Fresh Flower & Herb Tempura
Caro de Waal, a Cape Town based sensory-food-experience designer, incorporates edible flowers into tasty recipes. Here's one of our favourite for you to try in your kitchen.
For the honey infusion
fynbos honey (or any honey)
buchu flowers (Agathosma stenopetala or Agathosma crenulata)
For the herbed goats’ cheese
2 basil leaves
2 sage leaves
½ log of soft goats’ cheese
salt and pepper
For the tempura
200ml sunflower oil
100g corn flour
150g plain flour
10g baking powder
a good pinch of salt
3x 150ml mini cans of soda water
To prepare the honey, pick the buchu flowers off the stalks and stir them softly into the honey to infuse. (This can be done a day in advance and will last for about a week.)
To prepare the goats’ cheese, chop the parsley, basil and sage and add it to a bowl with the cheese. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
To prepare the tempura, first make sure that you pick flowers and herbs that have not been exposed to any pesticides. Rinse them well. Pluck the tulip petals and use them separately. Cut the pansies and violets close to the base of the flowers. Pluck the marigold petals away from the hard sepals and use them in small bunches.
Heat the oil in a medium pot to 170˚C. Mix the flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl, then make a well in the centre. Slowly pour the soda water into the well and mix in the flour carefully – you don’t want to break up the bubbles.
Check that the oil is ready by dropping in a little of the batter. It should fizz but not get brown too quickly – if it does, turn it down a little. Dip the flowers, petals and herb leaves into the batter and then drop them into the oil. Do not crowd the pot and turn them once during cooking so they cook on both sides. You want a light golden colour. Drain them on kitchen paper.
To serve, tear pieces of the cheese and place them all over a platter, add the tempura pieces in a pretty formation and drizzle some honey on top. Keep the pot of honey on the side for dipping. SERVES 4