A dish I cooked for my daughter, Sam, who was on a vegetarian diet at the time. She isn’t anymore but this lovely vegetable dish has become a mainstay in our house. That was after I realized that even the carnivores in the family love green beans cooked tempura style. I’m quite sure that it’s the light lace-like crust that coats the vegetable that everyone finds irresistible.
To make this dish, start by trimming the green beans. Pinch off the ends and pull off the “string” that runs along the sides. If your green beans are very young, that “string” might be almost non-existent.
Dump the trimmed green beans in a mixing bowl, crack an egg directly over them and sprinkle in the seasonings. Toss to coat every piece and make sure that the seasonings are evenly distributed.
Add starch and mix lightly. You’re aiming for a loose batter that easily drips off if you lift a pod. If you see small lumps of wet starch, leave them alone. Those lumps will turn into crispy bumps during frying.
Unless you have a super large frying pan or wok, cooking the battered green beans in batches is essential to ensure that the temperature of the cooking does not drop. If you cook too many pieces and the oil temperature drops, the green beans and batter will take too long to cook. By the time the batter is golden and crisp, it will have absorbed too much oil and the green beans will be soggy.
Tempura-style crispy green beans
- 100 grams green beans - trimmed
- 1 small egg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ⅓ cup corn starch - or potato starch
- cooking oil - for frying
For the dipping sauce
- 1 tablespoon Japanese mayo
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha
- ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
- Place the green beans in a bowl, add the egg, salt, pepper and cayenne. Mix well.
- Dump in the starch and mix.
- Heat enough cooking oil in a wok or frying pan to reach a depth of at least two inches.
- Drop the battered green beans one by one in the hot oil. Cook in batches until golden and crisp, about two to three minutes.
- Drain the green beans tempura on a rack or a stack of paper towels.
- Mix the ingredients for the sauce.
- Serve the tempura-style crispy green beans with the dipping sauce on the side.