Fancy Snacking: Tempura Veg

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Looking to impress a friend, or even a date? Finally run out of freebie snacks from the fresher’s fair? Try something new and get a little fancy with tempura veg!

I always feel like Japanese cuisine is one of the most daunting to attempt and so I, personally, found this recipe a good entry point. What makes it so great for sharing is that it’s so malleable. It gives you space to experiment with different vegetables and dipping sauces to test how the flavours combine. I tried using broccoli, pepper and courgette and would have them all again. The head of the broccoli was able to absorb loads of batter, while the pepper and courgettes looked like a fun play on chips and crisps.

These tempuras act as a great way to step your deep-frying skills up one more level. There are a few important lessons you can get out of this. The temperature difference between the oil and vegetables will affect how it cooks, so the ice-cold water will result in a crisper batter. Test if the oil is ready by dropping a piece of the batter into the pot; if it’s hot enough, the batter should rise to the surface after a couple seconds, at this point you can reduce the heat to low. Finally, and most importantly, don’t overcrowd your pot. Be willing to do your vegetables in multiple batches because this will end in a better result.

Serves about 4 snack portions, depending on vegetables used, with a 25-minute cooking time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of breadcrumbs or 3 slices of bread
  • Vegetables
  • 225ml ice cold water
  • 1 egg
  • 140g plain white flour
  • 300ml oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Total: £2.54

Method:

1) If you don’t have store-bought breadcrumbs, toast your bread slices for one and a half minutes, cut off the crusts and either pulse them in a blender a couple of times or tear them into half centimetre pieces. Then put these in a bowl and fill half of another bowl with flour.

2) Chop your vegetables into regular bitesize pieces.

3) Pour oil into a pot at high heat.

4) While the oil is heating, whisk together the water and egg until it’s foamy. Then mix in the flour until the batter is just about combined (there should be some lumps).

5) Reduce the oil’s heat and prepare your vegetables by dipping them into your flour bowl, then into your batter and finally into your breadcrumbs.

6) Put your battered vegetables into your oil for two and a half minutes, flipping halfway through.

7) After two and a half minutes, line a baking tray with paper towels, then remove your vegetables from the oil, draining as much as possible above the pot, then place them on the baking tray to drain further.

8) Leave the vegetables to dry for a couple minutes and serve.

Luke Webb