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Gluten Free Sweet Potato Tempura

Posted May 28 2009 12:23am
Here is gluten free, vegan sweet potato tempura. It came out light and crisp and oh so yummy.

Tempura, a Japanese dish of deep fried vegetables, fish and shrimp in a crispy wheat and egg based batter, has long been a kind of holy grail for me. When I was living in Japan, long before giving up gluten, tempura was one of my favorite foods. But I never tried to make it at home.

Having to give up gluten and egg changed that for me. Suddenly I craved tempura all the time. And if couldn't get gluten free tempura at a restaurant, I'd have to figure out how to make it myself.

The epiphany for me came while I was reading one of my Indian cookbooks. In it was a recipe for onion bhaji, onions coated in thick chick pea flour batter and spices and deep fried, served with a spicy sauce.

I made a slightly thinner batter using chick pea flour and it worked ! The batter works well with any vegetables or fish. I've had good success with julienned vegetables such as sweet potato, carrots, string beans and onions mixed together and coated with batter to make a kind of 'nest.' Here I served the sweet potatoes with a wedge of lime. Sometimes I make a dipping sauce using grated daikon and gluten free soy sauce.

Here's the recipe:

2 cups chickpea flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup cold water
vegetables, fish and/or shrimp
vegetable oil to fry, such as canola or rice bran

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually mix in cold water to make a batter.

Heat enough oil in a wok or deep pan to deep fry. Test the temperature by dropping small bits of batter into the oil. When the turn golden brown, the oil is ready.

Lightly dip vegetables, fish or shrimp into the batter and immediately drop into the oil. Turn over once. They are down when golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with dipping sauce.
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