Cauliflower Tempura with Lemon-Herb Dipping Sauce

This recipe serves four.


  • 2 quarts water
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets, stems split for even cooking
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • As needed, vegetable oil for frying
  • To taste, salt and black pepper
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon Juice
  • 2 Tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 4 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs, any favorite-chives, parsley, tarragon etc.


Bring the water milk to a boil. (The lactic acid in the milk helps keep the cauliflower white when cooked). Add the cauliflower in two separate batches to the rapidly boiling water for about two minutes or until still crunchy. Check by tasting one for your desired tenderness.

Shock the cauliflower in a bowl of ice and water to stop the cooking. Repeat with the remaining sprouts. When the sprouts are cold, drain all the ice water and pat them dry with a paper towel. Reserve.

Sift together into a bowl the first measure of flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water, egg and vegetable oil. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. The batter should be a little thinner than pancake batter. If it is too thick, add more water. If it is too thin, add more flour. Reserve.

Heat a deep fryer with vegetable oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add enough of the batter to coat the sprouts. Remove a few at a time, let any excess batter drip off and carefully place in the fryer.

Fry only 10 to 12 sprout pieces at a time until they are a very light golden color. Drain on paper towels.

Serve with the dipping sauce prepared by whisking together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest and fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Lincoln Culinary Institute 

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