These tempura vegetables are coated in a light, three ingredient batter, shallow fried to crispy perfection, and served with a savory-sweet soy sesame dipping sauce.
Last year around this time I got it in my head that I needed an easy tempura vegetable recipe on the blog. At that time I thought “easy” meant not fried. That was my entire definition of the word. Nine or ten attempts involving slathering various crusty coatings on veggies resulted in me coming to the conclusion that “easy” or not, some degree of frying would be required to create anything remotely tempura-esque.
So here I am, another holiday season, another tempura, only this time I took another approach. I didn’t deep fry. I didn’t bake. I found that happy place known as shallow frying, and it worked!
There’s another easy element to this recipe? In lieu of baking on a fake-fried crust, I went with a super simple three ingredient batter. Flour, salt, seltzer water. That’s it! Mix, dip, and fry these babies up, but not in enough oil to make things scary.
I used a single 12 ounce can of Vintage® Seltzer for the batter. When the opportunity to work with Vintage® first came up I jumped, because I do, in fact, drink this stuff all day long. I’m hooked on fizz and really like the fact that Vintage® Seltzer is a calorie-free way to get my fix. So initially I thought I’d share some type of fun holiday spritzer recipe with y’all. But then I thought better. Drinking this stuff is easy. You know how to do that! Some adventures in seltzer cooking were in order.
It worked out great! The bubbles give the batter just the right amount of air to create a delicately crispy tempura crust, even with my cheater’s shallow frying method. I usually buy my seltzer in one liter bottles, but this time went with a twelve pack of cans, because a single 12 ounce can is exactly the amount needed for one big holiday-sized batch of crispy tempura veggies (and I know I’ll drink the rest of the cans in the pack). If you want to use a bottle, free free to do that as well. You’ll just need to measure out 1 1/2 cups. You can find both cans and bottles in the soda aisle of the supermarket. You can find stores that carry vintage using this store locator. And to help you get rolling, here’s a digital coupon to save you a buck on a twelve pack.
Easy Tempura Vegetables
For the Soy Sesame Dipping Sauce
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. agave or maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 scallion, chopped
For the Easy Tempura Vegetables
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-12 oz. can Vintage® Original Seltzer, chilled
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- about 1/2 cup canola oil, or another high smoke point oil
- 1 medium sweet potato, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slabs
- 1/2 medium cauliflower crown, broken into small florets
- 1/2 medium broccoli crown, broken into small florets
- 1 medium onion, sliced into thin strips
Make the Soy Sesame Dipping Sauce
Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl.
Make the Easy Tempura Vegetables
Whisk flour, Vintage® Seltzer and salt together in a medium bowl.
Pour about 1/4 inch of oil into a medium nonstick or cast-iron skillet and place over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, begin frying veggies in batches. Dip veggies into batter, one at a time, to lightly coat, shaking off any excess batter. Place veggies in skillet, being careful not to overcrowd the skillet. Cook until crispy and very lightly browned on bottoms, 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes on opposite sides. Remove veggies from skillet and transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Continue frying veggies in this manner until all are cooked, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.
Serve with soy sesame dipping sauce.
Whole wheat pastry flour works as a substitution for all-purpose, but the batter and resulting crust will be a bit thinner and more delicate.
Keep your veggies thin! This is what make the shallow frying method work. You want your oil to come at least halfway up the thickness of each veggie during frying, to make sure all of the batter gets crispy. For broccoli and cauliflower, I suggest cutting very small florets, and halving them in necessary.
Feel free to substitute your favorite tempura veggies here. Green beans, asparagus and zucchini are all great choices.
If you opt to use Vintage® Seltzer from a bottle, just measure out 1 1/2 cups.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.