Crisp vegetable slices cooked in a light tempura batter, this vegetable tempura recipe makes a great sharing meal. It's ideal to serve on a platter for everyone to help themselves. It can be a main meal, starter or snack and a great way to get kids to eat a few veggies!
Before I start, I'm going to tell you a secret. I don't really like Japanese food. I sometimes eat sushi but It's definitely not something I choose to eat. If there's a choice between going to a Japanese restaurant and going to almost any other restaurant. Well, you can guess that I won't choose Japanese!
I may say I don't like Japanese food but there are a couple of Japanese meals I love. The first one is chicken katsu curry and the second one is vegetable tempura. In an ideal world I would eat both of them with a katsu curry sauce. Yes, I love curries. If there is a curry on the menu I am a happy girl!
What is vegetable tempura?
But, going back to vegetable tempura, how could anyone not like tempura? It's a crisp light batter around lightly cooked vegetables. You can even tell yourself that it's healthy because you are eating vegetables, right?
What are the best vegetables to use for vegetable tempura?
It is best to use vegetables that you can cut into slices or that naturally come in stick shapes. Try carrots, asparagus, courgette (zucchini), sugar snap peas, baby sweetcorn, avocado and onion wedges.
Try circles of aubergine, butternut squash or sweet potato. You can also use whole mushrooms. In fact, almost any vegetables can be dipped in the tempura batter and deep fried.
How to prepare vegetables to make tempura
The problem you might have with tempura it that some of the vegetables may taste raw and very hard. Make sure that you cut vegetables like carrots, butternut squash and sweet potato into quite thin slices otherwise they will not be cooked but the batter will be.
One way to make sure that vegetables like sweet potato and butternut squash are not raw is to parboil them for a few minutes first. Put them in some cold water as soon as they are ready and drain them before cooking in the tempura batter.
Can you use this tempura batter recipe to make fish or chicken tempura?
Yes, if you want to adapt this recipe and make it with meat or fish it's very easy. Use whole shrimps and just cut chicken, steak, pork or fish into thin slices and dip in the flour and then the batter. It's exactly the same method as for the vegetable tempura. I would cook them for about 4 minutes but it will depend on how thick your pieces are.
Can you make the tempura batter without eggs?
Traditional tempura batter does contain egg but it is possible to make it vegan. You can use aquafaba (chickpea water) or just omit the egg.
What to serve with vegetable tempura?
Other dipping sauces that go well are chilli oil, sweet chilli sauce and sweet and sour sauce. You can also make a simple dipping sauce with soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, chilli and garlic.
When to eat vegetable tempura?
I find these little crispy tempura vegetables absolutely addictive. I am happy to sit down with a big plateful and eat them as a main meal, as long as I have a good dipping sauce!
However, they can also be a starter or a snack meal. They're a great recipe to make for an informal party. Just prepare the vegetables and batter in advance then cook them quickly at the time.
Can you reheat these vegetable tempura?
Vegetable tempura is definitely something that is best eaten as soon as it is made. However, if you do have leftover, just store them in the fridge and then reheat them in the oven. They should be piping hot again in about 5 minutes and if the batter has gone a little soggy it will crisp up again.
Don't reheat them in the microwave. They will definitely go soggy!
Mixed Vegetable Tempura Recipe
- 400 g vegetable slices or sticks sweet potatoes, aubergine, peppers, onions, sugar snap peas, carrots, asparagus
- 1 egg yolk
- 240 ml ice cold water still or sparkling
- 120 g plain flour
- 120 g cornflour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- oil Approx 2 litres for deep frying
- 300 g ice cubes approximately
- Prepare all the vegetables. If using sweet potatoes, they will need to be parboiled first.
- Heat the oil to about 160C in a saucepan.
- Stand a mixing bowl inside a larger bowl. Put the ice and some cold water in the outside bowl. This will keep the batter cold.
- Put the 240ml of iced water into the mixing bowl. Beat the egg yolk slightly then pour it slowly into the mixing bowl, stirring with a fork (or chopsticks!) so it is mixed into the water.
- Then add the flour and baking powder and stir a couple of times with the chopsticks so it is loosely combined, there should still be lots of lumps. Don't overstir.
- Check the oil is hot enough by dropping a little batter in. It should sizzle and rise to the top. Put some more flour in a bowl. Dip the vegetables in the flour, then the batter and then into the oil. Cook just a few at a time so that they don't lower the temperature of the oil.
- They should cook quickly in a minute or two. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
More Crispy vegetable recipes
If you like these tempura then why not try my spiced Caribbean vegetable fries next. They are baked not fried so are a healthier alternative!