You know how you are tempted to order tempura when you have Japanese take out or delivery and it's always soggy by the time you eat it and sort of a bummer? Well for real, just make it yourself. It's INCREDIBLY EASY and so satisfying.
For the vegetables, pre-cook them by steaming them or blanching and shocking them so they're not raw when you dip them in the batter and fry them, this will make them soft and delicious when you crisp them up.
From what I've read, the key is to getting the batter really cold and dipping your veggies right before you fry them. Double dip if you like extra coating. Classic tempura isn't fried long enough to brown, but us Americans might like it that way.
1 cup AP flour (AP whole wheat would work, I am pretty sure rice flour or another gluten free flour would work too)
1 cup seltzer
2 t. salt
In a quart container, add all ingredients, shake them up and store overnight in fridge.
When you're ready, heat oil to frying temp in a deep pan or wok so there is room for the veggies to swim.
When oil is hot, dip veggies in batter and drop in hot oil, frying until just golden. Remove from oil and drain on newspaper or paper towels. Sprinkle a bit more salt over the veggies and serve quickly with a nice ginger soy or ponzu sauce.
Notes to myself after my first run:
make sure oil is HOT.
make sure the oil is not crowded.
make sure you are hungry.