extra crispy and spicy tempura vegetables

I love tempura, and as a crunch junkie its a fantastic way to add texture to vegetables.  Whilst not being the healthiest way to eat them, these make a delicious starter or snack.

Who doesn’t like a very crispy fried onion ring?

I wanted to take the crunchiness up a notch, but I couldnt find panko crumbs, so I pondered over a few alternatives and thought ‘why  not take rice crackers and grind them up? So that is exactly what I did.

I also wanted to add a bit of spice to the batter as this can often be a bit lacking.

This is what you need to make a batch of tempura batter for aprox one small head of broccoli broken up into florets and a few onion rings.  Just keep making batter if you run out and want to fry more vegetables.

You can use any kind of vegetables. I think courgette, onion rings, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and mushrooms work really well.

fried to a golden crisp

What you need to make this:

  • 250ml ice cold soda water
  • 1/2 cup flour (plus 2 Tbs) and a bit extra for dusting
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
  • 1 packet rice crackers (100gm) original flavour or a cup of panko crumbs
  • sunflower oil for frying
  • 100 – 150gm small vegetable pieces

How to make these:

  • Heat enough oil in a deep pot
  • cut the vegetables into small pieces or onion rings
  • in a bowl dust the vegetables in flour
  • lightly mix the dry ingredients, spice and soda water together using a whisk (it will be quite thin and a bit lumpy)
  • in a food processor grind the rice crackers to a fine crumb, or use a cup of panko crumbs
  • when the oil is hot, dip the floured vegetable pieces into the batter and then dip them into the crumbs to lightly coat and drop into the (this is a bit messy, so work quickly and close to the hot oil)
  • turn the vegetables over when brown on one side
  • scoop out with a slotted spoon and drain on a few layers of kitchen paper

All the exotic flavours of fennel, anise, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper and cardomom of the 5 spice makes the vegetables a little more exciting.

Serve immediately with soya sauce or this chilli-lime dipping sauce

serve with a chilli lime dipping sauce
a perfect snack or starter




  1. We tried these on Friday night and they were excellent. Didn’t have the Chinese 5 spice, but made a mix of our own. Only problem I had was the rice crackers started to clump together in the bowl after rolling a few dipped veggies in them. But everyone loved it. Thanks for the great ideas 🙂

  2. Sam

    Hi Craig, yes they do start to clump a bit, but I kind of just shmushed them over the veggies. One could also just leave the crumbs off, but I liked the extra crunchy bits. I was at a lunch today where they made tempura waterblommetjies, which were awesome.
    Glad they were enjoyed.

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