I’ve always liked the lime pickle in Indian restaurants, so much so that I keep a jar in the fridge for when I make Indian food and can have a dollop on the side. It’s an acquired taste, I know this because no one else in the house eats it apart from me, and even I can only handle a small amount. I think what really draws me to this hot and sour condiment is the fact that it has whole chunks of lime cooked in, like little sour surprises that leap out at you. It is with that in mind that I created this dish, or certainly the salsa part of it. I’ve used whole chunks of lime cooked down in a tomato sauce with red peppers and plenty of sugar to combat the tartness. I’ve left the lime pieces in the final dish but feel free to remove them after cooking if you like. The tempura batter is made using gram flour to keep it gluten free, and iced water to ensure that it stays cold. You can use a hand whisk for this batter as it doesn’t matter if it’s a little bit lumpy. Just get it as smooth as you can before adding the ice.
Prep time: 30-40 minutes. Cooking time: Up to 1 hour.
For the Salsa:
- 2 limes, quartered and then each quarter cut into three chunks (see picture)
- 1 red pepper, large diced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 ½ tsp mild chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 130g unrefined sugar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup.
For the Tempura:
- 3 Small courgettes, cut in quarters lengthways, and then those quarters halved (see picture)
- 300g gram flour, 100g of which will be used for dusting the courgettes
- 300ml cold water
- 1 tbsp salt
- 4 ice cubes
- Enough oil for deep frying
- You will also need an additional bowl of cold water to soak the courgettes.
For the crushed potatoes:
- 1 kg baby new potatoes, cooked until tender and then cooled
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- Salt to taste.
First make your salsa. Heat the olive oil in a small pan saucepan and then sauté the limes and peppers for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chilli powder, salt and tomato puree then mix in. Add the can of tomatoes, the sugar and syrup and bring to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick and sweet sauce.
While this is cooking put the courgettes in the bowl of cold water to soak, then whisk 200g of the gram flour with the 300ml cold water and the salt. Once a batter is formed add the ice cubes. Put the remaining flour into another bowl and set the three bowls next to each other: first the courgettes, then the flour, and then the batter.
For the crushed potatoes heat the olive oil in a frying pan and put in your new potatoes. Whilst they are cooking use either a fork or a potato masher to break up the potatoes a little, so that they are in small crushed chunks. Don’t over mash them. Add the thyme leaves and season with salt to taste. Fry for 7 or 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are slightly browned.
Heat the deep-frying oil in a medium-sized pan. DO NOT fill the pan more than half full with the oil as it will rise when you put in your tempura. Test that the oil is hot enough by dropping a small amount of the batter into it. The oil will bubble and the batter will rise to the surface when it is ready.
Take 6 to 8 courgette chunks from the water and toss them in the gram flour until fully coated. Shake any excess flour off each courgette and place them into the batter until your batch is coated. Take the batter to the frying oil on put in the battered courgettes, on at a time, into the oil. Deep fry for 5 minutes or until the batter is golden, then remove with a slotted spoon and set on some kitchen paper to drain. Repeat this process until all the courgette chunks are cooked.
To serve, place a spoonful of the potatoes in the centre of a plate, stack 2 to 3 courgettes on top of the potatoes and then spoon some of the salsa on the side.