Light and fresh, crispy and vibrant, vegetable tempura is the perfect supper for a week night or a special weekend treat accompanied by spring onion pancakes (I use this recipe) or teriyaki tofu. The key to crispy, light tempura batter is ice cold sparkling water and mixing the batter at the very last moment before frying.
You want the batter to be pretty runny, we’re not making pancakes here. It’s a quick dip in the batter and straight into the hot tub! The vegetables come out crispy on the outside and crisp tender on the inside, although mine didn’t seem to have much flavor. The dipping sauce made up for that, but I think maybe getting a bit creative with the batter might be worthwhile.
Use whatever vegetables you want, just make sure you cut them all roughly the same size and it is nice to be able to tell what they are after you fry them. There are suggestions to coat the vegetables in cornstarch before battering, but it seems like a lot of faff for not much reward so skip that step if you want. The point is that with nothing more than some flour, sparkling water and a few vegetables, you can make a dinner that looks and tastes great!
Bon appetit (without the meat)!
2lbs mixed vegetables (roughly), chopped into medium pieces
1/2 cup Self-raising Flour
1/2 cup Cornflour
1 cup Sparkling Water (unflavored!)
Oil for deep frying
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar, or more to taste
1 1/4″ slice Ginger
1/2 Red or Green Chilli (optional)
2 Green Onions, finely sliced
1. Heat oil to 180°C (375°F). While the oil heats, make dipping sauce. Leaving the ginger and chili whole (or halved) means they impart their flavor without making the dipping sauce chunky and hard to use. It also means you can take the chili out when the sauce reaches the right heat for you.
2. Mix together self-raising flour, cornflour and salt.
3. When oil is hot, add sparkling water to flour mixture and stir to combine.
4. Working in batches, drop the vegetables in the batter and coat completely. Let excess drain off and drop gently into the oil.
5. Check the vegetables after 3-4 minutes and turn if necessary to brown evenly. Most vegetables should take between 5-7 minutes to cook through.
6. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season and keep warm in a low oven if necessary. Repeat until all vegetables all cooked and serve straight away.