tiny, spring courgette blossoms stuffed with herbs and ricotta cheese then dipped in tempura batter and gently fried are a delicacy found on Michelin-Star menus across the globe.

      Won't you please join me in crafting some delicious masterpieces that showcase the culinary possibilities of delicious summer squash.
    • By David Ross
      Welcome back to our reknowned eGullet Cook-Off Series. Our last Cook-Off, Bolognese Sauce, led to a spirited discussion over the intricacies of the beloved Italian meat sauce. Click here for the complete eG Cook-Off Index. Today we’re launching eGullet Cook-Off 58: Hash, the classic American diner dish.
      Yet what appears as a humble, one-name dish is anything but ordinary. The difficulty in defining “Hash” is exactly why we’ve chosen it for a Cook-Off—simple definitions don’t apply when one considers that Hash is a dish that transcends regional and international boundaries. The ingredients one chooses to put into their version of Hash are limitless--we aren’t just talking cold meat and leftover potatoes folks.
      I for one, always thought Hash came out of a can from our friends at Hormel Foods, (as in "Mary Kitchen" Corned Beef Hash). It looks like Alpo when you scoop it out of the can, but it sure fries up nice and crispy. After a few weeks of research in the kitchen, I’ve experienced a new appreciation for Hash.
      So start putting together the fixins for your Hash and let’s start cooking. Hash, it’s what’s for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
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