Tempura needs the right conditions to excel…. a light chilled batter, sizzling hot oil and flavoursome vegetables. Along with a dipping sauce that zings.
I hope that this recipe fulfils all of that….
I used a gluten-free white plain flour blend. A 50/50 mix of rice flour and plain white all-purpose should work …
Keeping the oil at the right temperature is important. It needs to be very hot, but surprisingly, it can also be too hot. Ideally, when testing, add a drop of tempura batter to the hot oil, and if it sinks, and then rises immediately afterwards, it’s good to go.
Asparagus and Aubergine are great vegetables for this recipe because they have powerful flavours and cook quickly….. but of course, other vegetables can be used….
… but as we’re on the subject of Asparagus which has a short and intense season here in the UK… here’s another recipe from the blog ….
ASPARAGUS AND AUBERGINE TEMPURA WITH A SESAME AND TAMARI DIPPING SAUCE
- up to 1 litre of hot oil such as grapeseed oil (you could add a little sesame oil for flavour)
- 1 medium aubergine
- 200gms. Asparagus (young, thin spears)
- 2-3 tsps. salt
- extra flour for dusting
- 150gms. gluten-free flour
- 20 gms. cornflour
- 0.5 tsp. salt
- 0.5 tsp. baking powder
- 180ml. – 200ml. chilled sparkling water
- big handful of ice cubes
- 60ml. tamari
- 20 ml. maple syrup / or 15 ml. agave syrup
- 20ml. rice wine vinegar
- 30ml. water
- 2 spring onions
- 25 gms. sesame seeds
- Wash and finely slice aubergine.
- Lay slices out on a board and sprinkle evenly with salt.
- Leave for 20 mins. and then rinse thoroughly and pat dry with kitchen towel. This process helps remove any bitter flavours from the aubergine.
- Wash and trim asparagus.
- Pat dry with kitchen towel.
- Dust the vegetables lightly with flour.
- Mix tamari, maple syrup (or agave), rice wine vinegar and water together thoroughly.
- Dry roast sesame seeds in a heavy skillet for 2-3 mins. until golden and popping.
- Allow the seeds to cool for a few minutes and then add to the sauce while still warm.
- Wash, trim and finely slice spring onions.
- Add spring onions to the sauce.
- Set aside.
- Combine dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, cornflour, salt and baking powder/soda, and mix thoroughly.
- Place the ice cubes in a bowl wide enough for the batter bowl to sit on the ice cubes.
- Add the chilled sparkling water to the dry batter ingredients.
- Whisk thoroughly and quickly.
Bring everything together:
- Place an oven proof dish in a pre-heated oven : Gas Mk. 3 / 160 C to keep the tempura warm.
- Place a deep-sided robust pan on a high heat and add up to 1 litre of hot oil such as grapeseed oil. Enough to easily cover a layer of vegetables as they fry.
- When the oil is getting hot, test by dropping a small amount of tempura batter into the oil.
- When the oil is ready, the drop of batter will sink and then immediately rise to the surface again, sizzling.
- Working quickly, dip several flour-coated vegetables in the batter and transfer one by one into the hot oil. Use tongs. The oil is very hot! 🙂
- Don’t overcrowd the pan.
- Allow the vegetables to fry for 1-2 mins. turning them once.
- Remove from pan and place in the oven-warmed dish, lined with kitchen towel.
- Repeat the process until all vegetables are done. Whisk the batter occasionally.
- Adjust heat under the oil accordingly.
Serve immediately with dipping sauce, rice or a crunchy salad …as you fancy….