Vegetables 2 Ways: Tempura-Fried and Ponzu-Marinated

Serves: 4 as an appetizer • Time: 30 minutes

Light and crispy, tempura emerged in Japan as a popular street food made by yatai (street vendors). Here, Powell includes the classic fried version as well as a healthier, but nonetheless sumptuous, broiled option. Be sure to serve piping hot!

Vegetables 2 Ways: Tempura-Fried and Ponzu-Marinated
© Matthew Powell

INGREDIENTS

Ponzu Dipping Sauce:

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup ponzu sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. minced cilantro
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1 tsp. togarashi spice mixture (optional; see Note)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

Vegetables:

  • 2 cup flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 2½–3 cups chilled soda water
  • 1 summer squash, cut into a julienne
  • 1 zucchini, cut into a julienne
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into a julienne
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into a julienne
  • 10 green beans, trimmed
  • 10 asparagus, trimmed
  • ¼ cup ponzu sauce

DIRECTIONS

1. MAKE THE DIPPING SAUCE: In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, ponzu sauce, cilantro, scallion, togarashi, honey, and cayenne pepper together and set aside.

2. PREPARE THE VEGETABLES: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the soda water until combined but still a little lumpy. If the mixture is too thick, add more soda water 1 tablespoon at a time. Set the batter aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil to 325°F, or until shimmering. Working in batches, dip half of the vegetables in the batter and fry until golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

4. Meanwhile, toss the other half of the vegetables in the ponzu sauce. Transfer the vegetables to a broiling pan, and broil on high until the vegetables begin to char, about 4 minutes. Serve the tempura and broiled vegetables immediately with the dipping sauce.

Note: Togarashi spice mixture is an increasingly popular Japanese spice mixture made with black pepper, citrus peel, red chili pepper, nori flakes, black sesame seeds, white poppy seeds, garlic, and ginger. It is available at most grocery stores.

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