Peixinhos da Horta ~ Tempura Green Beans

These Portuguese peixinhos da horta (or fish of the garden if translated literally to English) are actually tempura green beans. The veggies are dipped in a mixture of flour and club soda and then deep-fried and served with garlic mayonnaise.

A pile of Portuguese peixinhos da horta (tempura green beans) draining on brown paper in a strainer, a spider spatula nearby

These crispy, crunchy, ethereally light and delicious green beans are a conversation-stopping appetizer or tapas. The secret to the ethereally airy coating is using extremely cold soda or sparkling water. Dunked in garlic mayo or tartar sauce, the beans will be gone as fast as you can make them, so pay attention in order to be sure you snatch a few for yourself.–Angie Zoobkoff

Peixinhos da Horta | Tempura Green Beans

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 40 M
  • Serves 2 to 4
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Line a plate with paper towels and place it near the stove. In a deep pot set over medium-high heat, add enough oil to reach a depth of about 2 inches (5 cm). Heat the oil until it reaches 350°F (180°C) on a deep-fry thermometer. [Editor’s Note: If you don’t have a thermometer, use the bread test: Once the oil is shimmering, drop in a cube of day-old bread and if it browns in no less than 30 seconds, the oil is ready. If it burns in that time, turn the heat down.]

Make sure your beans are completely dry and your oil is hot before preparing the batter. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk together the flour, salt, and 2/3 cup soda water. It’s fine if some lumps of flour remain. If necessary, add more water, a little at a time, until the batter reaches the consistency of heavy cream.

Working with 3 to 4 beans at a time, dunk them in the batter, ensuring they’re well coated, then carefully lower them into the hot oil. Cook until the batter is pale gold and crunchy, 30 to 90 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to lift out the beans and drain them on the lined plate. Repeat with the rest of the beans, being sure not to crowd the pot.

In a small bowl, stir the crushed garlic with the mayonnaise, if using.

Serve the deep-fried green beans with the garlic mayonnaise or, if desired, with tartar sauce, as is often done in Lisbon.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Ahhh, "peixinhos da horta," a Portuguese classic. This recipe for tempura green beans does not disappoint. I have had my fair share of these battered green beans in my lifetime and I have to say, this recipe is by far the best tasting and lightest version that I have ever made or tasted. The batter is super light and crispy, and the beans al dente. So good!

We did not use any dip for the beans as we found them delicious on their own when hot. Even more delicious with some cold light beer.

I used round French green beans. I only filled my 9-inch Creuset pot with 1 1/2 inches of oil and it was more than enough. I used 2/3 cup sparkling water, which I placed in the freezer for a bit to make sure it was ice-cold.

These peixinhos da horta, are crispy, tender, crunchy, and just enough salt. They're super easy to whip up and taste great! The recipe could serve 4 as an appetizer but these are addictive.

The batter was more the consistency of waffle or crepe batter than heavy cream and in retrospect could have been a touch thicker for a nicer coating and less leftover batter at the end. I used mayo not tartar sauce.

This took over 10 batches to cook all of the beans. By the time I finished, the first few batches were cool. Next time I think I would preheat the oven to low to keep the finished batches in while I continued to cook beans.

There really wasn't time to prep the mayo sauce while the beans were cooking. I would do that in the first step next time and allow it to rest in the refrigerator until ready. I can see where freshly made mayo would really sing here! All in all, these green beans were delicious on their own. They weren't too salty or heavy and they had a lovely and light crunch. The beans were perfectly cooked at just tender and they weren't soft or limp. These were very easy to make and definitely don't last long!

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