In my recent blog post that presented my biography, I mentioned that Tempura Wild Garlic is my favourite thing to cook on campfire; therefore, this blog post presents the recipe and method we use to cook it in the woods. It is something we cook during the spring and into the summer, until the wild garlic wilts and dies off- we’ve had it recently during our Family Bushcraft Mornings and activities for different groups!
The first thing, and the most important, is that you are sure that you know what you’re foraging! It isn’t a case of picking anything and trying it! One bed-fellow of wild garlic is Lords & Ladies, or Arum Maculatum– which is poisonous! If you’re not 100% sure of what it is- then don’t eat it! There’s been recent examples of people consuming things that are not good for them! Have a look at this post for some background information. There’s also the need to both ensure that what you forage is sustainable (my advice is to only take 1 in 20 leaves), and that you are legally allowed to forage (taking just the foliage for personal consumption is acceptable).
So, once you”re sure you’ve gathered wild garlic, this is what you’ll need:
- Mixing bowl
- Frying pan
- Plate (lined with kitchen paper)
- Bowl (for gathering wild garlic)
The ingredients you will need are:
- One and half cups of plain flour
- One cup of corn flour
- Tablespoon of baking powder
- Soda water (enough to make a consistency of double cream…)
- Wild Garlic!
So, the method of making this lovely foraged snack, is:
- Forage your wild garlic, making sure it’s clean (you can wash if you wish- but make sure that all excess water is dabbed off so it doesn’t react with the hot oil…)
- Pour approximately two inches of oil in the frying pan and pop on the fire
- Mix the flour, corn flour and baking powder in the mixing bowl
- Gradually add the soda water, mixing and whisking until the batter is smooth and the consistency of double cream
- Drop a few slashes of the batter in the oil- if it bubbles straight away then it’s hot enough!
- Holding the stem of the wild garlic- dip the leaf in the batter so that it is totally coated
- Let the excess batter drip off the leaf, then carefully lay it into the oil- they should bubble straight away!
- We normally get four or five leaves in the pan at any one time- gently separate them if they get stuck together!
- After a minute or so, turn the leaves with the spatula- the bottom should be a pale golden brown
- Once the bottom has cooked, lift the leaves out of the pan- letting the oil drip off before placing the leaves in the plate on the kitchen paper
- Leave them to cool for a few minutes, then eat whilst still warm and crisp!
Be careful not to cook too long, and to make sure the entire leaf is coated in batter. what we are trying to do is get the leaf to gently cook by steaming- if it is cooked too much then we lose the lovely garlic flavour. You can serve the leaves with dips of your choice- sweet chilli or hoisin is nice- but these do mask the garlicness!
You can also cook dock leaves, nettles and plantain in tempura batter- as well as some edible flowers- such as nasturtium and primrose. What ever you cook, they make a lovely starter or snack that allows us to capture the flavour of the woodland!