2 cups cornflour
2 cups self-raising flour
3 cups chilled soda water
vegetable oil for deep frying
¼ cup tarragon sprigs
¼ cup fennel sprigs
¼ cup dill tips
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 baby fennel, finely sliced using a mandolin
500g small green king prawns, peeled with tails intact
400g squid, cleaned and cut into rings
200g baby octopus
fennel and chilli salt
2 tbsp fennel fronds
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp sea salt
TO SERVE: aioli and lemon and lime wedges
1 To make fennel and chilli salt, place fennel fronds, fennel seeds, chilli flakes and sea salt in a mortar and crush with a pestle until flavours are combined.
2 Place cornflour and half the self-raising flour in a large bowl. Gradually add soda water and whisk to combine. Place remaining flour in another bowl.
3 Heat oil in a large deep saucepan or wok over medium heat until temperature reaches 180°C. Working in batches, dip herbs in batter and deep fry for 1 minute or until crisp. Drain on paper towel.
4 Repeat for seafood, dusting in flour, then dipping into batter. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with fennel salt. Serve with tempura herbs, aioli and lemon and lime wedges.
Riesling works with almost any deep-fried dish, its intrinsic acidity cutting a swathe through the residual oil of the fryer. That this zesty example was made by John Vickery, the maestro of the variety, adds a special touch to this food and wine match. Eden Valley rieslings are pure and precise with lemon bright flavours that interplay with the fresh, sea sweet flavours of the seafood. The herbal notes of the fennel and chilli salt add a final flourish to this marvellous match.