Lemony Tempura Fish and Nori Chips with Grapefruit Mayo-Ponzu

Hidemi Walsh, 2020 Recipe Contest Finalist

4 servings for the appetizer, 2-3 servings for the main dish


For grapefruit mayo-ponzu
2 Tbl Mayonnaise
4 tsp Greek yogurt, plain
1 Tbl Pink grapefruit juice, squeezed from fresh pink grapefruit
1 Tbl Mirin
2 tsp Soy sauce

For Nori Chips
2 sheets Nori
2 Tbl Cornstarch
1 Tbl All-purpose flour
2.5 Tbl Cold water
Canola oil for frying

For Lemony Tempura Fish
2 large Lemons
1 large Egg
4 Tbl Cold water
4 Tbl All-purpose flour
2 Tbl Cornstarch
1 lb. Pacific cod
Kosher salt and black pepper to season
Canola oil for frying fish, melted


  1. Make grapefruit mayo-ponzu. In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and yogurt. In a small bowl, whisk together grapefruit juice, mirin and soy sauce then pour into the mayonnaise mixture bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. Make nori chips. Cut each nori sheet into half then cut each halved nori into 6 rectangles. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and flour. Add water and mix just to combine (don’t overmix). Heat enough oil to fry nori chips in a deep skillet (at least 1 inch) to medium-high. Work in batches. When the oil gets hot, dip one side of each nori in the flour mixture and put, batter spread sides down, into the hot oil. Add some of nori to the skillet and fry until crisp flipping once. Drain on paper towels. Repeat this until all nori is fried.
  3. Make lemony tempura fish. Zest and juice lemons (you need 4 teaspoons of lemon zest and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and cornstarch. In another bowl, whisk together lemon zest, egg, water and lemon juice then pour into the flour mixture bowl and mix just to combine (don’t overmix).
  4. Pat cod dry with paper towels and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Cut the cod into sticks (0.75 x 3-4-inch). 5. Work in batches. In the same skillet as the nori chips were fried (add more oil if necessary) Coat both sides of the cod into the tempura batter and put some of the cod into the hot oil. Fry over me­dium-high until golden brown and crisp flipping once. Drain on another paper towels. Repeat this until all cod is fried. 6. Serve lemony tempura fish and nori chips with the grapefruit mayo-ponzu. 4 servings for the appetizer, 2-3 servings for the main dish

Why This Dish is Sustainable

My sustainable seafood is Pacific cod because it is the best sustainable and eco-friendly seafood, and a healthy good substitute for other meat-based proteins because of omega-3, great source of vitamin, low amount of fat and calories. Fish and chips are my guilty pleasure. But since cod is low in calories and fat, I enjoy fish and chips without feeling guilty. To make them healthier and more Japanese style since I am Japanese, I made nori chips instead of French fries to go with fish and added egg to the batter to make fluffy tempura fish and add more nutrition. The other reason is that cod is a versatile fish to cook wide vari­ety of preparation methods which is so much fun to cook with. It is difficult to go wrong with cod. I was born and raised in Hokkaido in Japan where we can get many kinds of fish and have eaten many kinds of fish since I was a child. Cod is my most favorite fish.

This recipe was inspired by my mother’s Cod tempura . She always added egg to the tempura batter so that they are crispy outside yet inside is very fluffy, and bring out milder flavor. She taught me not only how to cook fish but also how important it is to eat seafood. Every time she served fish, especially cod, she told me that we had to appreciate that we could eat seafood because we may not be able to eat seafood in the future because of overfishing and the delicate ocean environment.

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