Kaki-age is usually made with sliced sweet onions, carrots, grated squash, spring onions, and green beans all tossed in a bowl of tempura batter and dropped in generous dollops into a pan of bubbling oil. In some parts of Japan, bits of assorted seafood – shrimp, crab meat, squid, cuttlefish, and then some – are added to make it more savory. Local Japanese joint Teriyaki Boy has a spicy variant with pulverized red pepper in the batter and a hot dip made with soy sauce, shichimi togarashi, and chili oil is served on the side. However, such incendiary delights are not for me.
I prefer my kaki-age as one of a properly varied assortment of tempura atop a bowl of rice. However, on my low carb days, I also like it when it’s served as part of a selection of vegetable tempura (as seen in the little platter from Fukuya) above. There’s just something so satisfying about vegetables prepared and served in this manner.