Vegetable tempura is a dish I’ve only had at restaurants, and I never thought about making it at home until I bought an air fryer! It was incredibly easy and delicious.
I looked into many studies comparing air frying to traditional frying, and as expected air frying is a much healthier technique. Here’s what I learned: researchers Dueik and Bouchon illustrate in their study “Development of Healthy Low-Fat Snacks: Understanding the Mechanisms of Quality Changes During Atmospheric and Vacuum Frying” how traditional frying increases oil in fried food, “during frying the vigorous escape of water vapor generates a barrier to prevent oil migration into the porous structure and, as a consequence, oil absorption is limited during most of the immersion period” (413). Once the food is taken out of the oil and is cooling, the oil can then be absorbed because the structure of the food crust has changed (Dueik, 413).
However, the study “Air frying a new technique [to] produce healthy fried potato strips” highlights how popular traditional frying methods are, “because of [their] ability to generate, in the final produce, a combination of texture, color, and unique flavor that makes it a more palatable and desirable food for the consumer (201). In this study, the author compared traditional fried potatoes to air fried potatoes in their composition as well as consumer opinion. He found that the amount of oil remaining in the potatoes was significantly less in the air fried potatoes, “the oil content in potato strips after frying results showed that the oil uptake in traditional fried potato strips was (14.81%) higher than air frying (0.0025%) (Shaker, 202). Not only that but the consumer opinion was similar for the traditional and air fried potatoes, “Results showed that using air frying process for fried potato strips didn’t cause any significant differences [in] sensory attributes [which] include taste, appearance, odor, crispiness, and overall acceptab[ility] compared to the fried potato strips by using traditional frying method (Shaker, 204). And if all of this information isn’t enough, the cost of the oil for traditional frying is significantly more than air frying!!
In terms of this recipe, it would be great as an appetizer for a get together or served over rice with a fried egg like I did. It makes a lot of batter so you’ll want to half it if you aren’t making a lot of veggies. And be sure to have a thin layer when battering the vegetables because it will puff up! And if you don’t have an air fryer I highly encourage it. All of your favorite recipes can be enhanced by an air fryer!
1 small head broccoli
1 small sweet potato
1 large carrot
½ sweet onion
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp potato starch
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup cold carbonated water (or just cold water)
1. Chop vegetables. Cut similar sizes of each vegetable so they cook evenly. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Prepare batter. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk the egg and the water and slowly add the dry ingredients, don’t over mix.
3. Start with a vegetable and thinly coat in the batter. Spread out evenly in the bottom of your air fryer and fry for 10-15 minutes, checking periodically for doneness. Different vegetables will have different cook times.
4. Serve over rice with soy sauce and a fried egg!
Dueik, V., and P. Bouchon. “Development of Healthy Low-Fat Snacks: Understanding the Mechanisms of Quality Changes During Atmospheric and Vacuum Frying.” Food Reviews International, vol. 27, no. 4, 2011, pp. 408–432.
Shaker, M. Arafat. “Air Frying a New Technique for Produce of Healthy Fried Potato Strips.” Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences, vol. 2, no. 4, 2014, p. 200.