- 100g (approx) each of a mix of firm vegetables, cut into bite-size pieces, such as aubergine, broccoli, courgette, mushrooms, red pepper and sweet potatoes
- tempura batter (see below)
- groundnut or sunflower oil, for deep frying
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For the sauce
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
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- 3 tbsp dry sherry
- 1 tbsp sugar
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- 1 lemon, zest only
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Heat oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2. Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Make the batter (see right). Cover a baking tray with sheets of kitchen paper. Start to heat a deep-fat frying pan or large wok a third full of oil and have the frying basket, or slotted spoon to hand
When the oil reaches 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 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 sauce alongside for dipping.
Making tempura batter
Mix this just as you are about to cook. Sift 85g/3oz plain flour and 1 tbsp cornflour with ½ tsp fine sea salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in 200ml/7fl oz ice-cold sparkling mineral water along with a few ice cubes using a whisk, but don’t over beat. It doesn’t matter about a few lumps. Use immediately.
Keeping it crisp
The secret is: 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.