Sunflower or vegetable oil for deep frying 2 ozs/50g plain flour, plus 3 Tbsp extra for dusting 1 tsp cornflour 4 fl oz/100 ml Chilled sparkling or soda water 2 x 9 oz/250g bunches of asparagus
For the dipping sauce:
1/2 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar 1 small clove of garlic, peeled and crushed 2 tsp caster sugar 1 tsp fresh ginger root, grated 2 tsp coriander, chopped
Mix all of the ingredients for the dipping sauce together and leave for about 30 minutes. Pour enough oil into a work or large pan to come halfway up the pan. Heat the oil to 180oC. Test by dropping a cube of bread in, it should be golden and crisp in 1 minute. Place the flour, cornflour and a good pinch of salt in a bowl and mix in the soda water with a chopstick until it is just combined - a thin, slightly lumpy mixture. When the oil is ready, trim the ends of the asparagus, rinse under the tap, dust in the 3 Tbsp of flour, then briefly dip into the batter. Drop straight into the oil, a few at a time, for just 1 to 2 minutes, until pale golden and crisp.
Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the dipping sauce.