Here’s how to make asparagus tempura that’s shatteringly crisp and uber light thanks to its awesome beer batter coating. We’re talking out-of-this-world deliciousness.
Asparagus tempura? Why not! “You can pretty much beer batter anything,” says author and beer lover Jacquelyn Dodd. “Vegetables, meat, car keys.” Well, let’s start with vegetables. Asparagus to be specific. You’re going to be wowed at how easy it is to make this out-of-this-world beer-battered asparagus that’s shatteringly crisp on the outside and tender but not mushy inside. The only trick is to select spears that are on the thickish side so that they turn tender but not mushy during frying. We’re thinking of trying this batter on slender scallions and even herbs next. As for car keys, you’re on your own.–Renee Schettler
WHY IS MY TEMPURA SOGGY?
We know how exciting it is when there’s tempura on the way…but you’ll need to take your time if you want the crispest veg possible. Overcrowding the pan is a big mistake. Those battered spears need room and, more importantly, when you just dump ’em all in there, the temperature of the oil drops dramatically. And there’s the problem—when they oil isn’t hot enough, you’re gonna end up with limp, soggy, oily tempura. So take your time and fry in small batches.
- Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup beer
- 3 to 6 cups mild vegetable oil for frying
- 1 pound thick asparagus ends trimmed
- In a large, wide saucepan or a wok over medium-high heat, add about 4 inches oil. Using a deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer, bring the oil to 350°F (177°C), adjusting the heat to maintain that temperature. Place a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet.
- In a large, shallow bowl or a small roasting pan, stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and beer until well combined. It will be quite thick and may take up to 1 minute of stirring for it everything to be completely incorporated.
- Dip the asparagus in the batter, a few at a time, until well coated, letting the batter drain off for a few seconds before adding to the hot oil.
- Deep-fry the asparagus in batches, being certain not to crowd the oil, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Using tongs or a slotted spoon, move the asparagus to the wire rack to drain. Serve hot.
Originally published April 30, 2016