Friday, January 13, 2012


Gluten free vegan - there's a challenge. If the recipe calls for wheat flour, it doesn't get a second look from me. But in the fine print of all the tempura recipes I read, it says, don't stir this batter too long or you will activate the gluten in the flour and the batter will be too sticky. That means that here is a recipe that lends itself to gluten free flours. Yahoo.

I love the crunch and versatility of tempura. It's a technique that uniquely modifies a vegetable. Tempura provides texture and a certain mystic to a meal. It's just plain fun to eat tempura. Even a wary child will be intrigued.

Warning: Deep frying requires your full attention. Hot oil and a batter are a spitting, popping combination. Be careful and mindful. Keep the small children out of the kitchen. If you are dipping vegetables like bell peppers, that have a skin on them, score the skin before you batter or it may blister and explode in the hot oil. Wear an apron. Safety goggles aren't out of the question. But a helmet is going a little too far.

Tempura (mushrooms, spinach and sweet potato) and rice
 (deep fried vegetables)
1 cup flour (for gluten free, use brown rice flour or chickpea flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
and very important
1 cup ICE cold water

(such as: sweet potato, mushrooms, spinach, kale, eggplant, carrot, green beans, potato, okra, pumpkin, snow peas)
Peanut oil 
(traditionally sesame oil is used, you can also use canola or vegetable oil)

Prepare the vegetables. Wash and cut into bite size pieces. Dry. 
Heat the oil. It is ready when batter dropped into the oil turns golden brown. (325 - 350 degrees F)
Mix the batter last so you are working with cold batter. 

When oil is hot, dip the vegetables into the batter to coat lightly, then carefully put into the hot oil to fry. They will be ready in 2-3 minutes.Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and rain on paper towel. 

Serve hot with a soy or plum dipping sauce, or just give your vegetables a splash of lemon. 

Serve with a green salad and a bowl of steaming hot rice. 

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