Looking for an easy dinnertime recipe? This restaurant-quality Japanese vegetable tempura takes just 30 minutes to make and is a great way to use up those leftover veggies–with a delicious twist!
In this time of quarantine, there are many things that I surprisingly do not miss. For instance, I don’t miss having to change out of PJs for actual-people-clothes when there’s daylight outside. I don’t miss having to spend an extra $150 a month on gas, or passing out on my couch immediately after getting home from a long day at work, or forgetting my lunch at home and wolfing down a bag of office Famous Amos cookies instead.
One thing I do miss, though, is eating food made by someone other than me.
Ah, yes. While some people are testing the limits of how long they can go without in-person human contact, I’ve been sitting over here wondering how long I can survive while eating basically the same three things: veggie fried rice, instant noodles, and store-brand Raisin Bran Crunch. Now you might think that for a food blogger, I’d be a little more, well, inspired when it comes to kitchen routines. As it turns out, I’ve always had trouble finding motivation to cook proper meals when I’m flying solo, and even less so when every trek to the grocery store feels like an apocalyptic cross between Shaun of the Dead and Children of Men.
Thankfully, Wallflour Boy offered to pick up groceries for me last week, a fact that emboldened me to finally gird my chef loins and start cooking again.
At the very top of my cooking renaissance list was this recipe for Vegetable Tempura. Not only is it made with simple ingredients, but it also tastes every bit as great as the freshly-fried tempura that you can order at a Japanese restaurant! That’s because the tempura batter (which is made up of equal parts flour, number of eggs, and ice water–1 cup each) is incredibly light, yielding tempura with a perfectly crispy and almost airy texture, just the way tempura should be. I used sweet potatoes and broccoli, but note that you can tempura-ize pretty much any vegetable your hungry heart desires.
While you’re frying your vegetables, take 30 seconds to whip together a Vegan Dipping Sauce as well: soy sauce, mirin, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and sesame oil are all you’ll need.
Comfort food, 30 minutes. Quarantine victory, folks.
What kind of vegetable tempura will you make?
For the tempura:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 cup water, ice cold
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced into thin strips
- 1 head of broccoli, washed and chopped into individual florets
- Oil, for frying
For the vegan dipping sauce:
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
To make tempura:
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, egg, ice-cold water, salt, and pepper.
- Dip sweet potato slices one by one into batter, letting any excess batter drip off before placing on a large plate.
- Fill a large frying pan or wok with 2-3 inches of oil. Place over medium heat until oil is approximately 320 degrees F, or when a fleck of batter dropped into oil immediately begins sizzling.
- Fry 5 or 6 pieces of sweet potato at a time for about 3 minutes, or until they float to the surface and turn a light golden color. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel on top of a plate. Lightly pat dry with a second paper towel to remove any excess oil.
- Repeat with remaining pieces, taking care not to crowd your vegetables so that they can fry properly.
- Once you've finished with sweet potatoes, move onto broccoli (or additional vegetables of choice) and repeat these steps. Serve with rice and vegan dipping sauce!
To make vegan dipping sauce:
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve with tempura.