THIS week I have cooked yet another classic Asian dish.
I just can't help myself. I firmly believe I end up cooking so much Asian because in regional areas there is not a lot of Asian food on offer so I take to my own kitchen because I just love eating it.
This is one of those great dishes you can cook up with whatever vegetables you love and what is in season. It's also a dish that will impress any guests you have.
I am not really a batter person. Or a deep fried-food person. But this batter is so light you can barely see it.
The vegetables take minutes or even less to cook so they are not soaking with oil, just heated through to the centre and then at the end of it there's an amazing crunch.
It's a simple dish, although a little hard because it really does need to get served up ASAP.
The vegetables can easily be prepared way in advance but once you start the process of putting them in the batter, they need to be fried and served straight away.
This dish is not ideal if you are having people over and you want to stay out of the kitchen.
But if you are keen to have go, make them as starters doing a variety of vegetables in small batches at a time and send them on out - it will be worth it when you see the reaction of your dinner guests.
Make sure you keep the batter ice cold and thin and keep the oil hot. Whatever you do, don't use olive oil, it just doesn't handle the heat well enough and will start to smoke.
Canola or rice bran oil are the better options. Serve it with your favourite Asian sauce.
A few seconds each side: onion.
1 minute each side: zucchini, capsicum, egg plant, broccoli.
1 ½ minute each side: sweet potato, mushrooms
½ red capsicum cut into 8 squares
8 florets of broccoli
8 small button mushrooms (or 4 large, halved)
Half small red onion slice in half and pulled apart
¼ sweet potato cut into 8 thin slices
1 small zucchini cut into 8 strips
½ small egg plant, cut in 8 pieces
240ml ice cold water
3 pieces of ice
120g plain flour, sifted
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
Prepare and wash vegetables, putting them on paper towel to dry out. Place them in fridge for 20 mins.
Heat oil in a heavy-based pot or pan. The oil needs to be deep enough that the biggest vegetables won't touch the bottom.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and water in a bowl. Don't over beat. Add in ice.
Test the oil by putting in a drop of the batter, it should splutter.
Take the first vegetables, dip them in the batter and place them carefully in the oil.
Don't over crowd the pan. When the batter is cooked, but before it turns golden brown, flip the vegetables gently.
The cooking time will depend on the size and type of vegetable.
Place cooked vegies on paper towel and then serve while hot.
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