Monday, January 4, 2016

Vegetables Tempura with Soy Ginger Sauce

** And I am totally aware of how Not Awesome these photos are - I had a wonderful assistant taking photos for me, while I was cooking, and it is really really hard to get fancy food blog photos at 8pm at night - Sooooo, please excuse their imperfection and embrace how Real they make the blog **

I hope you make these, and I hope you really really enjoy them. They are really easy to throw together and super yummy (and pretty fun).  

*But we only made them because we were trying to work our way through a Huge HUGE leftover veggie tray (actually several veggie trays) from the holidays. 

You should really make them, they're pretty fun. I know deep frying your vegetables seems like a really terrible idea, but it is actually a pretty darn good idea. 

So you'll want to start by chopping your veggies, or gathering all the leftover veggies from your fridge. 

I used: Broccoli, Zucchini, Bell Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms, Snap Peas, Sweet Potato, Cauliflower. you can also use cabbage, green beans, baby corn, if you are in doubt, I would totally fry it.  I did however decide not to fry radishes, cucumbers and I really debated on pickles, but I ran out of batter. 

What You Need

Vegetables of your choice (see above)

Store bough mix of Tempura Batter
water.... very cold water)

Canola Oil


Electric deep fryer OR large cast iron pan with lid
Small flat whisk
Medium mixing bowl

Mix your batter according to the box directions. Just be sure to use really really cold water. This will give the batter longer in the oil and it will absorb less oil (and therefore make your veggies less "greasy")

When you are mixing it, just moisten the dry mix - it will be very very lumpy, but you really don't want to risk over-mixing. So err on the side of lumpy. (see those scary lumps!) 

Then toss all your veggies into the batter, and give them a gentle stir. The mushrooms sunk, the broccoli was super easy to pick out, we had 2 different shapes of carrots but it makes for much easier cooking if you don't have to do that extra step. 

Bring the oil in your deep fryer or Dutch oven/cast iron pot to 360°F. Some electric fryers only allow you to increase the temperature in specific increments, so if that's the case, go for a lower temperature and longer frying time for root vegetables and a higher temperature for things like broccoli that won't require as long of cooking.

Next, lift vegetables out of the batter with your whisk (tongs, chop sticks or a large slotted spoon can also work with success) and allow them to drain slightly, scraping the back of your whisk on the side of the bowl to remove excess. 

Drop vegetable pieces into the oil one at a time, ensuring that they don't touch. Most everything will immediately sink to the bottom (although mushrooms float). 

Use a spider strainer or long handled utensil (like a metal skewer) to loosen them and keep them moving. This will allow them to cook evenly on all sides. 

Cook root vegetables for 4 minutes and all others for 3 This time might differ if your oil is at a different temperature.

When you remove them, set them on a few layers of paper towel to absorb the excess oil. 

For the sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp dry sherry
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ginger
1 lemon, zest only

Mix together and gently heat through, either on the stove top or in the microwave.