I typed this up for a friend and realized I might as well put it out here since I took the time to type it up.
Vegetable Tempura with Dipping Sauce
We made tempura vegetables last night, waaaaay too many of them. Here’s the recipe, in case you are interested in our findings.
After some research, I found out that tempura flour is the way to go. So I went to our local Asian market and got some. We just chose the one that had the coolest packaging, heh.
For the batter, put 1 cup water in the freezer 10-15 minutes before you are going to make everything. We used the 10 minutes to chop everything up.
1 cup cold as you can get it ice water
1 cup tempura flour
In a bowl, give the egg a few stirs, then add the water and tempura flour. Slightly mix – the worst thing you can do is over mix this – it will make it heavy and greasy. There should be big lumps in it. Add an ice cube or two to keep it very cold.
Last night we went way overboard for the fixings – onion, zucchini, carrots, sweet potato, mushrooms, broccoli. Waaaay too much food. For the carrots and sweet potato, we just sliced it about 1/4 thick. Mushrooms were by far our favorite.
To make the tempura, heat canola or peanut oil (high heat oil) in your wok, or favorite deep frying implement. Put a bowl of just the tempura flour out. Dredge your veggie in the dry flour, then dunk it and cover it in the tempura batter. Fry until it looks done (not very long, actually) and then set it on a plate with paper towels to drain.
If you like the tempura dip that you usually get at restaurants – you can buy a commercial one in a bottle or to make your own:
Tempura Dipping Sauce:
1 cup dashi (see below)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (you might be able to get away with a sweet white wine or saki)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
For dashi – soak 1 stick kombu (seaweed) in 4 cups water. If you want it to be veggie dashi, add at least 4 dried shiitake mushrooms. Let it sit at least an hour (I do it over night when I am going to make miso soup). If you don’t care if it’s veggie, add 1/2 cup bonito flakes as well as the shiitake. It’s basically just a good broth base.
Brian thinks it’s just as good to dip tempura in soy sauce, so there you go. We’ve been eating a lot of Asian so I always have the mirin & dashi on hand so I make the dipping sauce too.
I was impressed that the sweet potato cooked so quickly. Next time I am going to do thin slices of winter squash – I had that at a restaurant once, and yum!