Lemony Broccoli Tempura Spears
In the Pantry Challenge video series, Lauren Braun Costello, a chef, author and food stylist, shows busy moms how to make meals using ingredients they already have in their pantries, solving their unique cooking challenges. In this episode, Lauren shows Silu N., a mother of two, how to make restaurant-quality tempura using fresh vegetables and a boxed mix.
To start this recipe off, Lauren chops long, even spears of broccoli -- she wants to make sure the spears are evenly sized, so they'll all cook in the same amount of time. Then she prepares her lemon-ponzu sauce by combining soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice, rice wine vinegar and red pepper flakes.
Next, Lauren heats oil in a large stockpot until it reaches 375 degrees (monitoring its temperature with a thermometer). Meanwhile, she prepares her tempura batter by whisking the tempura mix and cold seltzer in a large mixing bowl until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and lumps have been eliminated. Lauren likes to add cold seltzer to the batter because its carbonation makes the tempura more fluffy. (Cold seltzer will have more effervescence than a warm bottle, so make sure that it's been chilled.) She then adds lemon zest, and checks for lumps. If your batter still has lumps, thin it out with some water (humidity and brand will impact the resulting consistency). Lauren then dips the broccoli spears into the batter, making sure to drain off excess.
Lastly, it's time to fry. Lauren dips each spear into the heated oil until it stops floating, and then releases the broccoli into the pot. She fries each spear for only 60 to 90 seconds, which will be enough time to cook the raw broccoli through and give it a golden brown coating. As you add more broccoli to the pot, it will cause the oil's temperature to fluctuate, so adjust the heat accordingly to keep it around 370 to 375 degrees. (The oil should go no lower than 360 degrees, and no higher than 390 degrees.) As she lifts the spears out of the pot with a slotted spoon, Lauren drains them on paper towels and immediately sprinkles them with some salt (the hot oil helps the salt stick). Once they've cooled slightly, the broccoli spears are ready to be dipped in ponzu sauce and enjoyed.
Get the Recipe for Lemony Broccoli Tempura Spears>.