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posted: 10/17/2012 6:06 AM

Catfish Tempura with Fennel Fried Freekeh

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  • Chuck Federic seasoned catfish in Korean barbecue sauce before dipping it in tempura batter.

      Chuck Federic seasoned catfish in Korean barbecue sauce before dipping it in tempura batter.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer


Catfish Tempura

3 catfish filets (about 1 pounds) cut into 3-inch strips

1 cup Ying's Korean BBQ Marinade

2 cups flour

2 egg yolks

cup ice cold water

Vegetable oil for frying

Fennel Fried Freekeh

1 package (8 ounces) original Freekeh

2 cups vegetable broth

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

8 green onions (chopped bottoms, save tops for garnish)

1 cup sliced carrots

1 bulb fennel, sliced into strips

pound snow peas

cup Ying's Korean BBQ Marinade

2 eggs

For the catfish: Put the catfish in a nonreactive container and coat with 1 cup of Ying's Korean BBQ Marinade; let stand 1 hour.

In the meantime, make the Freekeh: In a medium saucepan, empty package of Freekeh and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached. Add salt to taste. Let cool

Place the oil in a wok or large skillet, preferably nonstick, and turn the heat to high. A minute later, add the garlic, green onion bottoms, carrots, fennel and show peas and cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove vegetables from wok or skillet.

Reduce heat a little bit and into wok add the Ying's Korean BBQ marinade and cooked Freekeh; stir frequently for 2 minutes.

Make a little whole in the center of the Freekeh and pour in the eggs. Mix gradually, until eggs are cooked. Add the cooked vegetables back to the skillet and cook 3 more minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

To cook the catfish: Pour vegetable oil into large heavy skillet or saucepan, filling no more than one-third full. Heat oil to 375 degrees on medium heat.

In a bowl, stir together egg yolks and iced water, mix well then blend in flour. Pat marinated fish pieces dry and dip into batter; shake off excess batter.

Carefully add several pieces at a time to hot oil and fry 3-5 minutes or until golden brown, turning once, drain on paper towel, salt to taste.

Serve tempura-dipped catfish with fennel fried freekeh on the side.

Serves four.

Cook's note: If you would like the Freekeh a bit more spicy, I recommend Siriacha sauce or your favorite hot pepper.

Chuck Federici

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