Vegetable Tempura Recipe from Vegetarian Sushi Secrets
When making tempura, you must be mindful of the following three temperatures: oil, batter, and vegetables. Use a deep fryer thermometer to check that the temperature of the oil stays between 335 degrees F (168 degrees C) and 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) to prevent sogginess. Meanwhile, keep the batter cold to produce a lacy and light coating. Vegetables should be at room temperature to minimize the drop in oil temperature when frying.
Below, I’ve presented some of my favorite vegetables for frying tempura style. Substitute any of your favorite vegetables. If you have a vegetable that will not cook fully during the 2 minute frying process, blanch it first. When it is almost cooked, dip it into ice water to stop the cooking process. Dry it off before continuing on with the tempura frying process.
Makes 4-6 appetizer servings
- ½ small yellow onion, peeled
- 2 Japanese eggplants
- 8 Shiitake mushroom caps
- 8 ounces asparagus, blanched
- 8 lotus root slices, peeled and blanched
- 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into 2 inch lengths
- ½ avocado, peeled, deseeded and cut into 8 wedges
- 8 shiso leaves (perilla)
- 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon daikon radish, grated
Vegan Tempura Batter
- ½ cup (75 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (75 g) potato starch or cornstarch (corn flour), plus more for dusting
- 1 cup (125 ml) cold carbonated water
- Handful ice cubes
- Pinch of Salt
- Oil for frying
- Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a skillet or wok to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- To prepare the onion, insert a toothpick or short skewer through the onion. Repeat 3-5 more times every ¼ inch ( 6 mm), depending on the size of the onion. Cut the onions into slices between the toothpicks or skewers. Set aside.
- To prepare the Japanese eggplants, cut each in half lengthwise. Make three long cuts in each half to produce a fan shape. Set aside.
- To prepare the Shiitake mushroom caps, use a sharp knife to remove a cross hatch section from the top of each cap. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, potato starch, carbonated water, and salt. Add the ice cubes. The batter will be thin.
- Dredge a few pieces of vegetables in potato starch and shake away the excess.
- Dip the vegetable pieces into the cold batter. You should still be able to see the vegetables through the batter.
- Gently slide the dipped vegetables into the hot oil. Be careful not to drop ice into the hot grease. Fry pieces until crisp, about 2 minutes. The eggplants will need to be flipped over and fried for about 4 minutes.
- Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on a wire rack. Discard beads of batter that float in between batches.
- Repeat steps with remaining vegetables.
- Arrange tempura pieces on a platter. Serve with warm soy sauce along with grated daikon radish and ginger on the side.