Tempura Vegetables with Ginger Soy Sauce
I love ordering tempura veggies from the Japanese place nearby. The vegetables are perfectly cooked and coated in total decadence. Look, these are a splurge meal - they're vegetables yes, but the batter has a beer and vodka in it and they're fried in oil. But, sometimes, it's just worth it.
I was pretty sure tempura batter and frying vegetables was going to be difficult and time consuming - I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is actually a reasonably simple recipe. The trick was getting the batter the right consistency, and learning how large to cut the veggies. (also, oh my, it's hard to take pretty photos of tempura! sighs)
I chose to use a mix of bell peppers, green beans, red onion, and zucchini. I cut everything to the sizes below and it worked well. Be careful with the zucchini and red onion - too little and all you taste is the batter, but too large a piece won't cook well. For the zucchini, cut it no more than finger width, and the red onions, about the same.
You can use any other veggies you like with this recipe. I've had it with cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, eggplant, yellow squash, etc. But, I really, really recommend the red onion. It's just the best. The onion's consistency in tempura is phenomenal.
I tried a few different batter consistencies and I'm very happy with the one I've written up for you below - it's light enough that you don't get overwhelmed by batter, but thick enough that it stays on the vegetables. The vodka and beer add the lightness to this recipe, and the wonderful little bubbles.
If you don't drink alcohol, you can achieve a very similar affect with soda water. Just remove the alcohol and add the same amount of fizzy water.
Tempura veggies do NOT keep well in the fridge. Once you make them, you need to serve them. So if you don't want to make four servings, half or quarter this recipe.
Tempura Vegetables with a Ginger Soy Sauce
Makes 4 servings | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes
5 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 bottle (12 ounces) light beer
2 tablespoons vodka
pinch of salt
1 zucchini, sliced (finger width lengths)
1 red onion, chopped (1 inch width)
1 - 2 large bell peppers, sliced (finger width lengths)
3 to 5 baby bell peppers, sliced, optional
15 to 20 green beans
4 tablespoons scallions, optional
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1 inch ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped scallions, optional
Mix all the ingredients for the sauce and let it marinate to combine flavors.
Heat the oil to 325 degrees F in a large, heavy bottomed pan over high heat (the oil needs at least a 2 inch depth, add more or less depending on your pan) Meanwhile, add the flour, beer, vodka, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine till there are no lumps.
One at a time, drag the vegetables through the tempura mixture and shake off any excess. There should be a light coating over the whole vegetable piece.
Once the oil is ready, gently add the vegetable pieces to the pot. Do not overcrowd - vegetables should not touch each other.
Let each piece fry for 2 to 3 minutes, flip them over at least once with tongs. If the oil gets too hot and starts sputtering, lower the heat to medium high.
Remove vegetable pieces when they are golden brown. Lay flat on paper towel, so the excess oil is soaked up. Continue till the vegetables or batter run out.
Serve with the ginger garlic soy sauce. Sprinkle with scallions (optional).