It’s Academy Awards week here and I’m sharing ideas and recipes for throwing your own Oscars Viewing Party. Today’s recipe is for shatteringly crisp tempura-fried vegetables served with a sweet-salty miso-mustard sauce.
This dish is inspired by The Descendants, which shows a very real look into the trials and tribulations of everyday life in modern Hawaii. Since contemporary food in Hawaii is a mix of American and Asian flavors, I wanted to create a recipe that would reflect that. While traditional tempura is served with a mirin dipping sauce, here I paired it with a miso-mustard sauce that’s a riff on the thoroughly Hawaiian fusion-style sauce, misoyaki.
This is another of the cocktail party finger food-friengly recipes that I developed for Moët & Chandon as part of Oscars season. As part of the menu, I had to include something fried, because, as anyone who’s had a potato chip with her aperitif can vouch, salty, fried food goes deliciously with champagne. So, even if you’re not up to making this tempura, you could stir together the sauce and serve it with your favorite chips and a glass of something bubbly.
Crisp Tempura Vegetables with Miso-Mustard Sauce Recipe
- Makes: 8 to 12 servings as an hors d’oeuvres (1/2 cup dipping sauce)
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
- For the sauce:
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup white or yellow (aka mellow) miso
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoons unrefined cane sugar
- For the batter:
- Canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil, for frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, chilled
- 1 cup rice flour, chilled
- 2 1/3 cups ice cold seltzer water or pale ale beer
- 1 red or sweet onion, cut into 1-inch slices and separated into rings
- 1 large sweet potato or yam (about 8 ounces), sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 8 ounces green beans, ends trimmed
- 8 ounces broccolini, ends trimmed
- 1 head fennel, quartered and cored
- 15 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- For the sauce:
Whisk everything together, taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use. (Sauce can be made up to 4 days ahead.)
- For the batter:
Line a baking sheet with paper towels then fill a large saucepan with at least 2 inches of oil (about 6 to 8 cups oil). Insert a deep frying thermometer and heat the oil to 350°F over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, prepare the batter. Combine flours in a medium bowl then nest it in a second bowl of ice water (to help keep the batter as cold as possible). Add the cold seltzer or beer to the flour and whisk until just combined. (There should be a few lumps left – if you over whisk it will get gummy.)
Place a handful of the prepared vegetables in the batter and toss to coat. Remove vegetables one by one and let excess batter drip off. Place carefully into heated oil and cook, stirring a few times, until just beginning to color, about 1 minute for the thinner vegetables and 3 minutes for the thicker vegetables. Remove to paper towels, season with salt, and repeat to cook all vegetables.
Serve hot or warm with dipping sauce, lemon wedges, and extra salt.
Notes: If you can’t find rice flour, use a mixture of equal parts all-purpose flour and cornstarch. The key to a good tempura is to have all the ingredients as cold as possible and to keep the oil at as consistent a temperature as possible. To do so, chill all the ingredients (vegetables, flours, and seltzer before using) and use a deep frying (aka candy) thermometer to make sure the oil is properly heated.
This recipe is part of a week of recipes for hosting your own Oscars Viewing Party.