Tempura has a very light, delicate crunch thanks to the use of iced water and minimal mixing. This ensures that the gluten in the flour isn't over worked. Tempura batter is also great as a coating for vegetables and prawns.
Ideally, whitebait should be eaten straight away while still hot, but the lime and chilli mayo can be made a couple of days in advance.
Whitebait are small silver sprats or herrings, eaten whole and usually deep fried. Eating an entire fish may seem odd, but I can assure you, they are delicious. I like to coat them with a light and crispy tempura batter, using a special flour which is now widely available in supermarkets.
There are concerns about the sustainability of whitebait as they are young fish. If you have concerns, please ask your fishmonger for advice. If you cannot find whitebait, you can always substitute it for hake which should be no problem to get from any shop.
Tempura battered whitebait with lime and chilli dip
5 [small]from[/small] 1 [small]vote[/small] Recipe by Petrus Madutlela
Course: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: GlobalDifficulty: Moderate
Tempura battered fish with a complimentary lime and chilli dip for a tasty lunch or dinner.
For the Tempura battered fish
100 g tempura flour
160 ml iced water
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
400 g washed and gutted whitebait
2 limes cut in half
750 ml oil for deep fryingLime and chilli dip
2 egg yolks
Juice & zest of 1 lime
250 ml light and mild olive oil
1 red chilli, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped coriander
Seasoning to tasteTo serve:
2 limes, halved
To make the mayonnaise, place the egg yolks, lime juice, zest, and seasoning in a food processor. Blitz until foaming.With the machine still running, gradually add the olive oil, drop by drop initially, until the mixture begins to thicken, then add the oil in a steady stream until it has been incorporated.Stir in the chilli and coriander.Check the flavour of the mayo and add more seasoning if required.Rinse the whitebait and pat dry. Set aside on paper towels.Whisk together the tempura flour, iced water and paprika, but just for a few seconds, enough to incorporate the ingredients. The batter should still be lumpy.Add oil to a pan to a level of approx one third full. Heat the oil to 180°.Dip the whitebait in the batter a few at a time and carefully drop into the hot oil. Deep fry for approx one minute. The batter should be crisp with a light golden colour.Drain on paper towels.Serve immediately with the mayo and lime wedges.
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