Tag Archives: tempura

Avocado Tomato Tian, Tempura Peppers, Sweet Chilli, Basil Coriander Sauce

17 Mar

The last of the hass avocados are being harvested at the moment where we walk the dog. They are stored in piles of crates ready for market. The farmers are cutting back the trees and making bonfires out of the mountains of branches.

This was the first thing we ate when we arrived in Cape Town. Just off the plane and straight to lunch at Harbour House at The Waterfront. The shape of things to come. Lunch and dinner booked every day for three weeks, well nearly. In the end I worked it out as 29 meals out in 19 days. This does not include breakfasts or the meals we had at the Game Reserve. Heaven or hell? You decide…….

Their version was with tempura prawns, I changed it to red peppers because you can cut them in a similar shape to prawns (they have that natural curl) and they look sort of pink in the tempura.

The original recipe uses fresh basil to infuse an olive oil and a mayonnaise as two of the three sauces that are used to dress the plate. I didn’t have any fresh basil so I used some basil pesto and lots of fresh coriander to increase the vibrancy of the green. I blended these together in the oil and mayonnaise with a stick blender.

Basil and coriander actually work really well together. I was a bit worried about the Italian/Indian (con) fusion of flavours. But hey it tastes good.

Avocado Tomato Tian, Tempura Peppers, Sweet Chilli, Basil Coriander Sauce

Serves 2, Vegetarian (Vegan without the mayo). Adapted from the Harbour House recipe

Prep time: 40 mins Cooking Time: 5 mins

  • 1 medium red pepper, cut in 1 cm slices
  • 2 small avocados, mashed with lemon juice
  • 2 small tomatoes, peeled, deseeded & chopped
  • 1 small aubergine, cut into 1 cm rounds
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • salt & pepper
  • sweet chilli sauce, see my recipe here if you want to make your own
  • fresh basil leaves (or I used basil pesto and fresh coriander), save some for garnish
  • 1 heaped tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 lemon
  • olive oil
  • 2 or 3 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch, maizena)
  • 100 gr flour (I used spelt flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 200 ml iced fizzy water (or beer)
  • vegetable oil for deep/frying

Drizzle the aubergine slices with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, minced garlic and chilli flakes. Roast in a 200 c oven for about 30 minutes until softened. You won’t need the whole aubergine for this dish but you can keep the rest for salads, wraps or whatever.

Put the pepper strips on a plate and sieve over the cornflour until the peppers are coated on all sides.

Mash the avocados with a big squeeze of lemon and season with salt & black pepper, taste.

Cut a cross in the base of each tomato. Plunge them into a bowl of boiling water and leave for about 30 seconds. Drain then refresh them in a bowl of iced water for another 30 seconds. Then you can peel them easily.

Half or quarter the tomatoes and remove all of the seeds. Chop or dice the tomato flesh, season with salt & pepper and set aside.

Add one heaped tablespoon of mayonnaise into to a measuring jug with one teaspoon of basil pesto and/or a big handful of basil/coriander leaves for a greener colour. Add a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper. Blend with a stick blender adding a splash of water to loosen it if necessary. Taste.

Ina separate measuring jug add another teaspoon of pesto and/or a big handful of basil or coriander leaves. Drizzle over a good glug of olive oil and blend. Add more oil until you get a good drizzling consistency. Season.

Sieve the flour, baking powder & salt into a large bowl. Whisk in the ice-cold water/beer until just combined. Do not over whisk.

Heat the oil to about 180 c in a wok. Add the peppers (in two or 3 batches) to the batter and coat completely. When the oil is hot, carefully lower the first batch of peppers into the wok. When the peppers have come to the surface, if you like you can sprinkle over some more batter from a height with your fingers. This gives it an extra, light crispy coating. Use chopsticks or a metal slotted spoon to move the peppers onto the bits of batter so it sticks  to the peppers. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Drain in a sieve over kitchen paper and keep warm while you cook the rest.

Using a mould or chef’s ring on your serving plate, place two slices of aubergine into the base. Top with with a layer of the diced tomatoes then add a layer of the mashed avocado. Smooth the top and press down lightly.

Drizzle the mayonnaise, sweet chilli sauce and basil oil around the plate. Place the tempura peppers evenly around the tower/tian. Then slowly lift of the ring and serve garnished with some fresh basil or coriander leaves and a drizzle of the basil oil. Some toasted ciabatta slices would be good with this too.

Now try to get someone else to clean up the mess in the kitchen!!

For more pictures of our lunch at Harbour House check out  this post.

Have a great weekend…

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Tempura Green Peppers with Dipping Sauce

2 Sep

First of all, sorry for my lack of posts recently. I’ve had some sort of virus and I couldn’t eat. I know, it was awful. Everything made me feel sick, even the smell of food was repulsive. I haven’t cooked anything for a week. The Washer Up has been surviving on pasta (and beer obviously) and is now desperate for something different.

This has been on my “to make” list ever since these beautiful long emerald peppers first made an appearance in the fields where we walk the dog about  a month ago. They are known as frying peppers here and are used in a typically Andaluz dish called Pimientos Fritos (fried peppers) where they are simply fried in lots of good olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

This Spanish/Japanese fusion came to me because I wanted to do something a little different from the usual fried peppers and I saw Nami’s recipe for Shrimp Tempura. She also posted a video of a Japanese chef making proper tempura and I was intrigued. It looked light, airy, crispy and delicate. A million miles away from the doughy excuses you get for tempura in most places.

They are not perfect but I’m really pleased with my first attempt at making tempura. They are light, crispy and gorgeous with the dipping sauce. It’s not as hard as I thought. The kitchen’s a bit of  a state though, better clean that up before The Washer Up gets home…

I’d definitely recommend heading over to Nami’s blog and watching the video if you are going to have a go at this. It’s amazing to watch and so much easier than me trying to explain it!

Green Pepper Tempura with Dipping Sauce Recipe

Serves 2, vegan. Adapted from Just One Cookbook

  • 4 medium long green peppers (frying peppers)
  • 2 or 3 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch, maizena)
  • 100 gr (3/4 cup) flour. I’m going to try it with rice flour next time.
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 200 ml iced water
  • oil for deep-frying

For the dipping sauce:

  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) water
  • 1/2 tsp dashi flakes/powder (I used ajishima no dashi)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine or sake
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • a pinch of shichimi (a Japanese 7 spice chilli pepper mix)
  • salt & shichimi to serve

First make the dipping sauce. Heat all the ingredients in a small sauce pan over a medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the dashi. When boiling remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Cut your peppers in half lengthways, through the stalk so that both sides has a bit of stalk to pick them up with. Lay them on a plate and sieve over the cornflour. Turn the peppers in the cornflour until evenly coated. Heat up your oil in a wok or deep frying pan over a medium high heat, 170 C.

Sieve the flour, baking powder & salt into a bowl and whisk in the ice-cold water until just combined to make a batter. Don’t over whisk. 

Dip your peppers into the batter and coat them well (you will need to do it in two batches). Carefully lower them into the hot oil and sprinkle over some more batter from a height with your fingers. This gives it that extra light crispy coating. Use a metal slotted spoon or chopsticks to move the peppers onto the bits of batter (watch the video it explains it so much better) and cook for 2 or 3 minutes turning once to cook on both sides.

Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm while you cook the rest.

To serve, pile up the peppers sprinkle with sea salt and shichimi pepper and pour some of the dipping sauce into a bowl.

 Buen Provecho!!

Things That Made Me Smile Today……..

I’ve been trying to get a shot of this for ages. There’s a pair of them in the spring where Rufus likes to cool down. They look like a cross between a dragonfly and a butterfly. The Washer Up got the shot in the end, he was more patient then me and willing to balance on a rock in the stream while trying not to fall in.

He also spotted this one through a gap in a fence….

I love that you can see it’s cute little face…

Have a great weekend…

Red Onion Tempura Bhajis

3 Dec

 

I’ve never made onion bhajis before. I had been thinking about making red onion rings using a tempura batter then I found a recipe for Indian Onion Fritters on one of my favourite food blogs http://tesathome.com Tes is from Thailand but lives in India so her blog is full of really inspiring recipes from these two fantastic countries as well as beautiful photos from her travels around India & Thailand.

 Tes’s recipe uses besan which is chickpea flour to make the batter. I didn’t have any but I had some rice flour so I decided to go down the Japanese Tempura batter route but add in the Indian spices. The batter I made was very liquidy so I panicked a bit and thickened it with a few Panko breadcrumbs just to continue with the Japanese theme.

I was really pleased, they turned out to be deliciously light, crispy & spicy just how I had imagined. The colour of the red onions made them look more special. I love it when experiments work out and I hope Tes approves of my fusion of Japanese technique with Indian flavours…

Red Onion Tempura Bhajis

Serves 2 or 3 as a snack or starter,Vegetarian

  • 1 large red onion, cut in half & sliced into half moons
  • 1 small green chilli chopped
  • about 100 gr rice flour 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • ice-cold sparkling water
  • panko breadcrumbs
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Mix the rice flour, turmeric & salt together in a bowl then slowly whisk in the fizzy water until you get the consistency of single cream. Add the sliced onion, chopped chilli & coriander and mix well. Sprinkle over some panko breadcrumbs until it thickens into more of a paste.

Heat about 5cm oil in a wok/frying pan over a medium high heat until hot. Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and drop it into the hot oil. You can probably do 3 at a time depending on the size of your pan. Cook them for about 2 or 3 minutes turning occasionally until golden brown & crispy. Pat dry on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil.

Serve with a wedge of lemon to squeeze over the bhajis & some yoghurt mixed with lemon juice, mint & salt to dip them in. Eat with your fingers………….Enjoy!

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