Hurrah for Tempura!

What is it about fried food that is so attractive? Is it the crunchiness or the saltiness? Perhaps it is the trapped aroma releasing moisture that quickly unravels in our mouth each time we take a bite from the ‘forbidden food’. Or is it the intoxicating smell? I would opt for choice E- all of the above. Fried food is super delicious, satisfies all of our senses and activates a craving that is simply difficult to resist. Having said this, fried food is also very unhealthy and incredibly fattening; virtually all nutrients die at such a high temperature so what we are finally left with is comfort food at its pure state.

Still, fried food needn’t be 100% bad 100% of the time- when enjoying it occasionally and in moderation it becomes the ultimate treat. What is more, there is one way for you to collect brownie points from both taste and nutrition- tempura. Tempura is deep fried vegetables or seafood immersed in a light, frothy batter that is also happens to be low in gluten. Because ingredients are fried so quickly (couple of seconds), they remain partly raw and crunchy, preserving some of the nutrients as a result. The batter is correspondingly crunchy and its lightness ensures little or no subsequent digestive disruptions- you never get this with any other fried food!

The best news of all is that tempura is incredibly easy and quick to prepare at home. Simply choose your favorite vegetables and prepare a dipping sauce- the batter only takes couple of seconds to make, the less worked the better!

Vegetable Tempura:
Recipe from Alice Hart
Serves 4


Ponzu sauce
100 ml soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
3cm piece of ginger
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. orange juice

Tempura batter
2 egg yolks
360 ml iced water
2 tsp. corn flour
200g self-raising flour

1 litre vegetable oil for deep-frying
12 asparagus spears
12 purple sprouting broccoli spears
2 medium sized aubergines
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
150 g oyster and enoki mushrooms


  1. Prep the vegetables, slicing the mushrooms, aubergines and pepper.
  2. Prepare ponzu sauce: add all ingredients to the soy and stir. Make sure you grate the ginger before.
  3. Make batter: whisk the yolks and add them to the ice cold water. Add the self-raising flour, the corn flour and mix quickly leaving the lumps.
  4. Heat oil to 170C, dip one vegetable at a time in the batter, fry for couple of seconds and remove onto a spare plate with a piece of kitchen towel.
  5. Repeat process for all the vegetables, arrange in a main course plate. Pour the ponzu sauce in a small bowl and eat quickly while still warm.


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