Tonic Water Tempura Baby Corn recipe

Baby Corn Tempura made with Tonic Water batter

I recently found myself with a stray pack of baby corn which I needed to use. Originally bought for a Thai curry which had to be postponed, while the chicken could take up residence in the freezer, it’s not a place for baby corn. Trust me, I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t freeze well.

Armed with Google and a store cupboard of basic supplies, I set about looking for a quick and easy recipe for Tempura Baby Corn. I adore the lightness of tempura batter, which I always think is a complement to its filling, rather than overpowering it in a heavy coating and a sea of oil.

The main ingredient I was missing was sparking water. What I did have was a quarter bottle of tonic water which was still pretty bubbly. So I thought I would give it a go and make tempura batter with tonic water. And lo and behold, a success! The tonic water batter was light and airy without having any sign of bitterness which I was worried the tonic might bring.

So I’ve successfully developed this recipe from different advice on making tempura batter and using what I had available to me at the time. It must have been good as I was only supposed to eat half of the portion I made, but rather greedily scoffed the whole lot. Oops ;o)

One thing you will definitely need is a good wok – I can highly recommend my trusty Tefal wok. I’ve had it for years and it has never let me down.

If you don’t fancy the tonic water or don’t have any available, replace it with good ‘ol, nothing-fancy, sparkling water.

You will need:

  • 200ml of tonic water
  • 1 egg yolk (medium or large will do)
  • 90g of plain flour
  • Oil for frying (I used vegetable oil, with a dash of sesame oil)
  • Pack of baby corn
  • 2 teaspoons sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (I always use the reduced salt version from Amoy)

You can of course replace or supplement the corn with other veggies such as courgette, carrot, peppers, as well as seafood that won’t fall apart like prawns and squid.

What to do:

Quick note before you get started: Don’t make the batter until you are ready to use it. Tempura batter needs to be light and airy, so it doesn’t work well if it is left to settle for too long.

  1. Pour the tonic water into a large mixing bowl, and stir in the egg yolk. Gradually add the flour into the mixture, stirring as you go.
  2. Add around 1 inch deep of oil to your pan and heat it on a medium flame or temperature for several minutes. I used my wok for deep frying, but a saucepan would also work. When an inch square of bread takes 60 seconds to brown, you know it’s good to go. I have to confess though, I don’t often use this method – I tend to just guess when it is ready! So choose what works for you.
  3. While the oil is heating, coat your fillings in the tempura batter. I did this in several batches so as not to overcrowd the bowl.
  4. When ready, place them in the heated oil for 2-3 minutes. Again, this works better in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Once the batter has firmed, take the corn, veggies or seafood out of the pan using a slotted spoon or tongs. Place on a plate covered with a few sheets of paper towel, to absorb any excess oil.
  5. Repeat as required until all of your veg or seafood is cooked.
  6. Transfer to a bowl or plate. In a side dish, mix the sweet chilli and soy sauce together.
  7. Serve and enjoy.
Baby Corn Tempura made with Tonic Water batter
Baby Corn Tempura made with Tonic Water

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