Did you know that the famous Japanese tempura is of Portuguese origin?
Portuguese arrived for the first time to japan in 1543, by a strike of luck, since they were intending to go to Macau instead, but they ended up at the Japanese island of Tanegashima.
Our commercial relationship with Japan started here and trading began, until 1639 when Portuguese were banished of the country by the ruling shogun then.
But Portuguese had already left their mark – tempura became the trend!
Portuguese often eat green fried beans – peixinhos da horta – during Lent or Ember days, when the church dictated that catholics would have to go meatless. The word ‘tempura’ comes from the latin word tempora, a term referring to these times of fasting).
Also, it was a recipe often used by sailors, as a way to preserve the green beans during the long journeys, much alike to curating meat with salt.
The recipe is quite simple, just prepare a batter of flour, milk, eggs, salt, pepper, and fry the green beans that were previously rolled in the batter.
the Japanese lightened the batter and changed up the fillings. Today, everything from shrimp to sweet potatoes to shitake mushrooms is turned into tempura.
“The Japanese inherited the dish from us and they made it better,” famous Portuguese Chef Avillez said.
Many may not know, but Portuguese cuisine is actually one of the most influential in the world, with references in Macau, Goa, Malaysia, India, Brasil, inspiring dishes like Vindaloo, Debal, Feijoada amongst many others.
Food is just one of the many atractions of our unique bike tours, and if you’re lucky, maybe our Chef can prepare you is own secret recipe of tempura/peixinhos da horta!