Vegetable and Shrimp Tempura: Meatless Mondays

One in a while, I like to batter and fry some munchies for dinner. A light and crispy tempura makes a perfect side to a fish such as shrimp or halibut.  Cut up the veggies small enough and make it easy to pack into a lunch the next day with a little soy sauce.

tip: for those who dislike fish/seafood, try some grilled mango glazed tofu. (sweet/salty combo)

large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail shells left intact

veggies: eggplant, broccoli, sweet potato, zucchini

salt and pepper, vegetable oil, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1.5 tbsp baking powder, some ice water

Bring medium pot water to boil over high heat. Have large bowl ice water ready. Add your veggies to boiling water about 30 seconds. Using slotted spoon, immediately transfer to ice water to stop cooking, then drain well and dry on paper towels.

Make several shallow cuts across inside curve of each shrimp and gently press shrimp flat on cutting board (to help prevent curling during cooking). Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper.

In large saucepan over moderate heat, heat 4 inches of  vegetable oil.

In large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and sesame oil. Gradually and gently whisk in 2 1/2 cups ice water, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy.)

Working in batches, using tongs  dip shrimp and vegetables into batter and fry, turning occasionally, until golden, about 2 minutes for shrimp and other vegetables. Transfer to paper towels to drain. keep an eye on your oil and remove any residual bits of batter from oil before adding next batch. (fry a few pieces at a time to prevent sticking together rather than a whole batch at once)