Hogweed Tempura

People often ask me what hogweed shoots taste like. It’s a hard question to answer as there is just no supermarket vegetable equivalent that I can think of. So hogweed just tastes like, well, hogweed! Making a tempura of it is exquisite and, without a doubt, is the best way to serve it. Especially if accompanied by a homemade dipping sauce. I use a spiced elderberry vinegar mixed with a little soy and a tree sap syrup. Johnny Aitken, a lovely chef that I know, added some pomegranate molasses to my salad dressing mix which also makes a great dipping sauce. The trick with tempura is to chill everything, not to over blend the batter and have the oil at the right heat. 

Common hogweed shoot tempuraCommon hogweed shoot tempura

Ingredients

  • 50g of cornflour
  • 50g of rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 100 ml of chilled fizzy water*
  • Sunflower oil for frying

* You can also use soda water, lager, or a 50:50 mix of vodka and water. The latter is useful if you want to use up one of your infused vodkas. Infused ground ivy vodka and alexanders vodka go very well with hogweed tempura. 
Directions

Trim your hogweed shoots and emote any soil.

Set your oil to heat in a deep fat fryer to 180F. 

Put the powdered ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Add the chilled liquid and quickly mix into a batter. A few lumps are fine – don’t overblend as it works the gluten. You can add a little more water if it seems too thick. 

Dip each shoot in the batter, coat it well, then put it into the hot oil. Fry for 2 minutes until crispy.

A traditional teriyaki sauce would be:

  • 20g of soy sauce
  • 20g of sake
  • 20g of mirin
  • 20g of corn starch

Try using a homemade vinegar, such as:

  • 40g of spiced elderberry vinegar
  • 20g of 1:1 simple syrup (magnolia infused syrup is great)
  • 20g of corn starch

Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over the gas for a few minutes until it starts to thicken. Set aside to cool.
Common hogweed shoots

Common hogweed shoot tempura

Common hogweed shoot tempura

Common hogweed shoot tempura

What do you think?