Crunchy tempura starter with wasabi mayonnaise dip

Believe it or not, tempura actually originated in Spain! This crispy, delicious deep fried dish was then transported to Japan by Portuguese merchants and missionaries. Given the versatility and taste, it is no wonder that the cooking method was embraced and further evolved by the Japanese. These days you will probably not find a self-respecting Japanese restaurant which does not serve their version of tempura with the dipping sauce of their choice.


Feel free to use your own selection of fish and vegetables. But be sure to score slices of green or red pepper, eggplant and other moisture rich vegetables with a sharp knife before dipping in the batter and frying. The best fish options are prawns or other dense fish such as monkfish. And for vegetables, opt for butternut, onion, sweet potato, potato, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and pumpkin. But feel free to experiment once you’ve mastered the art.


For the wasabi mayonnaise mix together:

  • 3 generous tablespoons of Hellmann’s mayonnaise
  • 3 teaspoons of wasabi paste
  • Half a teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of soy or teriyaki sauce

It’s that easy!


For the rest:

  • 4 – 6 king prawn tails, shelled, deveined and cut, lengthways, in half
  • 4 peeled butternut slices cut into 5mm rounds 
  • 4 slices of onion cut in 5 mm rounds as above
  • 4 slices of sweet potato cut as above
  • 8 green beans
  • 8 asparagus shoots
  • 4 florets of broccoli


For the batter:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 300 ml chilled soda water
  • 1/3 cup corn flour
  • 120 g cake flour
  • 300ml of chilled soda water
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • oil for deep frying – 2 cm in your cooking pot


Place egg yolks and soda water in a bowl and mix lightly with a whisk. (The Japanese favour a chopstick with which to do the mixing).

Sift the corn flour and cake flour in a bowl. Add the sesame seeds and salt to taste and mix.

Mix the egg mixture in with the flour and stir lightly until combined but still a bit lumpy

Drop a small piece of bread into your oil and if it browns within 15 seconds the oil is hot enough

Place fish and veg carefully in hot oil and cook in small batches, two or three pieces at a time for 3 – 4 minutes until golden brown

Drain and keep warm – do not cover

Serve immediately with lashings of the rich and creamy wasabi flavoured Original mayonnaise sauce

Enjoy – or as they say in Japan, tanoshimu!