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Vegetable Tempura

2 spoon difficulty rating

40 minutes

Serves: 2-4

Vegetable Tempura

A delicious Japanese-inspired treat

This lovely dish is light and tasty. Once you have the batter made it's quick, especially if you have a deep-fat fryer. However, a deep saucepan or deep wok will also do the trick. Just make sure you get the oil hot enough before adding the battered vegetables - and drain well on kitchen paper. Make the dip in advance so you can get everything to the table quickly.

Top Tips

  • Make the batter in advance if possible. 
  • This works well using mushrooms only, served with a vegan garlic mayo dip. Buy it or make your own by mixing 1-2 crushed cloves of garlic with plain vegan mayo. We particularly like Follow Your Heart brand but there are plenty of others out there!

Ingredients: 

Batter

  • 180g/6oz fine wholemeal self-raising flour or gluten-free equivalent
  • 180g/6oz gram flour (also known as chickpea or besan flour)
  • 275ml/10fl oz water – sparkling mineral water works particularly well
  • Pinch salt

Vegetables to fry

  • Main course: 8-10 pieces of assorted vegetables per person
  • Starter: 4-5 pieces per person
  • Use a mixture of vegetables: eg mushrooms; red pepper rings; onion rings; carrot pieces (thin, cut on diagonal) and cauliflower all work well, as do plain tofu chunks
  • To fry – plain vegetable oil, at least 1.5L 
  • If using a deep-fat fryer, follow manufacturer’s instructions If not, use a deep pan and fill 1/3 with oil – at least 1.5L

Dip

  • 2 tbsp soya sauce - shoyu or tamari. Reduce amount by 1/2 tbsp if using tamari as it is more salty
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • ½ tsp grated root ginger.

Method: 

1. Sieve flours in a large bowl. Make a well and add water gradually, using a balloon whisk or stick blender to ensure there are no lumps. Make the dip now also and set aside. 

2.  Set batter aside while you prepare the vegetables. The pieces need to be small enough so they cook quickly in the batter but not so tiny or thin that they disintegrate. Aim to chop them into medium pieces – eg a piece of cauliflower should be about 3cm/1 ½ inches wide at ‘flower’ part.

3.Pre-heat the oven to a medium heat, about 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Have an oven tray ready, lined with kitchen paper.

4. Heat the oil. Do the batter test: put in a little dollop of batter. If it is hot enough it will float to the surface. If it sinks, the oil is too cool. Set aside.

5. Fry in batches of about eight pieces. Dip the first batch of vegetables in the batter, making sure they are well coated. Give them a quick shake to rid of any excess and, using the basket/slotted spoon, place carefully into the hot oil.

6. Fry the batch, tossing a little to ensure the pieces don’t stick together. Fry for a few minutes until golden brown. Use a toothpick to test if the most dense vegetable is tender – eg carrots will take longer than mushrooms.

7. Drain and transfer the vegetables on to the oven tray – use a chip basket or slotted spoon. Place in the oven and repeat the process, making sure the oil stays hot enough during the cooking process – if it loses heat the tempura will be soggy. Do the batter test again to ensure it is hot! You may need to skim the surface of the oil to remove bits of batter also. Serve hot with the dip and other dishes of your choice.

 8. Serve hot with the dip and other dishes of your choice.

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