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How to Make Crisp Gluten Free Tempura | Gluten Free Recipe Box
My recent attempt, actually my first attempt, at creating a crispy gluten free tempura recipe actually turned out super crispy and delicious. They’re dairy-free and egg-free, too! There are no special gluten free ingredients required. Use this recipe with vegetables, chicken or shrimp.
Ingredients such as cornstarch, baking soda, and sparkling water create the desired crispness you look for in tempura. Be sure to chill your ingredients as doing so makes them even crispier.
To educate you, I want to explain the ingredients that I used. While at first I was tempted to use just white rice flour as it is the gluten free flour that crisps the most. However, knowing that cornstarch also lends a crispness to baked and fried goods, I went ahead and used some in this recipe. It was perfect! I also enjoy the yellow/gold color it creates. Now, if you are intolerant to corn, you may use potato starch instead. It has similar properties as cornstarch, but just a little less of the crisping elements. For those who are intolerant to both, use all rice flour, without any starch. Tapioca and arrowroot are too chewy for this recipe. In addition, arrowroot tends to make things soft.
One of the keys to making anything crispy that is to be deep-fried is the use of cold ingredients. It doesn’t matter if it is a batter, a breading, or potatoes. Not only should your vegetable be cold, but chill your flour and starch, as well.
You can use this recipe with vegetables such as asparagus, zucchini, onion wedges, red bell pepper wedges, even shrimp and chicken.
Deep-frying is always easiest in a deep-fryer, however, the recipe includes tips for those without one. You don’t even need a thermometer though they are helpful.
True tempura consists of a light batter that may not even cover all of the the item you are deep-frying. However, you can always cut back on the water to create a thicker batter. Another option is to dip the item in the batter, fry it for 20 seconds, dip it in the batter again, and fry for about 2 minutes. This will create a thicker batter like the one used in my Gluten Free Onion Rings recipe.
In traditional, gluten tempura recipes you’ll notice that the batter is lumpy. To achieve this, you leave the lumps in the batter. However, as thin as the batter is that I created, there are not a lot of lumps in it. Feel free to add additional rice flour to make it thicker and lumpier, if you are after a similar appearance and texture.
A super crispy gluten free tempura recipe for vegetables, chicken or shrimp; along with an education on how the ingredients achieve what they make!
Oil for frying
3/4 cup white or brown rice flour, chilled - plus more for dusting
1/2 cup cornstarch, chilled
1/2 teaspoon salt, chilled
1/4 teaspoon baking soda, chilled
2/3 cup sparkling water, chilled
1/2 cup gluten-free panko bread crumbs* (optional)
Chilled vegetables of choice: bell pepper wedges, skewered onion wedges, sweet potato sticks, eggplant sticks, broccoli florets, zucchini slices or sticks
Shrimp, shelled, trimmed, and deveined (optional)
Preheat enough oil to cover the pieces of food, at least 2 inches, in a heavy skillet; or preheat a deep-fryer to 375°F**. Line a plate with paper towels; set aside. Add some brown rice flour to another plate to use for dredging items.
Dredge the vegetables or shrimp in the brown rice flour, and transfer to a plate.
In a separate container or bowl, whisk together the rice flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda.
Pour the cold sparkling water into the flour mixture a little bit at a time and whisk until thoroughly combined. (Adding gluten-free panko bread crumbs will create the traditional lumpy texture.)
Using metal tongs, dip the floured items into the batter and slowly lower them into the hot oil. Do not let go of them until they are cooked enough not to stick to the skillet or the deep-fryer, about 30 seconds. Release them into the oil and continue to cook for about 2-1/2 minutes or until crisp. (Do not overcrowd the oil as your items will not crisp as well. Be sure to bring the temperature back up to 375°F prior to frying your next batch.)
Using tongs, remove each item and allow any excess grease to drip back into the skillet/fryer. Then transfer them to the paper-towel-lined plate to drain. If desired, immediately sprinkle them with additional salt. Cover and refrigerate leftover batter. However, the sparkling water will go flat and not make as crispy tempura.
*To make homemade panko breadcrumbs, remove the inside dough from baked Schar Ciabatta Rolls and allow to dry overnight or a couple of days. Crumble into small pieces by adding to a plastic bag. Then crush them to 1/16 to 1/8 inch in diameter using a rolling pin. (You can use the shell from the rolls to fill with all of the fixings of an omelet and bake at 400°F for 13 - 14 minutes.)
For less crispy and light colored crust, fry at 350°F.