I am completely addicted to tempura. The hot, crispy exterior stars in my dreams at night. It crackles deliciously in your mouth while the fresh, salty, tangy sauce hits your taste buds. I’ve used some of my favorite vegetables for this recipe, but feel free to try frying any vegetables you like, such as green beans, zucchini, pumpkin, peppers, or different mushrooms. Make sure to use vegetables which don’t have too high a water content or they’ll bubble dangerously when placed into hot oil. Keep your vegetable in strips or fairly large pieces for an ultimate dipping experience. If you’re looking to keep this gluten free, use soda water instead of beer, and either make sure that your soya sauce is marked gluten free or use tamari, which has a similar taste but is naturally gluten free.
Ingredients – Tempura
- ¾ cup rice flour
- ⅔ cup soda water or beer
- ½ tsp chili powder
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil
- Vegetables of your choice, cut into strips or large pieces
- Japanese eggplant
- Sweet potatoes
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Baby bok choy
- Tofu, well drained
Instructions – Tempura
Prepare your vegetables. Take a large pot and make sure that, when filling it with your vegetable oil, you go at least 3 inches up the side, and at least 3-4 inches from the top. This will keep your deep frying experience safe! Place on the stove over high heat while you make your tempura batter.
Whisk together the rice flour (which is much lighter than regular flour), soda water or beer, and chili powder. Check to see if your oil is hot enough by dipping the back of a wooden spoon into the pot. If bubbles form around the base of the spoon, you’re ready to start frying. I do one kind of vegetable at a time in order to keep the cooking time even. Dip your vegetables into the batter, shake off excess batter, and place into the hot oil using a slotted spoon.
Cook for a few minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towel in order to drain off the excess oil. Repeat with all the vegetables/tofu and enjoy hot with the dipping sauce. Leftover tempura also reheats quite well in a toasted oven or regular oven.
Ingredients – Dipping Sauce
- 2 scallions, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
- ¼ cup soya sauce or tamari
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Instructions – Dipping Sauce
Mix the scallions, mint, soya sauce, and rice wine vinegar together and enjoy with the tempura! Leftover sauce is also great sprinkled scantily atop rice.
I like to reuse my frying oil around three times, since it’s much more economical and ecological than throwing it out after one use. Once the oil is cooled, I take a large jar, fit it with a wide mouth funnel, then place a strainer a top and ladle my oil through. If you have a lot of little bits that make it through your strainer, keep the strainer there, but place a cheesecloth/j cloth on top of it. This will slow down the process, but will catch all the bits.