Vegetarian Tempura

Editor’s note: This dish is not healthy. It is imperative to consume deep-fried, oily, and sweet dishes minimally and in small servings. While we all have our culinary preferences, it is ideal to develop awareness as to what is desire for what is unhealthy and nourishing unhealthy tendencies; and what is nourishing rightly applying and directing our minds, energies and resources towards what is helpful and supportive for the body, mind and practice, individually and communally, which is nurturing growth in the Path. 

Originating in Portugal but popularized by Japanese cuisine, tempura is among my favourite dishes because it has to be deep fried. I grew up on fish and chips and I always preferred battered over crumbed. Unsurprisingly, vegetables like sweet potatoes and beans taste so much better when soaked in oil and given a crispy, glorious layer of batter. The below ingredients are just suggestions: other vegetables begging to be deep-fried include bamboo shoots, bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, Chinese mushrooms, okra, pumpkins, potatoes, shitake mushrooms, and yams.

With thanks to Susan Sim of Ci Bei magazine for the recipe.

Vegetarian Tempura


200g French beans, cut into strips
200g cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
250g sweet potatoes, cut into slices
250g eggplants, cut into slices
80g seaweed, soaked and cut into slices

150g flour
150g corn flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
A dash of pepper

Mix the flour, corn flour, baking powder, and pepper into a batter. Mix 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp MSG, water, and a bit of oil of your choice with the batter to form a smooth mixture. Dip the vegetables into the batter and deep fry in oil (preferably olive oil) until crispy. Serve with tempura sauce.

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