Tempura is a Japanese specialty of deep-fried, delicately battered pieces of fish or vegetables. Here, it’s made with vegetables and paired with a habit-forming gingery dipping sauce. If you have any dipping sauce left over, it’s also delicious with steamed or grilled vegetables, dumplings, or egg rolls.
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup plain rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. Asian sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- 2 Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
- 4 to 6 cups vegetable oil
- 4 1/2 oz. (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup lager beer, such as Budweiser
- Kosher salt
- 3 oz. small okra, trimmed (about 12)
- 3 oz. sugar snap peas, strings removed (about 1 cup)
- 3 oz. medium green beans, trimmed (15-20)
- 3 1/2-inch-thick rounds of eggplant, cut into quarters (about 3 oz.)
- 1 medium carrot, cut on a sharp diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick oblongs (about 4 oz.)
- In a small bowl, stir the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add enough vegetable oil to a 14-inch-flat-bottom wok (preferably seasons carbon steel) to measure 1 1/4 inches deep; heat over high heat until the oil registers 365°F on a deep-fry thermometer.
- While the oil heats, whisk the flour, beer, and 1 tsp. salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Working in batches of about 10 pieces, add vegetables to the batter and stir until just coated.
- Using wooden chopsticks or tongs, carefully add the first batch of battered vegetables, one at a time, to the oil. Fry, turning the pieces halfways through cooking, until light golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a metal skimmer, strainer, or slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat in batches of 10 vegetables until all are fried, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain the oil temperature. Serve immediately with the soy-ginger dipping sauce.
Deep-Frying with Less Oil: Deep-frying in a wok is ideal because its concave shape requires less oil than a regular pot, and the roominess of the wok lets you fry more food at one time without crowding, which means frying in fewer batches.
Tips for Deep-Frying in a Wok
- Never fill the wok more than halfway with oil.
- Use a deep-fry/candy thermometer to monitor the oil temperature.
- Moisture causes oil to splatter, so thoroughly dry the food to be fried.
- Add pieces of food to the oil one at a time, or they’ll stick together in a cluster and fry unevenly.
- Wooden chopsticks are handy for adding ingredients to the oil, but you can use a metal skimmer or strainer (spider) to remove several pieces of fried food at a time.