Roy Brett’s Squid Tem­pura

Roy Brett of On­dine pre­pares his own favourite seafood starter

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Food + Drink -

Ican’t be­lieve we’re en­ter­ing into our tenth year at On­dine. What was once a dream, to have our very own fish restau­rant in the heart of the old town in Ed­in­burgh is now a thriv­ing re­al­ity and we’ve never looked back.

The restau­rant pop­u­la­tion in Scot­land’s cap­i­tal is over­flow­ing at the mo­ment.

What is en­cour­ag­ing for us and other in­de­pen­dent es­tab­lish­ments is the fact that despite the ar­rival of the large chains from around the world, we con­tinue to grow.

Our con­tin­ued sup­port from our reg­u­lar cus­tomers has been key to On­dine’s suc­cess.

We have guests who first came dur­ing our launch and who have now be­come friends rather than cus­tomers, as we value each visit as much as their first.

While the chain res­tau­rants con­tinue to de­scend on Ed­in­burgh, it’s fan­tas­tic to see so many in­de­pen­dent res­tau­rants stand­ing the test of time in Scot­land.

With­out a recog­nis­able name to rely on, we have to work hard to es­tab­lish our rep­u­ta­tion, with fan­tas­tic food and front of house ser­vice that con­veys our pas­sion.

At On­dine, we like to cre­ate clas­sic dishes with a mod­ern twist and make the very best of lo­cal, sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents.

Our cus­tomers know that each time they visit, they will ex­pe­ri­ence a taste of Scot­land and the best the land and sea around us has to of­fer.

Squid tem­pura is our most pop­u­lar starter at On­dine, as well as a per­sonal favourite of mine. It came about by

tak­ing a de­li­cious Viet­namese dip­ping sauce, which I bor­rowed from my days in Corn­wall work­ing with Rick and Jill Stein. I then added the light tem­pura bat­ter with the medic­i­nal notes from the Szechuan pep­per, which re­ally lifts the squid.

We also have this dish on the menu at The Fish­mar­ket, down at Ne­whaven Har­bour. I think the smell of the fresh, salty sea air adds a spe­cial twist to the taste, but you’ll need your hat and scarf on to en­joy it al fresco now that the tem­per­a­ture has dipped.

The squid it­self is landed at Peter­head and we get it from our friends and sup­plier, Welch Fish­mon­gers. When buy­ing squid, ask your lo­cal fish mer­chant to clean it for you as it makes the dish much eas­ier to pre­pare and saves you a job.

This time of year is per­fect for squid as the body is still thin and so it has a soft and del­i­cate tex­ture. It makes the recipe truly de­li­cious.

As the nights draw in and the tem­per­a­ture starts to drop, this makes a lovely, light starter for a din­ner party. The dip­ping sauce gives the dish a real zing that will sur­prise and de­light your guests.

Squid Tem­pura and Viet­namese Dip­ping Sauce

Serves 4 In­gre­di­ents For the dip­ping sauce: 100ml fish sauce

100g palm sugar

50ml rice wine vine­gar 100ml lime juice

10g gar­lic, finely chopped 10g green chilli, finely chopped 10g gin­ger, finely chopped

1 tsp corn flour

Wa­ter For the crispy bat­ter:

70g corn flour

30g plain flour

100ml ice cold sparkling wa­ter 5 ice cubes, crushed Pinch Szechuan pep­per Pinch Mal­don sea salt Rape­seed oil for deep-fry­ing For the squid:

2 squid, washed and cleaned 1 green chilli, sliced into rings 1 ba­nana shal­lot, sliced into rings For the gar­nish: 1 lime, cut into wedges


1. First, make the dip­ping sauce. Bring to­gether the fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, vine­gar and 100ml wa­ter in a saucepan and bring to boil. Mix the corn flour into a paste with a lit­tle wa­ter and then add to the pan. As the mix­ture starts to cool down, add the chill­ies, gin­ger and gar­lic and mix well then set aside.

2. Next, make the bat­ter. Mix the flours and the salt and pep­per to­gether. Add the sparkling wa­ter and crushed ice cubes and mix well un­til com­bined. 3. Heat the oil in a pan to 180°C. Dip the squid and the chilli into the bat­ter along with the shal­lots. Fry in the oil un­til crisp. Once cooked, care­fully shake off any ex­cess oil be­fore ly­ing on a dry­ing cloth or kitchen pa­per. Sea­son well with salt and pep­per.

4. To serve, pour a lit­tle dip­ping sauce into a pretty lit­tle pot and then place the squid around it. Gar­nish the plate with the chilli and shal­lot rings and fin­ish with a wedge of lime.

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