summer garden tempura recipe

If you boil purple French beans, they turn a dark grey-green. By dipping them raw and whole into tempura batter and then shallow-frying them, they stay looking fantastic and taste even better.

Mix them with mini peppers, courgette flowers, aubergines and carrots for a wonderful plate of garden vegetable tempura. Dip them into Chilli dipping sauce (see page 318 of Sarah's Garden Cookbook) and soy sauce.

Serves 10–12:

  • 750ml sunflower or groundnut oil
  • 2 handfuls of French beans, tops and tails left on
  • 2 red or green sweet peppers, cut into strips or, if small, deseeded but kept whole
  • 3–4 mild chillies, such as Hungarian wax, with stems
  • 1 aubergine, cut into discs
  • 4 courgettes, cut in half or whole if small
  • 3 courgette flowers
  • 2 globe artichoke hearts, cooked
  • Selection of green herbs: tops and flowers of parsley, chervil, tips of basil and single sage leaves, whole
  • 8 nasturtium flowers
  • A few roots (beetroot, mini carrots, sweet potato), cooked briefly and sliced into bite-sized sections
  • Sea salt and black pepper

For the tempura batter:

  • 225g plain flour
  • Plenty of salt and black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 375ml iced sparkling water or cold lager

First make the tempura batter. Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt and pepper and make a dip in the centre. Add the eggs and, with a balloon whisk, mix in the cold water or lager to make a batter the thickness of double cream but not too smooth. Keep this in the fridge until you need it.

Pour the oil into a deep pan so that it reaches about one-third of the way up the side. Heat the oil until it reaches about 170ºC. If you don’t have an oil thermometer, it’s easy to test the temperature. Drop a cube of bread into the oil. It should turn golden brown in less than a minute.

Dip the vegetables, herbs and flowers into the batter, a few at a time, and then into the hot oil until pale gold and crisp. Drain them on kitchen paper.

This recipe featured on p207 in Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook

summer garden tempura