No-oil crunchy, crumbed vegetables
I have a soft spot for deep-fried food - whether crumbed or tempura. This recipe scratches the deep-fried itch, without the oil heated at high temperatures. This recipe works best with 'moist' vegetables like asparagus, cauliflower and sweet potatoe; vegetables like broccoli can be too dry when baked.
- Crumbed vegetables:
- Brine from one tin of unsalted, organic chickpeas
- 500 grams of mixed vegetables
- 2½ cups of japanese style breadcrumbs (panko)
- Dash of cold-pressed safflower or sunflower oil (or water, if you prefer)
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- ½ red chili
- 4 tblsp shoyu (or tamari)
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 6-8 tblsp water (to taste)
- Pre-heat oven to 200 C.
- Cut the vegetables into bite size pieces.
- Pour the chickpea brine into a medium mixing bowl, and use an electric egg beater to whisk the chickpea brine for around 3-5 minutes - until the brine is frothy and viscous, but before it forms stiff peaks of meringue.
- Pour the breadcrumbs into a medium mixing bowl.
- Now set up your crumbed vegetable production line: place the two bowls next to each other, with the vegetables on a large plate in easy reach, and two large baking trays covered in baking paper to the side.
- Piece-by-piece, dip the vegetables into the brine, then into the breadcrumbs and then lay out on the baking trays. You might like to keep one 'wet' hand for dipping the vegetables into the brine and then into the breadcrumbs, and one 'dry' hand for taking the vegetables out of the breadcrumbs and onto the baking trays.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are golden brown and crispy.
- While the vegetables are baking, make your dipping sauce; heat a dash of oil or water in a small pan with the garlic and chili, and cook over medium heat for 1-3 minutes without letting the garlic burn - then take off the stove, and stir in the shoyu and lemon juice. Add water to taste - because the breadcrumbs absorb quite a bit of the dipping sauce, I personally prefer more rather than less water to dilute the sauce and avoid over-powering the flavour of the vegetables.