So first let me preface this post by admitting that I am writing it at 10:35 pm after running 3.2 miles and having beer for dinner, because I'm trying to be physically fit but also be social with my new-ish coworkers, so mission accomplished? That is anyway how I wound up running a 5k that I swore off forever last year, and as for the lack of real dinner, well, it's now 10:40 and I reheated some cornbread. And I think I might wait to shower tomorrow, sorry. And I felt really good after the 5k! And also please excuse my rambling and/or typos (I don't see any yet but no promises, I still have to write a recipe).
ANYWAY. I have no idea if you, you this person reading this, come here for life updates or recipes, but I can stop telling you about my bad decisions and tell you a story about how I was looking for a way to use up some rice flour, because last Christmas I went to my mom's house in PA and bought some rice flour for a dessert that failed spectacularly (even though I executed it splendidly at Thanksgiving), with the end result that my mother was left with half a bag of rice flour and no idea of what to do with it.
So, knowing that she likes things in the kitchen to be as easy and simple and foolproof as possible, I decided to test out a rice flour tempura recipe with some summer veggies.
Yeah. Sorry Mom. I'll come up with something easier.
Because I learned that, even though I'm comfortable with deep frying, tempura is a tricky beast. The first pass was edible, but not great. I figured out the the recipe I was using had the proportion of rice flour to water way off, so that the mixture was more some murky liquid sitting on top of a silty bottom of rice flour, instead of an actual batter. I got it to work, but only by double dredging and dipping and it still wasn’t great and I certainly wouldn't tell anyone to try to recreate what I made.
But I did learn a few important things in the process, such as shishito peppers sometimes explode when you deep fry them and really, a good splatter screen is a kitchen essential if you ever plan to deep fry. Also beer in tempura batter doesn't taste like anything, so don't bother.
Moving on to round 2.
It was a lot better! I did more thorough research and found a water to flour ratio that seemed promising, so I got to work and made another batch of tempura to feed a crowd*. It was well-battered and delicious and you should try it with the last batches of your summer CSA if you aren't afraid of deep frying.
*I ate it myself, over way longer than I'd recommend keeping it, because single girl problems, but you know, the oven really does recrisp even tempura fairly ok, and I certainly had enough sauce left to justify eating it, so I did. Make yours for a crowd and don't do this.
Summer Veggie Tempura
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3/4 cup - 1 cup cold water
- 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
- 1 qt oil, for frying
- 4 cups ( more, honestly) of veggies, I used summer squash, carrots, bell peppers, green beans, and shishito peppers (see note)
For the dipping sauce:
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbs rice vinegar
- 2 tbs dark sesame oil
- 2 tbs toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tbs sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ground ginger
Stir together flour and egg yolk, then addd water and stir until mixed, but not too mixed. Right.
- Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a heavy bottomed pot or skillet to 375 degrees.
- While oil is heating, stir together dipping sauce ingredients, then set aside.
- Dip veggies and fry, 2-3 minutes, until golden and crisp, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Serve with dipping sauce.
- For veggies, cut peppers into large chunks, and carrots and squash into thick slices. Carrots can be blanched before dipping in batter but I didn't really mind the crispier version that comes from skipping this. Green beans just need ends snapped off, and shishito peppers need no prep except steely nerve- they might explode so keep your distance while frying or use a splatter screen.
- You want the batter thin, but still thick enough to coat the veggies. I found it was not quite a 1:1 ratio of flour to water.