Monday, August 19, 2013


My Mister decided to make sushi for dinner on Sunday, and we thought it would be fun to invite friends over.  With company coming, we needed something besides sushi to fill everyone up, so I decided to try something new.  Tempura veggies.  

Image Credit:

I've never made them before, so I started googling and found a couple of recipes that looked promising, and combined them a bit and came up with this:

The key to good tempura is the batter. You want it to be light and runny you aren't making fish sticks.

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg
2/3 cup ice cold seltzer water or gingerale

Put the egg in Ice Water and mix with chopsticks. Don't mix it perfectly. Dump all of the dry ingredients in. Give it a few choppy mixes with chop sticks. Don't attempt to blend all of the items together. It has to be lumpy for a true tempura texture. Dip and then fry until golden brown.

I doubled the recipe so we'd have plenty, and it was just barely enough to fry a good sized zucchini, an onion, a sweet potato and several mushrooms.

Once I had the recipe I needed a little more understanding of the How To, and found this website that walked me through all the steps (it's also where the picture came from since we ate ours up too fast to take a picture):

1. Prepare Vegetables
You can tempura fry just about any vegetable you have in the kitchen. In this case we used mushrooms (halved), onions (peeled and sliced), sweet potato (peeled and sliced into rounds), and broccoli florets (from the freezer, no preparation required!).
Other suggestions might include: Bell peppers, carrots, cabbage, green beans, snap peas, cauliflower, baby corn.
2. Heat Your Oil
Bring the oil in your deep fryer or Dutch oven/cast iron pot to 360°F. Some electric fryers only allow you to increase the temperature in specific increments, so if that's the case, go for less temperature and longer frying time for root vegetables and a higher time for things like broccoli that won't require as long of cooking.
3. Prepare the Batter
In a medium to large size mixing bowl, add the rice flour and seasonings (if you wish). Next add the club soda, ensuring that it is cold before mixing. You're looking for the consistency of pancake batter. It should be loose enough to coat things easily, but not drip off completely on the way to the fryer. If the batter is too thick, add club soda or ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture loosens. If too thin, add rice flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Bubbles are good, lumps are bad, make sure to mix thoroughly!
4. Coat the Vegetables
Most vegetables can be tossed in the batter bowl ahead of time and allowed to sink a little to coat each one. It's far easier than hand dipping, which means of course that you have one batter covered hand the entire time (not always awesome). Toss items in and help them sink or roll to be coated with the batter. A flat whisk works wonders for this.
5. Fry the Vegetables
Next, lift vegetables out of the batter with your whisk (a fish spatula or large slotted spoon can also work out with success) and allow them to drain slightly, scraping the back of your whisk on the side of the bowl to remove excess. Drop vegetable pieces into the oil one at a time, ensuring that they don't touch. Most everything will immediately sink to the bottom (although mushrooms float). Use a spider strainer or long handled utensil (like a metal skewer) to loosen them and keep them moving. This will allow them to cook evenly on all sides. Cook root vegetables for 4 minutes and all others for 3 This time might differ if your oil is at a different temperature.
6. Remove From Oil
Remove your freshly fried pieces from the oil with a spider or the basket the unit comes with (though truth be told, we like to use the spider no matter what we're cooking in). Place them on a few layers of paper towels to allow remaining oil to drain. Give them a light sprinkling of salt and allow to cool slightly.
7. Return Oil to Temperature
Before dropping in your next load of veggies, make sure your oil comes back up to temperature. If it doesn't, things can get a little soggy and although they'll still be tasty once removed from the fryer, they will be a little greasy instead of crispy and chewy.
8. Repeat
Continue repeating steps 4 through 7 above until all of your vegetables have been coated, fried and hopefully enjoyed! This is a great way to entertain — simply tell people you'll provide the oil and ask them to bring a few of their favorite vegetables and gather round the table! Fry, nibble and chat away and let the good times roll!
Additional Notes:
• On Club Soda: Try tossing your club soda into the freezer while your oil heats up. It will be enough time for things to chill without freezing, allowing you to have perfect tempura pieces coming out of your fryer for longer! The colder the batter, the crispier your crust and less soggy your veggies will be!

No comments: