What makes this tempura batter so light and crunchy is the combination of plain and corn flours, bicarbonate of soda and sparkling water.
- vegetable oil, for deep frying
- 2 Japanese eggplant, cut lengthways into four
- 4 lotus root slices
- 3 asparagus spears
- 2-3 spring onions, white parts only
- 1 large King Brown mushroom, cut in half
- 1 handful green beans
- 6-8 prawns, deveined and heads removed
- ½ cup plain flour, kept in the freezer overnight
- ½ cup cornflour, kept in the freezer overnight
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 cup sparkling water, chilled
- 1 egg
- ice cubes
- 1-2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a small jug, whisk together the sparkling water with the egg so that it goes really fizzy.
In a bowl, sift together the flours and bicarb soda. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the egg and water mixture, whisking until the batter resembles a thin pancake mixture. Add some ice cubes at the end to ensure it stays cold.
Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan or wok to about 170-180°C. It should be a few centimetres deep so you can deep fry the prawns and vegetables.
Prepare a rack over an oven tray on which to drain the vegetables and prawns once they're fried.
Dip the vegetables into the batter, drain off excess, then carefully lower into the hot oil one by one. Fry them until crispy and golden brown (about 2 minutes), in batches so the oil stays hot. Repeat this process with the prawns.
Drain them on the rack and allow to cool slightly before serving with the dipping sauce.