Tempura must be one of the most universally popular of all the Japanese dishes – tender morsels of fresh fish and seafood, or vegetables, coated with the lightest batter and deep-fried for only a few minutes.
The secret of a good tempura is to make up the batter just before you use it and not to beat the mixture – it should be made with either a fork or chopsticks and left lumpy. To make the batter, use 1 beaten egg, 75g (3oz) plain flour, 25g (1oz) sifted cornflour and 100ml (4fl oz) water.
Prepare raw prawns. Score the undersides so they do not curl during frying. Rinse well and pat dry. Just before frying, dip each prawn in the batter, holding it by its tail and shaking off the excess. Prepare in batches, if necessary.
Heat the oil to 180° C (350°F) or until a cube of white bread browns in about 30 seconds. Fry the prawns in batches until the batter is pale golden and crisp and bubbling. Drain well on kitchen paper and keep warm until ready to serve.