Okra isn’t something I cook with much, it’s not easy to get round here. So it’s quite a treat to have some to play with!
I decided to go the tempura route this time, partly because there’s still rather a lot of fresh horseradish left from the Christmas pie recipe, and with horseradish often being used as a wasabi substitute it seemed to fit nicely with the vaguely Japanese theme.
I’ve done mushrooms too, because they work so very well in tempura batter, and make a nice contrast to the okra. Crisp batter, tender vegetables, and punchy dipping sauce. A treat indeed!
for the tempura
100 g okra, cut in half lengthways
2 large flat mushrooms, cut into 5 mm slices
100 g gluten free flour
1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
a pinch of salt
120 ml ice cold sparkling water
3 tbsp cornflour (corn starch), for dredging
oil for deep frying
for the dipping sauce
1 tbsp finely grated fresh horseradish
3 tbsp tamari
1/2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
a pinch of sugar
To make the dipping sauce, simply combine all of the ingredients and leave for a few minutes for the flavours to infuse.
It’s best to work quickly when making tempura, so make sure the baking powder and salt are mixed into the flour, the water is measured out, and the vegetables are prepared.
Get the oil on to heat up. I used a 22 cm cast iron saucepan with about 4 cm of oil in it, which was 750 ml. Heated on a medium flame it took 5 minutes to get hot enough, so a little drop of the batter sizzles on the top if the oil.
Sprinkle the cornstarch onto the vegetables, and toss to coat.
Put the flour mixture and sparkling water into a bowl and whisk lightly, it should be lumpy.
Shake each piece of vegetable to remove excess cornflour and then dip into the batter. Lower carefully into the oil. Don’t overcrowded the pan! Fry in batches, for around 3 minutes until crisp.
Drain on kitchen paper before serving with the dipping sauce.