300ml ice-cold sparkling water
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Siúcra caster sugar
1/4 tsp white pepper
Your choice of fresh vegetables –– tenderstem broccoli, cauliflower florets, sweet potato slices, chunks of pepper, rounds of onion.
Tentsuyu Dipping Sauce
50ml (1/4 cup) light soy sauce
30g Siúcra caster sugar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp chilli oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Two things to note before starting –– the batter should be the last thing to make, so prepare your vegetables, heat your oil and get everything in order before focusing on the batter. Tempura batter is remarkable because you almost only half mix it. If you over-mix it and whisk it to oblivion it will activate the gluten and make it tough. You want to mix it just until it begins to come together in a semi-lumpy, semi-liquid mess. It will feel counter-intuitive, but trust us.
Second, still talking about the batter, is the fact it’s seasoned. We season our flour for other fried recipes, so why wouldn’t you season your flour here? A little salt and sugar is the secret in the batter to pre-season your vegetables before they hit the oil.
1. Make your dipping sauce, and save it for later.
2. Whilst the oil heats to 175ºC, prepare the vegetables you will be using, and begin with the thickest vegetables you have. Dunking them, one by one, through the batter to coat and immediately introduce to the hot oil gently so that it floats on the top. Repeat this in batches, but don’t over-fill the basket.
3. When cooked, which depending on your vegetables may range from two minutes to five minutes, drain and remove to a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with kitchen paper
4. Continue with all the vegetables, and serve immediately once all cooked.
Note: This could be made entirely vegan by omitting the fish sauce in the dipping sauce.
For more recipe inspiration, follow GastroGays on Instagram:@gastrogays
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