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This classic Japanese dish is very simple to prepare and cook but looks spectacular with its light, crispy and almost architectural batter.
- 10 tiger prawns
- about 1.5 litres of vegetable oil for frying
- For the tempura batter:
- 200g plain flour
- 30g corn-flour
- 5g salt
- 10g bicarbonate of soda
- 300ml cold water
- For the dipping sauce:
- Zest and juice of 2 limes
- 10g finely chopped chili
- 30ml soy sauce
- 20ml sesame oil
Preparation Time: 5 minutes for the dipping sauce + 10 minutes for the prawns
Cooking Time: 30-40 seconds
Serves: 1 person as a main course, 3 people as a first course or 5 people as a snack
- Remove the pith and seeds from the chili, finely chop it and then put it with all the ingredients for the dipping sauce into a bowl.
- Stir them together and allow them to infuse while you make the prawns.
- Weigh out all of the ingredients for the batter into a large bowl.
- Quickly stir the batter until it has just come together, don’t worry about any lumps of flour in the mixture.
- Remove the head from each of the prawns and then peel the shell off the tails.
- Lightly dust the prawns on both sides with some extra plain flour.
- In a large saucepan, heat the frying oil over a medium heat. Test the oil to see if it is hot enough by dropping a small amount of the batter into it; the batter should immediately start bubbling and rise to the surface. The oil will probably take about 5-10 minutes to get to temperature.
- When the oil is hot enough, put the prawns into the batter mixture and ensure they are all completely covered. Then carefully, one by one, put as many of the prawns as will comfortably fit into the hot oil, we suggest only cooking batches of 3-5 prawns at a time. It is very important not to overcrowd the pan as it can cause the oil to bubble up over the edge of pan. This is really very dangerous and makes a hell of a mess.
- Cook each of the prawns for 30-40 seconds before lifting them out with a slotted spoon and placing them onto a piece of kitchen paper to drain them of any excess oil. Optionally, when they are cooking, you can drizzling some batter onto them in the pan. This adds to the spectacular shape of the batter.
- When all of the prawns are cooked, season them with salt and serve immediately with the dipping sauce.
- You can use this method to cook any shellfish or crustacean or, in fact, anything at all from oysters or strips of salmon to strips of beef or vegetables.
- Tempura prawns make a nice canapé or snack.