The incredibly crispy light batter really makes this a winner. Refined rapeseed varieties have a very high smoke point making them ideal for deep fat frying at high temperatures to a crispy finish.
Tip: Mix the batter just as you are about to cook, don’t over-mix it, or let it stand; keep the batter ice-cold and the oil hot and don’t fry too many pieces at once as this will reduce the temperature of the oil. Click here for more info on oil type
- Heat oven to 150C/300F.
- First make the dip by heating the sunflower oil in a pan and sautéing the garlic until soft but not coloured.
- Add the chilli and red pepper and continue to sauté over moderate heat for one minute before stirring in fermented chilli paste (you can find this is in the Chinese or Asian section of the supermarket) and tomato puree.
- Cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly until the raw flavor of the tomato puree has gone.
- Remove from heat and leave to cool. Place the mixture into a blender with mayonnaise and blend until you have a smooth paste. For the tempura vegetables, cover a baking tray with sheets of kitchen paper.
- Start to heat a deep-fat frying pan, a deep fat fryer or large wok a third full of rapeseed oil and have the frying basket, or slotted spoon to hand whilst you make the tempura batter.
- For the batter, sift plain flour and cornflour and add pinch of fine sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the ice-cold sparkling mineral water, but don’t over beat. It doesn’t matter about a few lumps. Use immediately.
- When the oil reaches 375F/190C dip some of the prepared veg briefly into the batter, shake off any excess, then lower straight into the hot oil. Don’t crowd the frying basket.
- Fry for about 2 mins until light golden and crisp, then drain on kitchen paper.
- Repeat with the remaining vegetables in batches, dipping into the batter just before you fry them and remember to let the oil heat back up to temperature between each batch.
- Keep the tempura vegetables warm in the oven leaving the door slightly ajar so that they stay crisp. They are best served immediately on a warm plate with the spicy garlic & chilli dip.