Give the hearty winter stews and soups a break by trying this delicate and oh-so-crisp winter vegetable tempura. Traditional tempura batter contains egg, but we think this batter using cornflour and soda water provides a similar airy crunchiness. Try our combination of pumpkin, cauliflower and broccolini or experiment with other winter vegetables to your liking. Combined with a mildly spicy umami-rich dipping sauce, this tempura is guaranteed to impress.
- ¼ Butternut pumpkin
- ¼ Cauliflower
- 1 bunch of Broccolini
- 150g plain flour
- 35g cornflour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 310ml chilled soda water
- vegetable oil or another light oil for frying
- 2 full ice trays
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 pinch of chilli flakes
- ¼ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- Make the dipping sauce by combining garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and chilli flakes. Put aside while preparing the tempura.
- Prepare vegetables by washing and drying them thoroughly. Remove any seeds from the pumpkin by scraping the inside with a large spoon. Leaving the skin on, cut into thin wedges no thicker than 1cm. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and halve the broccolini stalks.
- Heat 5cm of oil in a large heavy-based saucepan to reach 180-190C.
- Select a large bowl big enough to accommodate a medium-sized glass or metal bowl inside it with room around the sides. Add ice and enough cold tap water to cover the ice, to the large bowl. Sit the medium-sized bowl inside this ice bath.
- In the medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, cornflour and baking powder then whisk together. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and slowly add the chilled soda water, whisking with chopsticks as little as possible to combine (it is ok if the batter is a little lumpy).
- Add a handful of cauliflower florets to the batter, using tongs or chopsticks pick them out. Allow excess batter to drip off and quickly add them to the hot oil, do not fry too many pieces at once as this will cool the oil down too much.
- Remove after 2 – 3 minutes of frying and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. The vegetables should be coated in a crisp batter, but not fry long enough to turn golden.
- Bring the oil back up to the correct temperature and using a slotted spoon remove any loose tempura pieces.
- Repeat the frying process in small batches with the remaining vegetables.
- Serve immediately with dipping sauce.