Baby aubergine tempura with a sweet chilli dipping sauce
- 170g flour
- 30ml (2 tbsp) cornflour
- a pinch of salt
- 375ml (1½ cups) sparkling water
- vegetable oil, for deep frying
- 12 baby aubergines, quartered or halved
Sweet chilli sauce
- 60g (about 4) long fresh red chillies, trimmed
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 180ml white vinegar
- 165g (¾ cup) castor sugar
- juice of 1 lime
- 30ml (2 tbsp) soy sauce
Place the flour, cornflour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the sparkling water and whisk until the batter is smooth. Cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
For the sauce, halve and roughly chop 20g of the chillies. Deseed and chop the remaining chillies.
Place the chillies, garlic and 60ml (¼ cup) of the white vinegar in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
Place the chilli mixture, the remaining vinegar and castor sugar in a large saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 35 – 40 minutes.
Cool the sweet chilli sauce slightly and whisk in the lime juice and soy sauce.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Dip the aubergine in the batter and shake off the excess batter. Gently fry the aubergine in batches until golden, about 5 – 7 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towel.
Serve with the chilli dipping sauce.