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Author Notes: Ever since learned that dandelion flowers are edible, I'd been looking for them; this morning I found the flowers in the yard, so I decided to make tempura.
Tempura is the simplest and tastiest way to eat bitter vegetables. In Japan, the wild herbs in the spring, such as Fuki (butterbar shoot) and Tsukushi (horsetail), both of them quite bitter, are often eaten as tempura.
Tempura batter is usually made with flour, water, and egg yolk, but in Shojin cuisine (Japanese vegetarian), the batter is made without an egg, and it's light and easier to prepare.
When I make Shojin tempura, I often add some rice flour, too. This helps to lighten the batter as rice flour does not create gluten.
For condiment, I mixed a bit of curry powder and salt to add some spiciness, but it's also good to eat simply with just a little salt.
The dandelion flowers and leaves were great as tempura. We can try it with other edible spring herbs, too.
- 1 handful dandelion flowers and young leaves
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon rice flour
- 80 milliliters water
- oil for frying
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch curry powder
- Mix the salt and curry powder, and set aside. Wash the dandelion flowers and leaves, and pat dry with a cooking towel or paper towel.
- Start heating the oil. Meanwhile, combine the flour and rice flour and mix well. Add the water and mix roughly with a whisk, being careful not to mix too much so that it does not create gluten.
- To check the temperature of the oil, fry a small drop of batter. When the drop barely reaches the bottom of the pot and comes up to the surface soon, it’s about 170 °C (340 °F), which is the right temperature. If it touches the bottom and is slow to come up, the oil is not hot enough. If the batter splashes on the surface, it’s too hot.
- Dip only the bottom of the flower in the batter and flower for about 10 seconds. To fry the leaves, dip the entire leaf in the batter, scrape off the excess at the edge of the mixing bowl, and fry for a few seconds. Serve immediately with the curry salt.