Crunchy asparagus tempura

Perfect for serving at gatherings of family and friends during spring and summer. 

Recipe provided to the Australian Asparagus Council by Lyndey Milan.

Ingredients:

1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed
Oil for deep-frying

For the tempura batter:
50g cornflour or tempura batter
Salt to taste
100ml chilled soda water

For the dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon mirin (see Tip)

Directions:

  1. Cut each asparagus spear in half diagonally.
  2. Heat enough oil to deep-fry tempura in a deep fryer or wok to 180°C. To test if the oil is hot enough, dip the end of a wooden spoon in oil. If the oil bubbles up around the spoon handle, it is hot enough. Alternatively, drop a bread cube into the oil - the oil is hot enough if the bread cube turns a golden brown in 1 minute.
  3. To make the tempura batter, mix cornflour, salt and soda water in a bowl with a chopstick until only just combined, to make a thin, slightly lumpy mixture.
  4. Dip asparagus into batter and drop straight into the hot oil, a few at a time. Cook for a minute or two until crisp and golden. Remove from oil and drain on kitchen paper.
  5. To make the dipping sauce, combine tamari and mirin. 6Arrange tempura on a serving platter and serve with a small bowl of the dipping sauce.

Tips:

  • Mirin is a type of rice wine used as a seasoning and condiment in Japanese cooking.
  • You can add spices and sesame seeds to the batter, and finely chopped red chilli to the sauce if desired.