Vegan Tempura

I don't usually go out for Japanese cuisine, I'm just not a huge fan of sushi. I do love tempura veggies though (cause fried anything...nom nom nom!), but typically the batter is made with eggs. This weekend I stumbled across a recipe for vegan tempura on Mary Makes Good, so I whipped out my electric fryer and got to chopping veggies. I also tried a dipping sauce that I reworked from the New York Times. Oishii desu!

Vegan Tempura (makes enough for 4)
vegetable oil (enough to fill above the min level on your fryer)
2 1/2 C flour (plus 1/2 C reserved)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C very cold unflavored mineral water
broccoli florets
cauliflower florets
trimmed asparagus
extra firm tofu (pressed for an hour and cut into cubes)

0. Preheat fryer to 350 F.
1. Combine batter ingrediets until just incorporated. Do not overmix (we want the carbonation to make a light batter).
2. Dip ingredients in 1/2 C of reserved flour. Shake off excess and dip into wet batter. Shake off excess.
3. Place into fryer basket but do not overcrowd or the veggies will clump together (depending on the size of your fryer you may do this 4 or 5 times). Cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Cook again for another 30-45 seconds. The batter should be light in color (if it is really brown you've cooked too long).
4. In a large tray lined with paper towels pour basket contents onto towel to soak up oil. Eat as soon as possible.

Dipping sauce
  • 1/2 ounce dried kelp
  • 1 dried shiitake mushroom
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp peeled grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 star anise
1. In a bowl submerge kelp and mushroom in 1 C of cold water. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
2. Remove kelp and mushroom and set liquid aside.
3. In a small saucepan add rice wine, star anise, soy sauce and 1/2 C of kelp liquid. Bring to a boil.
4. Remove from heat and add garlic and ginger.
5. Serve with tempura.
Tempura served with dipping sauce, sambal oelek and hoisin