Chef Steven Saunders’ Sea Bass Tempura recipe

Sea bass tempura is one of Lorraine Kelly's lunch favourites

THIS week celebrity Master Chef Steven Saunders, chef & proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala cooks fish and chips for the British who are missing!

All of us who live here will know how much of a challenge it has been this year especially through lockdown with very little government support for business owners.

Then post lockdown, just as we all start to build back our businesses with a mind-set of survival, we get told that the British aren’t coming because if they do, they will be quarantined for two weeks afterwards.

It’s another blow and many of us won’t survive. If I was involved with Spanish politics, I would be furious because it will be enough to put the final nail in the coffin for many businesses not just hospitality.

Our little restaurant was listed in the top 100 in the world this year which was fantastic, but how does that even matter now when we don’t know how long we can stay open?

For me the Little Geranium is a passion, I always wanted to own a tiny restaurant where I could cook what I love to cook.

I have had many larger restaurants but a small restaurant can be far more personal and intimate and the food can be super creative if we are not serving huge volumes of people, so the Geranium concept works for me.

Our clients love what I am cooking which takes all day to prepare, so in this new world it is all about preparation and then more preparation and then an evening service rather than doing lunch and dinner.

That way the food is better, totally home-made, more structured, more complex and more organized.  It’s all perfect except for the concern of a lack of people over here and the worry that the virus has not gone away.  If it gets any more difficult, we will have to return to the UK, it would be a shame, but life moves on.

On a more positive note I think we are doing well on our coast to keep the virus down, contrary to what the British may think – have you seen their numbers!?

So, let’s rethink our business models without the British and give it a go because we have no other choice and in reality, we all want to be here, otherwise we wouldn’t be here in the first place!

The year 2020 is going to be the most impossible year filled with challenges, complications and restrictions, but let’s all rejoice that we have survived it!

This week’s recipe has the British in mind because they all adore fish and chips and what better way to eat it than this way which has the lightest batter and it changes the dish into something special.

It’s easy to prepare so give it a go and let’s all raise a glass to the British in their absence!

Sea Bass Tempura and hand cut fries

Serves four

Tempura Sea Bass

Tempura Batter

  • 200g of Tempura flour (from most supermarkets)
  • 200 ml of iced cold sparkling water
  • A little Maldon salt
  • A few cubes of ice
  • A tablespoon of olive oil
  • Oil (sunflower or corn for frying)

How to make the Tempura batter

Use the pre-mixed tempura flour and add the ice-cold sparkling water and some ice cubes and seasoning and the olive oil. Mix together lightly with a spoon and do not whisk

Important: Lumps in the flour is good.  Do not mix it too much as you will get a lot of gluten which makes it heavy and creates an un-crispy tempura batter.

For the Sea Bass

4 fillets of the freshest sea bass fillets with skin on and all bones removed

Some plain flour for coating the fish

A deep fat fryer heated to 190ºC

To cook the fish

Toss each fillet through some plain four to coat

Now dip the fillets one at a time into the batter holding the tail (small part of the fillet) and allow batter to drip off for about five seconds.

Place carefully in your hot fryer on full power.

Cook for about three minutes or until golden brown

Remove and season with Maldon salt


Only cook two fillets of fish at one time or else the temperature will fall too much and start poaching not frying. Also, if you overcrowd the fryer the fillets will stick to each other.

Hand Cut Chips

Choose hard not waxy potatoes that chip well. Ask your greengrocer, because in Spain many of the potatoes don’t chip well and you will need to be specific.

Peel and cut into small chips approx  1cm wide no larger

Lower the temperature of the fryer to 150ºC

Blanch the chips for approx five minutes

Now heat the fryer to full power 200ºC and re-fry until the chips are crispy

Season whilst hot with Maldon salt and serve


You will have to re-fry the first two fillets of bass unless you have two fryers. That’s not a problem and resting the cooked fish won’t overcook it.

When you re-fry they only need heating up, so 30 seconds is enough.

I like to serve Samphire blanched in boiling water and fried in butter (no salt) with this dish and samphire is here now in the shops.


Follow Steven on Instagram …[email protected]

The Little Geranium, Winner of Best International Restaurant Spain…2020   For bookings: [email protected]

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Steven Saunders

Steven Saunders FMCGB - The Little Geranium - La Cala de Mijas & Marbella