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If you’re going to batter and fry something, best do it the right way — and this crispy, bubbly, hearty tempura eggplant is balanced beautifully with a zesty salsa and creamy mayo all nestled in a warm taco…

You will need

Serves 5

  • 500ml vegetable oil
  • 1 large eggplant cut into strips 1 inch thick (at least 1 slice per tortilla that you plan to use)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour (gluten-free if required)
  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 160ml soda water, chilled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 lime, juice and zest only
  • 1 red chilli, halved, seeds removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 sprigs coriander roughly chopped, to garnish

Aquafaba Mayonnaise

  • 100ml aquafaba (liquid from chickpea tin)
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt

To serve

  • 10 tortillas (gluten-free if required)
  • Fresh limes, wedged

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30 mins to prep

  1. Step 1

    Pour the vegetable oil into a wok or pan and heat to approximately 180°C.

  2. Step 2

    Use a whisk to mix the plain flour, cornflour, paprika, baking powder, salt and cold soda water together in a bowl. With chopsticks or tongs, coat the eggplant strips in the tempura batter mixture and then place gently into the oil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the tempura is a lightly browned (but not burnt) colour. Take out of the oil and rest on a cooling rack. Season with salt. The batter will go crispier as it cools!

  3. Step 3

    Place the tomatoes, onion, chilli, lime juice, cumin seeds, sugar, salt and oil in a stick blender and pulse so that it comes together, this will keep everything chunky yet relatively similar sized pieces. Pour the salsa into a bowl and garnish with a few sprigs of coriander. This salsa is fresh and light to counterbalance the fried eggplant.

  4. Step 4

    To make the mayonnaise, add aquafaba, lime juice, sugar and salt to a stick blender. Bring together and gradually add the oil in a slow stream; as the mayonnaise begins to form, you can begin to add the oil quicker.

  5. Step 5

    Place the tortillas in a large dry pan on medium-high heat. Heat them through for 30 seconds on each side, put on a plate and cover with a tea-towel to keep warm.

  6. Step 6

    Place each warmed tortilla on a plate with 1 or 2 strips of fried eggplant; top with the salsa and aquafaba mayo. Season with salt and a squeeze of lime to serve.

Recipe: Simon Toohey

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