Charcoal tempura

We love tempura, but the smell of deep frying in the house is always a serious disincentive to making it. We don’t believe in single use appliances, and also don’t eat fried food all that often, so we don’t own a dedicated deep fryer.

Enter the little Chinese charcoal brazier I picked up at Tap Phong a couple of weeks ago. I figured if it pushed out enough heat to make a huge pot of chicken curry it should get oil hot enough for frying.

After the charcoal was lit I topped it with a cast iron round bottom pan and added a generous amount of canola oil. A candy thermometer gave an indication of temperature and sure enough within five minutes the oil had reached 350ºF, the ideal temperature for frying.

Prep was really simple: A couple of sweet potatoes went through the slicer, some lovely organic broccoli got separated into little florets. The batter consisted of one egg, one cup of iced water and one cup of flour. Mix quickly but don’t overmix. The batter needs to stay lumpy for best results. Dredge the vegetables in flour, in batter and fry. Serve with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce and mirin.

It was simple and delicious. Sorry about the crappy images, my camera is in repair and all I had handy was my iPhone.

Oh look, a mise en place complete with blowtorch. What could be better?


The temperature dropped about 10º every time I added a fresh batch of vegetables but came up back to 350 in no time at all.