Monday, November 19, 2007

Vegetarian Thai Tempura

Vegetarian Thai TempuraVegetarian Thai Tempura, it is full of vegetables and fresh Thai herbs, which also makes it a healthy treat. Cook up this tempura recipe as an appetizer, brunch or side dish, or as the main event just pair with a Thai salad on the side, and you have a complete meal! Great for a party, and this Thai Foods are easy and quick to make.


- 1/2 block of medium, firm, or extra firm tofu, OR 1/2 package wheat gluten "chicken" strips
- 1+1/2 cups bean sprouts
- 3 spring onions (scallions), sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped into small pieces
- 1 red or green chilli, minced (omit if you want your tempura mild)
- 1 medium or large tomato, chopped into small pieces
- approx. 1 cup vegetable oil (such as canola) for frying

Tempura Batter:

- 1/2 cup regular flour (for a healthier batter, you can use spelt or whole wheat)
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup tapioca or rice flour (Note: if you don't have these flours, simply use equal parts cornstarch and regular flour)
- 2 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 cup cool or cold water
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 Tbsp. Vegetarian Fish Sauce (available at Vietnamese food stores), OR substitute 1/4 tsp. salt (or more to taste)

To serve:

- handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)
- 1 bottle Thai Sweet Chili Sauce for dipping (available at most grocery stores, and all Asian/Chinese food stores)


Vegetarian Thai Tempura1. First, prepare the tofu or wheat gluten. Cut the tofu into very small cubes. If using wheat gluten, cut the strips into small pieces. You should have about 1 cup of either protein source. Another Option: you can also omit the tofu/wheat gluten, and simply make this tempura with more of the vegetables listed.
2.Prepare the vegetables.
3.Now prepare the tempura batter. Stir the flours, baking powder, and sugar together. Then add the water, eggs, and fish sauce. Stir until smooth. (If necessary, use a whisk to smooth out larger lumps - don't worry if there are a few small lumps.)
4.Heat oil in a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Oil is ready to use when bubbles begin to rise from the bottom of the pan, or it begins to move across the bottom of your pan. To make sure oil is hot enough, dip your spoon in the batter and drop a little into the oil. If the batter sizzles and cooks, the oil is ready.
5.Once the oil is hot enough, you can turn the heat down to medium (or around #6 on the dial). Don't overheat the oil, or it will splatter.
6.Now ladle some of the tempura batter into the oil. You can make your tempura "pancakes" as large or small as you like, depending on how much batter you use at one time.
7.Immediately, while your first tempura pancake cooks, drop a few cubes of tofu or pieces of wheat gluten into it. Also sprinkle on some of the vegetables - bean sprouts, red pepper, green onion, plus chili (if using) and tomato. Try to spread these ingredients out over the surface of the pancake.
8.Allow to fry 30 seconds or so. When the pancake begins to look crusty around the outside, it's time to flip it. Using a spatula (or "egg flipper"), carefully turn the tempura pancake over in the oil to cook the other side. Do this gently so the oil doesn't splatter. (The ingredients you just added will stay in the pancake.)
9.The tempura pancake is done when both sides are light golden brown. Remove the pancake from the oil and leave to drain on an absorbant kitchen towel or paper towel.
10.Repeat until all the batter and other ingredients are used up.
11.Place the tempura pancakes on a plate (on a bed of lettuce, if you want to make this dish look extra special). Sprinkle fresh coriander over, and serve while hot with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, or regular chilli sauce. Enjoy!!

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