Here’s how to make asparagus tempura that’s shatteringly crisp and uber light thanks to its awesome beer batter coating. We’re talking out-of-this-world deliciousness.
Asparagus tempura? Why not! “You can pretty much beer batter anything,” says author and beer lover Jacquelyn Dodd. “Vegetables, meat, car keys.” Well, let’s start with vegetables. Asparagus to be specific. You’re going to be wowed at how easy it is to make this out-of-this-world beer-battered asparagus that’s shatteringly crisp on the outside and tender but not mushy inside. The only trick is to select spears that are on the thickish side so that they turn tender but not mushy during frying. We’re thinking of trying this batter on slender scallions and even herbs next. As for car keys, you’re on your own.–Renee Schettler
WHY IS MY TEMPURA SOGGY?
We know how exciting it is when there’s tempura on the way…but you’ll need to take your time if you want the crispest veg possible. Overcrowding the pan is a big mistake. Those battered spears need room and, more importantly, when you just dump ’em all in there, the temperature of the oil drops dramatically. And there’s the problem—when they oil isn’t hot enough, you’re gonna end up with limp, soggy, oily tempura. So take your time and fry in small batches.
- Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup beer
- 3 to 6 cups mild vegetable oil for frying
- 1 pound thick asparagus ends trimmed
- In a large, wide saucepan or a wok over medium-high heat, add about 4 inches oil. Using a deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer, bring the oil to 350°F (177°C), adjusting the heat to maintain that temperature. Place a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet.
- In a large, shallow bowl or a small roasting pan, stir together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and beer until well combined. It will be quite thick and may take up to 1 minute of stirring for it everything to be completely incorporated.
- Dip the asparagus in the batter, a few at a time, until well coated, letting the batter drain off for a few seconds before adding to the hot oil.
- Deep-fry the asparagus in batches, being certain not to crowd the oil, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Using tongs or a slotted spoon, move the asparagus to the wire rack to drain. Serve hot.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
What a fun and tasty recipe for asparagus tempura! We adored this simple yet unique recipe—it worked perfectly with thick asparagus spears and calls for a wonderful beer batter that I think can be used for any veggies or even proteins.
You probably always have the batter ingredients handy. I used a local beer popular in Atlanta called Sweetwater 420, and it gave a nice carbonation and flavor to the batter. I was afraid at first that the basic batter wasn't going to be very flavorful, but I was mistaken. The results were perfectly cooked asparagus spears coated in a thick, lightly browned coating that was out-of-this-world delicious.
I used a straight-sided 9-inch sauté pan to heat the oil and fry the spears. I couldn't help myself, but I lightly salted the cooked, hot spears with kosher salt when they came out of the oil and were draining on the rack. I thought it added a nice finishing flavor. I would love to try it next with thinly sliced carrots, eggplant, and maybe some jumbo shrimp or cubes of firm fish.
This exquisite rustic bar food is so simple to make yet at the same time much better than ordinary deep-fried vegetable matter. Maybe it was the asparagus or maybe—probably—it was the tempura batter. The whole shebang took no more than 15 or 20 minutes hands-on time. I used a light beer, as I find it nearly criminal to use a good, drinkable beer in a deep-fry batter. I used about 3 cups vegetable oil in my trusty 10 1/2-inch cast-iron skillet. What a great easy recipe. A certain winner! This batter works so well that I'm going to try using it for fried pickles at some point. Maybe a pinch of cayenne next time?
The batter on these was puffy, crisp, and golden without weighing down the asparagus. Very easy to put together, and the batter held up perfectly. I made the batter while the oil was heating. I used a Kronenbourg wheat beer, and the batter took a solid minute of stirring to fully mix. It was quite thick but not clumpy.
I used a 20-centimeter pot, as that was what size my asparagus was trimmed to. The batter clung evenly to the asparagus and cooked to an even golden color in 1 1/2 minutes. I wasn't able to do more than 4 or 5 stalks at a time as they tended to stick together in the pot. Also, I would avoid using thin asparagus. A couple stalks were thin and they ended up overcooked and stringy by the time the batter was done.
Very nice tempura asparagus recipe. The batter was super crisp and thin enough so that the asparagus could shine through. Very pretty. Came together very quickly, too.
I used a German Weizenbier, Franziskaner, and it worked very well. I used my wok and 4 cups sunflower oil. The wok worked like a charm. I really liked the outcome. The asparagus was tender with still a little bite. The batter was super crisp. A keeper.
This asparagus tempura is lightly crisped on the outside while the asparagus itself melted in my mouth—the spears were tender but not mushy. Everyone in the house loved it! The recipe works as written, but it's not weeknight friendly.
I used Fat Tire beer. I measured 6 cups oil to measure 4 inches deep in my 6-inch saucepan. I mixed the batter in a 9-by-9-inch pan instead of a bowl. This made it easier to dip the asparagus in the batter without breaking it. The recipe took about 45 minutes and most of that was spent watching the asparagus fry so that it wouldn’t overcook. I'd prefer to use my deep fryer for this recipe to regulate the temperature of the oil.
The asparagus tempura was great with its crisp and light batter.
The total time, including letting the batter sit for 30 minutes in the fridge, slowly bringing the oil up to 350°F, and deep-frying, was about 40 minutes. The beer I used was Guinness Blonde American Lager. I used 6 cups canola oil in a 3 3/4-quart saucepan.
Originally published April 30, 2016