Recipe: Roy Brett's squid tempura and Vietnamese dipping sauce

With lots of Christmas entertaining on the horizon, it’s always good to have an impressive recipe up your sleeve to start off a festive feast. Rather than going for something traditional, why not try this light and zingy seafood starter with an Asian twist?

Roy Brett, head chef at Edinburgh’s Ondine, has shared the recipe for one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes (and also his personal favourites), squid tempura with Vietnamese dipping sauce.

Roy says: “This recipe came about by taking a delicious Vietnamese dipping sauce, which I borrowed from my days in Cornwall working with Rick and Jill Stein, and adding the light tempura batter with medicinal notes from the Szechuan pepper, which really lifts the squid.

“The squid itself is landed at Peterhead and we get it from our friends and supplier, Welch Fishmongers. When buying squid, ask your local fish merchant to clean it for you as it makes the dish much easier to prepare and saves you a job! This time of year is perfect for squid as the body is still thin and so it has a soft and delicate texture. It makes the recipe truly delicious. As the nights draw in and the temperature starts to drop, this makes a lovely, light starter for a dinner party and the dipping sauce gives a real zing to surprise and delight your guests.”

Squid Tempura and Vietnamese Dipping Sauce by Roy Brett of Ondine.jpg

Squid tempura and Vietnamese dipping sauce by Roy Brett of Ondine


Ingredients (serves 4):

For the dipping sauce:

  • 100ml fish sauce

  • 100g palm sugar

  • 50ml rice wine vinegar

  • 100ml lime juice

  • 10g garlic, finely chopped

  • 10g green chilli, finely chopped

  • 10g ginger, finely chopped

  • 1 tsp corn flour

  • Water

For the crispy batter:

  • 70g corn flour

  • 30g plain flour

  • 100ml ice cold sparkling water

  • 5 ice cubes, crushed

  • Pinch Szechuan pepper

  • Pinch Maldon sea salt

  • Rapeseed oil for deep-frying

For the squid:

  • 2 squid, washed and cleaned

  • 1 green chilli, sliced into rings

  • 1 banana shallot, sliced into rings

For the garnish:

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


  1. First, make the dipping sauce. Bring together the fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, vinegar and 100ml water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Mix the corn flour into a paste with a little water and then add to the pan. As the mixture starts to cool down, add the chillies, ginger and garlic and mix well then set aside.

  2. Next, make the batter. Mix the flours and the salt and pepper together. Add the sparkling water and crushed ice cubes and mix well until combined.

  3. Heat the oil in a pan to 180°C.  Dip the squid and the chilli into the batter along with the shallots. Fry in the oil until crisp. Once cooked, carefully shake off any excess oil before lying on a drying cloth or kitchen paper. Season well with salt and pepper.

  4. To serve, pour a little dipping sauce into a pretty little pot and then place the squid around it. Garnish the plate with the chilli and shallot rings and finish with a wedge of lime.