THis might be the ultimate way to eat baby eggplants, crispy and creamy tender inside.
1. Cut the baby eggplants in fourths leaving the steam on, being careful not to cut all the way trough.
2. In a large bowl toss eggplants with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
3. Make the dipping sauce. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
4. Prepare the tempura batter: On a medium size bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, chilli powder and salt, whisk. Add egg and fizzy mineral water OR the beer and whisk until just combined. Place batter bowl over a bowl with ice, and refigerate for 5 minutes, while your oil comes to temperature.
5. In a small tall pot add the oil and heat it up to 350F/ 175C use a frying thermometer for best results.
6. Once the oil has reached the temperature, test your oil by dropping some batter into the oil. It should come afloat immediately. Now, take each eggplant by the steam and dip it on the cold tempura batter, promptly and carefully, gently drop the eggplant on the oil. With the help of a fork, drizzle on fast zigzag motion some of the batter on top of the eggplant that is on the oil. This will give extra bits of crispy batter morsels. Wait 1-2 minutes, and using some wood chopsticks or a spider skimmer and flip the eggplant to the other side, wait 1 more minute, until its beautiful and light golden brown, take it out and place it on a wire rack.
Depending upon the size of your frying pot, you can fry 2-3 at the time, monitor the oil temperature every time you start a new batch. Too hot oil will scorch the batter, too cold oil will yield oily tempura. Once you find your frying rhythm this process goes really fast!
Serve immediately, eat while is warm, dip munch, crisp, repeat... enjoy!
*For Tex-mpura, substitute the fizzy water for a ligh or ambar beer of your affection. My suggestion, I love Austin, Adelbert's Brewery its a local beer and my choice for this recipe will be “the naked nun” why well, as they described their beer: "THE ALE: This ale has a well-rounded aroma of citrus notes, clove, and apple. It is refreshing and soft, with balanced hints of bitter orange peel and coriander".
Hello! That's what I want on my batter!