Ginger & lemongrass dipping sauce

by Angela Clutton

A sweet side for vegetable tempura

This recipe embraces the key elements of an eminently useful style of dipping sauce: it uses heat to release the flavour of spices; has a finishing burst of flavour provided by the chilli, lime and soy sauce; and packs a complex balance of sweet, savoury and hot. Vary the elements as suits.

It is especially good with a mix of light, seasonal vegetable tempura. Try slices of courgette or spring onion, spears of sprouting broccoli or asparagus, or cavolo nero leaves.

For more on Asian dipping sauces, read Angela’s latest blog


For the dipping sauce:
50ml rice vinegar
50ml mirin
1 tbsp caster sugar
½ tsp grated fresh ginger
½ lemongrass bulb, minced
1 star anise
½ medium red chilli, finely sliced
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 lime

For the vegetable tempura:
100g plain flour
100g cornflour
1 litre sunflower oil
1 egg yolk
200ml chilled spring water
Assorted seasonal vegetables


Put the rice vinegar and mirin into a small pan with 50ml water. Add the sugar, ginger, lemongrass and star anise and heat for a few mins, just until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool for a few mins. Add the sliced chillies, the soy sauce and lime juice to taste. Serve.

To serve with vegetable tempura: sift the plain flour with the cornflour and 1 tsp salt into a medium bowl. Sit that on top of lots of ice in a large bowl (or sink). Heat the sunflower oil to 180C. Once at temperature, beat an egg yolk and the chilled spring water into the flour bowl. Dip each piece of vegetable in that batter and transfer to the hot oil. Fry for 2 mins, until crisped and golden. Take care not to crowd the pan. Serve straightaway with the dipping sauce.

Recipe: Angela Clutton
Image: Kim Lightbody