This gluten-free and vegan tempura batter works for anything that calls for tempura. Coat a mixture of seasonal veggies before frying them all. Try making tempura with mushroom, courgette or even tofu.
Tempura has a long history in Japanese cuisine, though it is thought to have been introduced to Japan by the Portuguese. Tempura refers to vegetables (or sometimes fish) cooked in a specific batter and deep fried. Traditionally, this batter would be made from wheat flour and eggs, whipped up in very small batches with chopsticks.
The idea is to keep some lumps of flour in the batter, which form the characteristic crispy shell of tempura vegetables, and to move from mixing to frying very quickly, to avoid the gluten in wheat flour from activating and making the batter doughy.
How to make gluten-free tempura batter
Amazingly, we may have stumbled upon a recipe where being gluten-free is an advantage.
To make the batter gluten-free, but keep it light, combine cornflour and potato starch. This
How to make vegan tempura batter
In place of eggs, use baking powder and vinegar.
The foam they form is a good substitute for egg
A close cousin of regular broccoli, the purple sprouting variety is deeper in colour and grows in long tender stalks, rather than ‘trees’. As you may know, if you follow EatsLeeds, Broccoli is one of my favourite veggies. You can replace the broccoli in this black bean, broccoli and sweet potato bowl or this broccoli, quinoa & chickpea salad with the purple sprouting variety.
Deep frying gets a bad rep, but save it for a treat (and properly drain the cooked food of any excess oil) and I don’t think it’s too bad. This batter is much lighter than a dense chip-shop or fried-chicken style coating.
By making it with very cold sparkling water, you’re really allowing the air to get in. This tempura should be fried very quickly in very hot oil, and then served with a spicy dipping sauce.
Vegan & gluten-free tempura broccoli
- 150 g Purple sprouting broccoli, or other vegetables (approx.)
- 1 litre Vegetable oil (for frying)
For the vegan & gluten-free tempura batter:
- 80 g Cornflour
- 50 g Potato starch
- 1 tsp Baking powder (gluten-free)
- 130 ml Sparkling water (refrigerated)
- 1 tsp. Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 tbsp. White vinegar
- First, chop the broccoli or other vegetables into florets, or bite-sized pieces, and set to on side
- Pour the oil into a medium saucepan, and heat it on the hob on a high temperature
- Line a shallow dish with kitchen paper, to soak up some of the oil after cooking
- Sift the cornflour, potato starch and baking powder into a bowl
- Measure out the sparkling water, so it’s ready to pour into the flour
- Put the bicarb into a small bowl, then drop the vinegar over it. They will froth rapidly – pour that froth over the flour
- Then, quickly pour the cold sparkling water into the flour too
- Quickly stir the batter with chopsticks (a fork will do the job, but chopsticks make it feel that bit more authentic)
- Drop your veggies into the batter and quickly coat them
- Make sure the oil is hot enough by dropping a spit of batter into it. It should sizzle, and visibly cook in a few moments
- Gently drop the coated vegetables into the oil. They should sizzle and spit a little, so be careful. Agitate them with a slotted spoon as they cook
- After 4-5 minutes they should be crispy, and deep golden-brown colour. Use the slotted spoon to remove the tempura vegetables from the pan and place them on the paper-lined dish, to drain excess oil
- Allow your tempura vegetables a minute or so to cool from lava-temperature, but eat them, dipped in sweet chilli sauce, while they’re still hot – if you let them cool the tempura will become soggy