Seafood Tempura

Make light and crispy seafood tempura at home. Tasty as a starter or part of a platter, this stunning seafood tempura recipe is bound to impress your guests.

Introduction

This is the recipe from the Japanese ambassador’s residence in London where we filmed his chefs. The two most important tips I picked up were firstly to make the batter at the very last minute and hardly whisk it at all, and second to fry everything in small batches.

Serves 8

Ingredients

250g (9oz) medium-sized squid (pouches and tentacles), cleaned
20 raw tiger prawns
250g (9oz) skinned lemon sole fillet
Lots of sunflower oil, for deep-frying
For the tempura batter:
115g (4½oz) plain flour
115g (4½oz) cornflour
300ml (10fl oz) ice-cold soda water, from a new bottle
Sea salt
For the soy and ginger dipping sauce:
90ml (3fl oz) dark soy sauce
2 thin slices of peeled fresh ginger, very finely chopped
½ bunch of thin spring onions, very thinly sliced
For the sweet chilli and five-spice dipping sauce:
150ml (5fl oz) sweet chilli sauce, such as Lingham’s
1 tbsp light soy sauce
¼ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1½ tbsp cold water

Instructions

Mix together the ingredients for each dipping sauce and divide between 4 shallow dipping saucers or bowls.

Cut the cleaned squid pouches across into thin rings and separate the tentacles into pairs. Remove the heads from the prawns and then peel them, leaving the last tail segment in place. Cut the lemon sole fillets diagonally across into strips about the thickness of your little finger.

Heat some oil for deep-frying to 190°C/375°F or until a cube of day-old bread rises to the surface and browns in about a minute. To make the batter, sift half of the flour, half the cornflour and a pinch of salt into 2 large bowls. Just before you start cooking, stir 150 ml (5 fl oz) of the ice-cold soda water into one lot of flour/cornflour until only just mixed; the batter should still be a little bit lumpy and, if it seems a bit thick, add a drop more water. When it’s cooked, you want it to coat the food in a very thin, almost transparent layer.

Drop 8 pieces of mixed seafood into the batter, lift out one at a time and drop straight away into the hot oil. Fry for just 1 minute until crisp and lightly golden, then lift out and drain on lots of kitchen paper. Repeat once more, transfer the seafood to a warmed platter, together with a bowl of each dipping sauce, and eat right away, while it’s still crisp and hot. Continue to cook the seafood in the same way and make a second batch of batter when you need it.

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