Just like traditional tempura, this should not sit around as it quickly goes soggy, so the trick is to have the vegetables and batter prepared before you start to heat the oil. A half and half mixture of beer and water produced the best result after experimentation; it tasted far too beery without the water, but with it the flavour was more subtle. A nuance of beer sets the batter on a different trajectory without drowning it. Practically any vegetables (except potatoes) are good for tempura. There are many recipes available detailing different combinations of flours but the important thing to remember if you want to experiment is that you do need raising agents (baking powder, fizzy water) if you are using a plain flour.
2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced
1 medium cauliflower, broken into small florets
4 leaves of kale, washed
1 head of broccoli, broken into small florets
115g gram flour
115g corn flour
2 tsp baking powder
150 ml fizzy water from the fridge
150ml beer from the fridge
1 tsp salt
sunflower oil for deep frying
- Put kitchen paper on 4 or 5 plates in readiness for the hot vegetables.
- Sift together the dry ingredients, then make a well in the centre.
- Pour in the beer and fizzy water, whisking as you go until everything is well combined.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan (about 4 cm high) until bubbling but not smoking; test a smidgeon of batter in it; if it puffs up and goes brown, it is ready.
- Submerge a few of the vegetables in the batter and gently toss to coat, then carefully lower into the hot oil using tongs, making sure you allow plenty of room for the batter to puff up. Keep checking the oil – turn the heat off if it seems as if it is starting to smoke, turning on again when necessary.
- Once the battered vegetables are a golden brown, remove with a strainer (the wider the better) and lay in a single layer on the prepared plate.
- Continue in this way until you have battered all the vegetables; they only take about 3 minutes so you don’t have to worry about the waiting veg getting cold.
- Transfer to a pretty plate and serve with plum sauce or sweet chilli sauce.
Based on an ASDA shop, if you have to buy everything from scratch, including the sunflower oil and flours, this would cost around £9.75, unless you have a beer in the fridge already.