Beer-battered vegetables with ginger soy dipping sauce

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    4

    as a first course
    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes

Vegetables

By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

Much as I like Japanese tempura vegetables, I have less success with that type of batter than I do with a good old-fashioned beer batter. So, this dish is really a Western version of the former. Any beer will do – as will Champagne. You want a yeasty fizzy liquid to help the batter work. I added a mixture of black and white sesame seeds to the batter – but nigella seeds, smoked paprika, fresh chopped herbs or even desiccated coconut will give a nice twist. You can use any vegetables, just make sure they’re cut quite thinly I also added some fried parsley, not battered, to give a fresh green garnish to the plate.

Ingredients

  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 1 small kumara, skin scrubbed but not peeled, and thinly sliced (sweet potatoes will work just as well)
  • 1 carrot, sliced at an angle
  • 1 courgette, sliced at an angle
  • 16 baby asparagus tips
  • 1 small red onion, sliced into 1cm rings
  • handful of flat parsley sprigs, well dried

For the Ginger Soy Dipping Sauce

  • 1 thumb of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 100 ml soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar

For the Beer Batter

  • 150 g flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 325 ml beer
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Method

First, make the dipping sauce: mix the ginger with the soy sauce and the vinegar, and leave for at least half an hour before using.

Next make the beer batter: sieve the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together into a bowl. Pouring slowly, whisk in all the beer, then mix in the sesame seeds. Leave to sit for 15 minutes before using.

Preheat the oven to 110°C/gas ¼. Heat 5cm of oil in a wide pan to 180°C. Place the kumara slices in the batter and mix together then carefully drop into the oil and cook for a minute, then flip them over and cook until they’re golden on the other side. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Do the same with each of the vegetables, cooking just one type at a time, as they’ll each require different cooking times. Keep the fried vegetables warm in the oven. Tip the oil through a sieve after each batch is cooked and return it to the hot pan to keep cooking, discarding the crunchy bits of batter that have dropped off.

Finally, drop the parsley into the oil and swirl it around until it stops spluttering, remove and drain.

To Serve

Divide the vegetables between 4 plates, garnish with the fried parsley sprigs and serve with a little bowl of the dipping sauce.