This Homes & Gardens batter, a Japanese delicacy, gives an unexpected burst of flavour
Groundnut (peanut) oil 1 egg yolk 100g sifted plain white flour, plus extra for dusting 12 tiny sprigs or single leaves of fresh basil, washed and dried 12 tiny sprigs or single leaves of fresh mint, washed and dried 12 leaves of baby spinach, washed and dried
For the dipping sauce
Juice and shredded zest of lime, mixed with soy sauce and honey with sliced spring onion tops
Step 1) Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4. Heat 5cm oil in a large heavy-based pan to 190°C (hot enough to brown a cube of stale bread in 20 seconds).
Step 2) In a large bowl add the egg yolk and 150ml ice-cold water or soda water and whisk for 5 seconds. Add the sifted plain flour all at once and mix with a whisk or chopsticks until the batter is barely smooth: it should have a few lumps and look floury.
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Step 3) Using chopsticks or tongs, dip 4 herb sprigs or leaves at a time into the batter. Drop the coated greens into the oil, one at a time, and cook for 2 to 21⁄2 minutes or until crisp and pale gold, turning once. Set the fritters on a wire rack on a baking tin in the oven to keep hot. Continue until all are cooked and serve several sprigs or leaves of each type with a small bowl of dipping sauce.