In Tokyo, it's called tempura. In Cistern, Texas, it's fried chicken.
We went to a restaurant in Tokyo recommended in the guide book. The specialty was tempura.
The place was one room. You sat at a bar in front of the chef. He would dip the fish or onion or whatever in flour, then iced water then in flour again. And then he would chopstick the snowy concoction into hot oil. It was delicious.
Last week we went to a church picnic in Cistern, Texas. The chefs behind the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church were cooking chicken. They would take their seasoned chicken, dredge it through flour, then dip it in iced water, then back through the flour.
Then, by hand (no chopsticks in Cistern), the guys would drop the chicken into hot oil (350 degrees) for 15 minutes. They called it fried chicken.
We called it country tempura.
It was good, and a lot closer to home than downtown Tokyo.
The chicken cooks came from the church in nearby Hostyn. The church in Cistern used to share a preacher with Hostyn and so the chicken fryers from Hostyn always pitch in when Cistern holds a festival, Patrick Janda told us.
That’s how things work in Fayette County.
So, remember the recipe. Whether you are in Tokyo or Cistern it goes like this: Flour, iced water, flour, hot oil.