Creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside, these tempura-fried avocado bites are the perfect appetizer for your next get-together.
Special equipment: a deep-fry thermometer
Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Score the flesh of each avocado half to the skin with 2 lengthwise and 3 crosswise cuts, to make 12 chunks per half. Ease the chunks out of the skins with a large spoon, and spread them in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and freeze for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce: Whisk together the lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and chili garlic paste in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved; set aside.
Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot or a Dutch oven with about 1 1/2 inches of oil. Attach a deep-fry thermometer, and bring to 360ºF over medium heat.
Whisk together the seltzer, flour, egg and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Submerge half the avocado chunks in the batter. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon, letting excess batter drip back into the bowl, and add them to the hot oil, being careful not to splash. Fry the avocado chunks, turning frequently, until deeply golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate, and sprinkle right away with some salt. Bring the oil temperature back up to 360ºF. Repeat with the remaining avocado chunks. Transfer all the chunks to a serving plate, and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.