Tempura Salsify with Spicy Dipping Sauce

PREP TIME: 20mins


October is such a inspiring month in Cape Town with the abundance of spring vegetables in my weekly vegetable boxes and this week was no exception.

I developed a recipe for Meuse farms relaunch of their vegetable bags and I was intrigued by the inclusion of the knobbly root, salsify. For the bag I created a quick and easy fritter recipe using salsify and while researching some recipes came across an interesting tempura recipe.

I love anything tempura, who doesn’t? This is my box standard versatile tempura batter which I use for anything from radishes to courgette flowers.

The sweet chilli sauce is a revelation and I am thinking of ways that I can generously dip things into it. It makes quite a small portion so feel free to double or triple the recipe as it will keep for ages.

Seasonal Swaps: You can use any veggies here really, if you are using roots, simmer for 5 minutes, drain well and then coat and fry. Softer veggies like cauliflower and courgettes doesn’t need pre-cooking.




  • 300g salsify roots
  • sunflower oil for frying
  • garnish: coriander leaves, chopped spring onions and black sesame seeds


  • 75g self-raising flour
  • 75g cornflour
  • 250ml fridge cold sparkling water

Spicy Dipping Sauce

  • 1 large red chilli, very finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons castor sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 100ml apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water


  1. Scrub the salsify in water until the water runs clear and all the dirt is removed. Boil in salted water for 5 minutes, drain and peel. Cut in bitesized batons. I like to keep the shapes natural.
  2. For the dipping sauce, add all the ingredients to a small saucepan on a low heat until the sugar dissolved and you can’t see any sugar granules. Increase the heat and simmer until the sauce feel syrupy, about 5 minutes. You can take a little sauce between your finger tips and if it feels like ‘vaseline’ the sauce is ready. Cool
  3. Heat about 10cm of oil in a saucepan, ideally to 180c, you will know your oil is ready when a piece of bread sizzles immediately when you add it to the oil.
  4. Whisk the batter ingredients together, you might need more water, the consistency what we are looking for is double thick cream.
  5. When you are ready to serve, dip each salsify baton in the batter and fry gently, turning a few times, until golden and puffy, drain on some kitchen paper. Repeat until all the salsify is cooked.
  6. To serve, add the tempura to a pretty plate along with the dipping sauce, scatter over some coriander and black sesame seeds if you have some. Enjoy!
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