Last week I received a delicata squash in my Stearns Farm CSA share, and this week I received a butternut squash. That’s just too many squashes to have sitting around, so I decided to tempura the delicata. You can drop just about anything in batter and pan fry it, and I love to tempura my vegetables.
Tempura is a Japanese method of cooking where you dip vegetables or seafood in batter and deep fry them. I like to use a healthier method of using rice flour for the batter and pan frying instead of deep frying. Just add cold water to the rice flour to make the batter, dip whatever you’re tempura-ing into the batter, then pan fry for a few minutes on each side. Best of all, this recipe is gluten free and vegan.
For an Asian-inspired meal, cook up some fried rice to go with it, or for a twist on tacos, add some smoked paprika to the batter, then add the tempura squash to fresh corn tortillas with sliced avocado, red onion, queso fresco, and a drizzle of lime juice. Both are super easy and really delicious.
In my basket:
1 Delicata Squash (from Stearns Farm, Framingham MA)
4 medium Carrots (from Stearns Farm, Framingham MA)
1 large yellow Onion (from Stearns Farm, Framingham MA)
From the pantry:
2 cups Rice Flour
1 cup cold water
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Fall Vegetables Tempura
Makes three main dish servings
Total time: 30 minutes
- Wash and dry the vegetables. Peel and chop the carrots in half, then slice in half again lengthwise. Peel the onion and slice into 1/3 inch rings. Leaving the skin on, cut the squash into 1/3 inch rings. Using a spoon, scrape away the seeds and membrane, discard. Set prepped vegetables aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, measure out 1 cup of flour, season with salt and pepper to taste. Gradually add 1/4 cup of cold water at a time and mix until the batter has a liquid consistency but is still thick. Set aside.
- Pick up a handful of vegetables and drop into a medium sized bowl. Sprinkle flour over vegetables to coat, add salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat evenly (the flour sticks best when the vegetables are a little wet, so I sprinkle some water onto them before I toss them in the bowl). Using tongs, a fork, or chopsticks, pick up each vegetable slice, add to the bowl of batter and coat well.
- Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add a thin layer of oil and heat until hot. Drop a tiny amount of batter into the pan. When the batter immediately makes a popping sizzle sound, add the vegetables.
- Cook vegetables on each side for 2-4 minutes, depending on how much you want each side to brown and crisp. Remove from pan and set on a paper towel-lined plate to let the excess oil drip off.
- Repeat steps 3 – 5 until all vegetables are cooked.
- Serve tempura hot and with a little soy sauce on the side. Enjoy!
Delicata Squash has a delicate skin, hence the name. It is sometimes also called sweet potato squash, and is very flavorful. The seeds can be eaten after being toasted (just like pumpkin seeds) and the skin can be eaten too. It’s a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin B, C and other minerals.
Alice Kathryn Richardson is a new media photojournalist and creator of The Clean Food Club. She previously spent two years working on Deserts in the District, a series of short-form documentaries exploring food access and hunger in Washington, DC. She is committed to supporting local and sustainable food businesses by telling their stories with photo and video. Follow her on Twitter @AKR_Pictures.