This is a great sharing dish for a dinner party – just place it in the middle of the table. Don't be tempted to buy those cheap frozen fresh water prawns for this as they taste of very little. I prefer to use the fresh Red Sea prawns which you can buy at Waitrose.
If you can't find tempura flour, then self-raising flour mixed with a little cornflour and ice-cold water will do the trick instead.
300-400g asparagus, with the woody ends removed
12 medium-sized Red Sea prawns, peeled and de-veined
Vegetable or corn oil for deep frying
80-100g tempura flour (or self-raising flour mixed with a bit of cornflour)
Ice-cold water, to mix
For the sauce
3tbsp good-quality mayonnaise
2tbsp tomato ketchup
1tbsp sweet chilli sauce
A good squeeze of lime juice, to taste
Blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then drain and leave to cool. Make the batter by mixing the tempura flour with enough iced water to make a thickish batter; season. Make the sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together; season to taste.
Preheat about 8cm of oil to 160-180C in a large thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer. Dip the asparagus in the batter a few pieces at a time, drop into the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes, turning with a slotted spoon until lightly golden, then remove and drain on some kitchen paper and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Do the same with the prawns. Serve with the sauce in dipping pots.Reuse content