Eggplant Tempura

Eggplant Tempura

Eggplant Tempura

This is a relatively easy recipe, but something unique for using those home-grown eggplants. If you’re short on time, you can use a store-bought tempura mix for easy prep in place of the recipe below. When testing this recipe, we also battered and fried a few basil leaves and flowers to serve with the eggplant — and let’s just say, that may have been our favorite part.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 large eggplants
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • ½ all-purpose flour
  • 6 oz seltzer water, cold
  • 1 egg, beaten and cold
  • Fresh basil and/or basil flowers

Instructions:

  1. Heat a quart of oil to 375℉ in a cast iron skillet or pot.
  2. Peel the eggplant (if desired) and cut into ½-inch slices. Sprinkle a little salt on each slice and let them stand for about 15 minutes. Rinse and drain, then wipe dry with paper towel, removing all excess moisture.
  3. Mix together rice and flour in a medium-sized bowl. When the oil reaches 360℉, whisk the seltzer water and egg together, then combine with the flour. (Don’t worry if a few lumps remain in the batter.) A key to a good tempura is keeping the batter cold, so place the tempura batter on an ice pack or inside a larger bowl filled with ice.
  4. Dip the slices of eggplant into the batter, shake off the excess, then carefully drop them into the oil (chop sticks work well for this). Cook for 2 minutes or until light golden brown. Place on a paper towel to drain.
  5. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Featured Ingredient: Japanese Eggplant
Eggplant’s versatility in the kitchen makes it an excellent ingredient on which to build many delicious dishes. Japanese eggplant long and slender, with a thin skin that’s easily edible when cooked. With a mild flavor, it’s excellent grilled with spices, roasted with other summer vegetables, or added to hummus (a great calorie-cutting trick). Pureed eggplant can also be added to sauces, creating a delectable creaminess without adding dairy. It’s mild enough to serve a supporting role in a dish, but unique enough to stand on its own. You won’t regret adding this gem to your garden! Here’s what you need to know about growing eggplant.