If you’ve never had tempura veggies you are really missing out on something awesome. Whenever we go out for sushi tempura is always part of our order. I like the light crispy texture and the contrast of the somewhat mild flavour of the tempura veggies dipped in the tangy and slightly sweet soy dipping sauce. I do occasionally make them at home and have done so successfully but tempura, although not difficult to pull off, is a bit finicky. You have to ensure all of your ingredients are cold, that you don’t over mix your batter and that you have exactly the right consistency.
My Blue Dragon challenge this month was to come up with a vegan dishing using at least one of their certified vegan ingredients. My mind instantly went to veggie tempura. My first thought was to incorporate one of the vegan ingredients in the dipping sauce but as I looked at my options a light bulb went off and I realized that rice noodles would make the perfect “batter” for my tempura recipe. The results were amazing! I can’t wait to make these again and serve them to guests.
Rice Noodle Veggie Tempura
* Note I’m not going to give “measurements” (except for the sauce) as you can just make as little or as much as you want
- Blue Dragon Rice Noodles
- Veggies such as – sweet peppers, zucchini, string beans, onions, sweet potatoes, baby corn
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (make sure to get gluten free if required)
- 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Oil for frying
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Put the rice noodles in the water (I used half a package which was more than enough to make tempura for my family). Immediately remove the pot from heat and let the noodles sit in the hot water for 3 minutes – no more!
Drain the noodles and rinse well with cold water.
Cut your veggies into suitable size pieces. Veggies like peppers, zucchini and sweet potato can be cut into thin (not too thin) strips. Cut onions into wedges. If you use beans you just need to cut the ends off.
Place a large deep pot on the stove and fill with about two inches of oil. You can also use a deep fryer for this if you have one. Heat the oil to 350 degrees. This is essential. The key to any good tempura (traditional or not) is having the right temperature. Too hot and the batter (or noodles in this case) cook quicker than the veggies. Too low and you end up with greasy tasting food.
Now you are going to wrap your veggies in the cooked noodles. This part is a bit tricky but you don’t need perfection. The noodles puff up and get crispy and are quite forgiving when they cook. You can experiment with what technique works best for you. In the end the method that I found the easiest was to to grab a “string” of about 5 or 6 noodles, find the middle of that string and strap wrapping my veggie working from the middle and then out in both directions. Then I take 1 or 2 noodles and wrap the whole thing to secure it a bit more. If you find your noodles are starting to stick and are hard to separate just rinse them again in cold water.
If you want you can have the veggies wrapped and ready and store them in the fridge (for a few hours) until you are ready to fry them.
*You may find that some veggies are more “slippery” than others and therefore harder to wrap in the noodles. If that’s a problem go ahead and dust them with flour or rice flour to help the noodles stick.
Using only a few pieces at a time, place your veggies in the hot oil. For most of the vegetables you will cook them for about 1 minute on each side, until the noodles are crispy and just slightly golden. Root vegetables like sweet potatoes will take a little longer – about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel.
Make sure you are watching your temperature as you cook and keep it around 350 degrees. If the oil gets too cool put a lid on the pot for a moment and let it come back up. If it gets too hot you can either add a bit more oil or just lower the temp a bit and let it cool.
To make the dipping sauce mix the soy cause, rice wine vinegar and sugar in a small bowl and mix well until the sugar is dissolved. If you like you can add sesame seeds and/or finely chopped green onions to the sauce.
Blue Dragon has a number of certified vegan products like: Sesame Oil, Light and Regular Coconut Milk, Spring Roll Wrappers, Rice Noodles, and Sechuzan Pepper and General Tao sachets.
I am part of the Blue Dragon Canada ambassador program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.