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Japanese Home Cooking Recipes Vol.4 – Tempura

Tempura must be one of the most well-known Japanese dishes. It feels so special to sit at the counter of a tempura restaurant to watch a skilled chef frying away crisp fresh tempura in front of you. However, it is also surprisingly easy to make it at home. It is delicious and morish. Why not prepare your favourite vegetables and seafood, and have a tempura party with your family and friends!

Recipe for tempura

You can tempura almost any vegetables, seafood and meat. Common items are prawns, calamari, fish, onion, pumpkin, carrots, capsicum, eggplant, mushrooms, etc. I also like asparagus, sweet potatoes, zucchini and corn. The only thing you have to be careful of is that the ingredients do not contain a lot of moisture. Vegetables like tomato are therefore not very suitable. Make sure you pat dry the ingredients with paper towel before dipping it into your batter.

As I wrote in my Karaage recipe, temperature of oil is very important. Tempura needs hot oil, so make sure you get bubbles when you submerge your wooden long chopsticks in the oil.

Ingredients for vegetables and seafood tempura (serves 2)

  • 4 prawns
  • 1 squid tube
  • 4 asparagus
  • 1/2 capsicum
  • 1 egg (cold straight from fridge)
  • 150 ml cold water
  • 1 cup (110 g) plain flour
  • oil for deep frying (canola or vegetable oil is fine)

Cooking method

  1. Peel and de-vein prawns. Leave the tail on.
  2. Cut squid into 1-inch squares
  3. Cut asparagus in half
  4. Slice capsicum into wide strips
  5. To make batter, break an egg into a large bowl and mix well with folk. Add cold water and mix well. It is important that this liquid is cold to make tempura crips. Some people also add ice cubes.
  6. Add flour. Do not beat too much. You can leave some lumps of flour. Again, this is a very important point. Otherwise, your tempura becomes heavy and chewy.
  7. Pat all your tempura ingredients dry before dipping them into your batter.
  8. Heat oil in heavy frying pan to 180-190°C.
  9. Place your vegetables and seafood into the pan slowly, one by one.
  10. Don’t overcrowd the pan or the temperature will drop and your tempura will become soggy.
  11. Place cooked tempura on paper towel to drain excess oil.

Recipe for dipping sauce

To make a dipping sauce, just mix dashi master sauce with hot water. You can find my dashi master sauce recipe in another blog.

Alternatively, you can purchase sauce in a bottle. It is called “Dashi tsuyu”.

Ingredients for tempura dipping sauce 

  • 1 cup dashi master sauce,
  • 1 cup hot water.

I hope you enjoy the Japanese home cooking recipe for tempura.

Journey to the East offers a range of excellent Food Tours of Japan and each of them include a fun cooking class by professionals. Please check them out!