Aubergine and courgette tempura with hummus
Recipe summaryClick image to view larger version
Suitable for vegans
Category Main course
Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 15 mins
Tempura is remarkably easy to do, and a great way to get veggies into kids too. I'm quite discerning about hummus. I like it smooth, packed with flavour, and not too oily. Here, I have only used one tablespoon of oil, choosing to use the more nutritious and flavoursome chickpea water instead.
GO VEGAN: For your tempura batter, swap the dairy yogurt for a soya or coconut-based one.
- For the hummus: 400g can chickpeas, drained and water reserved
- juice of 1½ lemons (about 45ml)
- 1 tbsp chickpea water, reserved from the can
- generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper
- 1 tsp sumac
- a few sprigs of coriander
- 3 aubergines
- 50g natural yogurt
- sea salt and black pepper
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 small clove garlic, finely grated
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- chilli oil
- For the vegetable tempura: 1.5–2 litres sunflower or vegetable oil
- 3 courgettes
- juice of ½ lemon
- 150g semolina
- 1½ tbsp za’atar
To make the hummus, place the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, chickpea water, olive oil, salt and pepper into a small food processor (use a hand-held blender if you have one) and blitz until smooth. Taste for seasoning, spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with the cumin seeds, sumac, chilli oil and a few sprigs of coriander.
To make the tempura, pour the oil into a large saucepan and place on a medium heat. It takes a while to get hot, but keep an eye on it. When ready, you will see it almost begin to swirl in the pan. Test the heat by gently dropping in a piece of bread – when it sizzles and browns quickly, it is ready. When this happens, turn the heat down a little.
Meanwhile, slice the aubergines and courgettes into long strips. Mix the yogurt and lemon juice together on a large baking tray. Toss the vegetables in the yogurt mix so that they are all coated, then season with a little salt and pepper.
On another baking tray, mix together the semolina, cornflour and za'atar along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. When you are ready to make the tempura, work in batches, dipping the veg into the semolina mixture and thoroughly coating it. Deep-fry a few at a time, depending on the size of your pan; it is important not to overcrowd it. Cook for no more than 30–45 seconds, then drain on kitchen towel.
Serve the tempura on a big platter with the hummus on the side for dipping.
COOK'S TIP: Za'atar is a Northern African spice blend that you can buy ready-made in supermarkets. You can use other veg for the tempura, such as asparagus, beetroot, cauliflower and broccoli, and raita makes a lovely cooling dip too.
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