Goat Cheese Tempura with Honey Dipping Sauces

Goat Cheese Tempura with Honey Dipping Sauces

Grand Prize Winner - National Honey Board’s “Sweet 16 Honey Recipe Challenge”
By Perry Xu Cao, Student, Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park

Cao’s Goat Cheese Tempura recipe was inspired in part by his first kitchen job, making shrimp tempura.  For the Sweet 16 Honey Recipe Challenge, Cao artfully concocted three dipping sauces, infusing three honey varietals (from ubiquitous Clover to bold Buckwheat), with floral essences and uniting them with spices and flavorful berries. The result is a mouthwatering appetizer that can be dressed up or down, suitable for white tablecloth to fast casual establishments.  For high-volume applications, the dipping sauces can be prepared in advance and easily served using squeeze bottles.  What’s more, the colorful sauces will complement a variety of savory items, including pork, chicken and vegetables.

Yield: 8 servings


  • ——- - For Rose-Clover Honey Sauce, ——-
  • 8 ounces - water
  • 3 - juniper berries
  • 2 - cloves
  • 1 - rose flower
  • 1 cup - clover honey
  • ——- - For Saffron-Wildflower Honey Sauce, ——-
  • 8 ounces - water
  • 3 - juniper berries
  • 2 - cloves
  • 1 ounce - saffron
  • 1 cup - wildflower honey
  • ——- - For Lavender-Buckwheat Honey Sauce, ——-
  • 8 ounces - water
  • 3 - juniper berries
  • 2 - cloves
  • 1 ounce - lavender, fresh
  • 1 cup - buckwheat honey
  • ——- - For Goat Cheese Tempura, ——-
  • 16 ounces - goat cheese, grated
  • lemon zest, to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups - constarch
  • 1 cup - oil
  • 1 - egg
  • 1 box - panko breadcrumbs
  • oil, for frying
  • ——- - Optional Garnish, ——-
  • micro flowers
  • honeycomb


To make honey sauces:

Place 8 ounces of water each into three separate saucepans and bring to a boil. Create three small sachets for each sauce, containing the juniper berries, cloves, and rose flower, saffron or lavender, respectively.  Place each sachet in a separate saucepan and steep in boiling water until flavor is extracted and reduced to about 2 ounces each. Remove sachets. Add the clover honey to the rose extract; add wildflower honey to the saffron extract; and add buckwheat honey to the lavender extract. Bring mixtures back to a boil and stir well. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Reserve for service.

To make tempura:

Mix lemon zest into goat cheese to taste. Roll goat cheese into small, bite-size balls. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to harden. Mix together cornstarch, 1 cup oil and egg to create batter. Dip goat cheese balls into batter and roll in panko. Fry until golden brown.

Serving Suggestion

Plate using three Chinese soupspoons, placing each sauce into a separate spoon to form a shallow pool. Place a fried goat cheese tempura ball on top of each spoon. Lightly drizzle the respective honey varietal onto each goat cheese ball. Garnish with micro flowers and honeycomb, if desired.