Saturday, January 16, 2016

Winter Veggie Tempura

I discovered a problem with my current cooking system.  Due to my working girl schedule these days, I no longer spend as much time looking through cookbooks as I once did.  I find myself making the same meals over and over--mostly just using this blog and my pinterest boards for menu planning.

Thus, I am back to adding some new recipes to the blog, in hopes of mixing up the menu planning a bit.

Of course, my cooking boyfriend, Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe for veggie tempura is my return to blogging recipe.  It's what's for supper tonight.

Winter Veggie Tempura
adapted a bit from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Dipping Sauce
6 cardamom pods
grated zest and juice of 4 limes (about 1/3 c lime juice)
1 fresh green chile (optional)
2 3/4 c cilantro, leaves and tender, thin stalks
1 T sugar
4 T sunflower oil
1/2 t salt
2 T water

approximately 2 3/4 lb winter veggies:  our favorites are:

  1. leeks, white part sliced 1/4" thick
  2. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
  3. broccoli, divided into medium florets (cauliflower would be good too)
  4. carrots, peeled and cut into 3/8" sticks
1/2 c cornstarch (plus possibly some extra)
1/2 c self rising flour (to make use 1/2 c regular plus a fat 1/2 t baking powder and small pinch of salt)
3/4 c seltzer or sparkling water
2 t grapeseed oil
3 C sunflower oil (for frying)

cooked udon noodles

To make the sauce, break the cardamom pods using the flat side of large, heavy knife.  Discard the pods and put the seeds in a food processor.  Add the remaining dipping sauce ingredients and blitz to get a smooth, runny sauce (you could also create the sauce using an immersion blender).

Mix the 1/2 c cornstarch, flour, seltzer, and grapeseed oil, along with 1/4 t salt in a bowl.  Whisk well to get a smooth runny mix.  On a dinner plate, sprinkle some additional cornstarch for coating the veggies.  

Pour the 3 c sunflower into a heavy saucepan or black skillet (I fry everything in my black skillet).  Place over high heat until oil is hot and then reduce heat to medium.    If you are unsure if the oil is hot enough, test the temperature using a candy thermometer.  The thermometer should register between 325-375 degrees.  

Toss each vegetable in the cornstarch.  Shake to remove any excess cornstarch and then dip into seltzer water batter.  Shake gently and then carefully ease the veggies into the oil (a few pieces of at a time--don't overcrowd the pan).  As the veggies fry, gently turn them over to fry evenly.  Leeks will take only about a minute.  Sweet potatoes would take 2 or more minutes.  Once they are cooked transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.

Serve on rice or over udon noodles (our favorite).  Steamed veggies on the side are also a good counter balance to the tempura veggies as well.

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