Tempura may be the distant relative of the french fry. The Japanese have long enjoyed the crispy, crunchy taste of fresh vegetables coated with a fluffy batter.
- ¾ cup flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 egg yolk
- ¾ cup club soda, chilled
- Peanut oil, for frying
- 2 large carrots, sliced into small sticks
- 1 Idaho potato, sliced into small sticks
- 1 onion, sliced and separated into rings
- 1 cup mushrooms
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Wasabi Garlic Mayonnaise, for dipping
In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Add the egg yolk and club soda last. Whisk to form a smooth batter.
Preheat the peanut oil to 375 degrees in a heavy pot or deep fryer.
Dip the vegetables in the batter, shaking off excess. Then fry in small batches for about 2-3 minutes until puffy, golden, and cooked through. Drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve the tempura with Wasabi Garlic Mayonnaise for dipping.
Heat 2 inches oil in a wok or heavy pot over medium heat to 350 degrees.
Mix yolk with water using fat wooden chopsticks. Add the flour all at once and mix just slightly. There should be large lumps of flour and a rim of flour dust around the bowl. Over mixing will result in a heavy batter coating. It is best to mix the batter in this amount, and repeat as necessary. Prepare ingredients, dry them, and dredge lightly in flour before dipping in batter.
When oil is hot, dip the vegetables one at a time into batter to coat completely, and then allow excess to drain into bowl. Working in batches, about 6 pieces at a time, and using a spider, carefully submerge vegetables in oil. Cook, turning once, until light golden, puffed and cooked through, about 3 minutes for most vegetables. They should be tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife. Transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack to drain. Serve with dipping sauce. To serve sweet potato tempura for dessert, sprinkle with sugar and serve immediately.
- 1 one-ounce piece ginger root
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
Using a ginger grater or the fine side of a box grater, grate ginger root. Fold a 12-inch square of cheesecloth into quarters. Place the grated ginger in corner of cheesecloth. Working over a medium bowl, tightly wring the ginger in order to extract the juice. Discard the cheesecloth and the remaining root.
Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, 3 tablespoons water, mirin, scallion, lemon juice, and vinegar to the ginger juice. Whisk to combine. Dipping sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Vegetable Tempura Variations (Japanese vs Korean)
In Korea, vegetable tempura is also called Yache Twigim 야채튀김. Yache means vegetables and Twigim means ‘fried‘. For some reason though, yache twigim usually means a Mixed Vegetable Tempura (like above) where a mix of vegetables are cut into matchsticks and fried together (as in the picture above) instead of each vegetable being cut and fried individually which is usually the case in Japanese style Vegetable Tempura.
- 1 quart vegetable oil
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1 scallion, chopped
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (plus more if necessary), divided
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup cold sparkling water (plus more if necessary)
- 1 8.8-oz. package precooked beets, sliced into ½-in. rounds and patted dry
- red onion, cut into ½-in. wedges
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced into ¼-in. rounds
- 1 ½ cups broccoli florets
Preheat oven to 200°F. Heat vegetable oil to 360°F in a large, deep skillet or pot over medium-high.
Whisk ⅔ cup water, soy sauce, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and tarragon in a small bowl. Stir in scallion. Set aside.
Combine ¼ cup flour, cornstarch, and ½ teaspoon salt in a shallow bowl or plate.
Break up egg gently with chopsticks or a spoon in a medium bowl. Add cold sparkling water and stir to combine. Gently stir in remaining 1 cup flour and ½ teaspoon salt. (Do not overmix batter will be slightly lumpy.)
Using chopsticks or tongs, dip vegetables, 1 at a time, in cornstarch mixture, then shake off lightly and dip in egg mixture. Drop pieces into hot oil, adding no more than 5 or 6 at a time so oil temperature doesn&rsquot lower too much (you&rsquoll get a crispier result). Let vegetables cook, carefully flipping halfway through, until crispy and light golden, 3 to 4 minutes. After every other batch, check batter consistency you may need to add about 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon cold sparkling water to get batter back to original consistency.
Remove fried vegetables with a slotted spoon or spider drain on a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels. Place in oven to keep warm while repeating frying process with remaining vegetables. Serve hot with lemon-soy dipping sauce.
What you're after in a tempura recipe is a batter that cooks up to be light, crisp and golden. This recipe does exactly that.
- 1½ cups soda water, chilled
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 2 cups rice flour
- sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced, and parboiled to soften
- small carrots, end and green top trimmed
- purple potatoes
- asparagus spears
- snap peas, trimmed
- canola or peanut oil, for frying
Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Add a few inches of oil to a deep pot and heat to 180ºC (350ºF). Check heat with a kitchen thermometer.
2. As you wait for the oil to heat, pour soda water into a mixing bowl.
3. Add egg whites and whisk until frothy.
4. Add baking soda and rice flour, and whisk until just combined.
5. Using chopsticks, dip each veggie in the batter, and then carefully place into the hot oil.
6. Remove after four or five minutes, or when golden. Leave carrots and potatoes in oil a minute longer, to soften.
Crispy Vegetable Tempura Recipe
Crispy Vegetables like baby corn, broccoli, carrot & bell peppers are batter fried with a light batter till it is crispy. These Vegetable Tempuras make a great appetizer or side dish along with an asian meal.
Crispy Vegetable Tempura Recipe is a light batter fried vegetables like baby corn, carrot, bell peppers and broccoli.
The tempura batter is made sometimes with sparkling water in order to keep it light and aerated. The batter is then kept cold by adding some ice cubes and made quick only for small batches for frying.
The concept was first got from the Portuguese which was then popularised in Japan.
Serve the Crispy Vegetable Tempura Recipe, along with a Spicy Chicken Manchurian, Thai Style Noodles With Spinach And Leeks Recipe and a Aish el Saraya as a dessert for a special weekend dinner with friends and family.
If you liked the Crispy Vegetable Tempura Recipe, take look at our favorite Asian recipes below:
Baked Tempura Vegetables
Admittedly, part of the reason why I like to eat at sushi restaurants is for the tempura vegetables. They are crisp and delicious however, they are also fried.
This recipe produces very similar results without all of the added fat! Use a variety of vegetables and find your favorite!
- 4 whole Egg Whites
- 2 cups Panko Crumbs
- 1 teaspoon Vegetable Seasoning
- 1 whole Yam, Peeled And Cut Into Thick Matchsticks
- 2 cups Broccoli Flowerettes, Cut Into Chunks
- 2 cups Button Mushrooms, Stemmed
- 1 bunch Asparagus, Trimmed
- 1 whole Zucchini, Cut Into 1/2 Inch Rounds
- ⅓ cups All-purpose Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a 9 x 15″ baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a shallow dish, beat egg whites with a fork. In a medium bowl, combine panko bread crumbs and vegetable seasoning. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables in flour, shaking to remove any excess flour. Dip the vegetables, a few at a time, into the egg whites, then dip into the panko crumb mixture to coat.
Place the vegetables in a single layer in the prepared baking pan. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil. Bake for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are golden brown, gently stirring twice.
Serve with low-sodium soy sauce or other Asian sauce of choice for dipping.
Nutrition Info per 1 1/2 cup serving: 148 calories, 4 g fat, 23 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber
I've never really been good at making tempura, the quintessential Japanese deep fried dish. My mother's tempura has always been terrific - crispy, light, and not greasy at all. So, taking advantage of her extended vacation here this year, I drilled her properly on how she makes tempura.
Her method does not rely on special tempura flour (cheap in Japan but expensive or hard to get a hold of elsewhere), or other recently touted additions like vodka or other high-alcohol liquor, so anyone should be able to do it. Just follow the key points listed below.
Point no. 1: Use the freshest ingredients you can find
The light tempura batter is meant to enhance the flavors of the vegetables or shrimp or squid and so on that is being fried, not mask it. So the fresher your ingredients are, the better your tempura will be.
Point no. 2: Dry the surface of the ingredients completely
This is a point often missed in other directions for tempura. In order to keep the tempura batter crisp, it's important to make the surface of the things you're frying very dry. My mother cuts up her vegetables at least half an hour beforehand, and spreads them out in a single layer on kitchen towels or paper towels and puts them near a sunny window. (Since this article is about vegetable tempura I'll leave the subject of how to prep shrimp or squid for another time, but squid is actually allowed to dry out for several hours in the refrigerator, and shrimp is patted dry with kitchen or paper towels.)
Point no. 3: Use ice cold water for your batter, and don't mix it much
The flour in tempura batter is just there to hold the other ingredients together. It should not be allowed to develop gluten, which leads to heavy, doughy batter. Therefore, you should always use ice cold water with ice cubes in it for the batter, and not mix it too much. A few ice cubes and lumps of flour floating in the batter are fine - they won't stick to the food you're dipping in the batter anyway.
Point no. 4: Don't overcrowd your oil
You should keep the frying oil at a constant high temperature. If you put too much in at once, you will lower the temperature, which can make the tempura soggy and oil-logged.
Point no. 5: Don't make too much at one time
At a tempura-specialist restaurant, your tempura is fried right in front of you and served immediately. They only fry a little bit at a time. That's the ideal way to do tempura. At home, you could stand at the stove making individual portions for everyone else, but if you don't want to do that just make a small batch at a time and try to eat it immediately, even if you have to stand up again to fry another batch. (This is why I think tempura is really ideal as an appetizer, rather than a main course, in Western-style meal structures. It's easier to make appetizer-sized portions and eat it right away.)
Point no. 6: Don't fuss with the tempura once it's in the oil
There's not need to keep flipping over your tempura over and over. This just lowers the surface temperature unnecessarily. Let the hot oil do its work! Just flip over once if needed.
Point no. 7: Drain the oil very well.
If you hold the tempura piece for a few seconds just above the oil, with a bit of the end still in the oil, the oil will drain off a lot better. Then transfer the tempura piece to the draining setup that is explained later. Some people transfer the tempura to a second draining setup (with fresh paper, etc.) to drain off even more oil
With these points in mind, here is my mother's tempura recipe.
Recipe: Vegetable Tempura
For 2 main dish or 4 appetizer portions
Use whatever seasonal vegetables you have. These are what we had in late June in southern France. See the end for some other vegetable suggestions.
- 1 small sweet potato
- 2 small eggplants/aubergines
- About 9 baby zucchini, or 2 regular sized zucchini
- 8 green shiso leaves
- 1 medium carrot
- A handful of green beans
- 1 egg
- A jug of ice water
- 3 Tbs. cake flour or all-purpose flour (not bread flour)
- 1 Tbs. corn or potato starch
Oil for frying (My mother prefers rapeseed oil (natane abura 菜種油). You can also use sunflower, corn or peanut oil.)
Cut the sweet potato into rounds with the skin on. Take the blossom end off the eggplants, and slice into wide strips lengthwise. (If you have a fat Western style eggplant, cut into rounds as with the sweet potato.) Leave the baby zucchini whole, just cutting off the blossom ends cut regular zucchini into wide strips. Leave the shiso leaves whole. Cut the carrot into matchsticks. Leave the green beans whole, just cutting off the tops and tails.
Spread out the cut vegetables into a single layer on kitchen or paper towels, and leave to dry out on the surface for at least half an hour. The uncut baby vegetables and so on should not need to be dried, but should be totally dry on the surface.
Just before you are ready to start frying, mix up the batter. If your egg is a 'small' size, use 250 ml of ice water (or 5 times the amount of egg). If you have a 'large' egg you'll need a tad more water. Mix the egg and water together, then add the flours, mixing rapidly with chopsticks or a fork. Do not try to get rid of all lumps, and floating ice cubes are fine - they'll help to keep the batter cool.
Pour the oil into a suitable container, no more than 1/3th of the way full for safety. A tip here: Use a heavy pot that retains heat well. A cast iron enamelled pot such as Le Creuset is ideal. In Japan, most people deep fry in a wok - a proper wok made of iron is good because it retains heat well. Don't use a cheap thin pan. For very small amounts you can also use a frying or sauté pan with fairly high sides. (Neither of us owns a dedicated deep fat fryer nor do we want to make the space for one in our kitchens.)
Heat up the oil. You can use a thermometer if you like, in which case you should heat up the oil to about 175°C or 350°F. Otherwise you can see if the oil is hot enough by dropping a bit of batter in the oil. If the batter blobs drop down and them come shooting up to the surface immediately, the oil is hot enough.
Make ready a large plate or tray lined with newspapers covered with kitchen towels, or a draining rack.
Larger pieces or whole vegetables should be dipped in the batter individually smaller pieces like the matchstick carrots or the green beans are usually fried in little bundles, dipped in the batter and then into the oil with chopsticks. Start with the more delicate vegetables first, such as the shiso leaves, which only take a few seconds. Proceed to the harder vegetables, ending up with things like the sweet potato slices. Don't overcrowd the oil pot - be patient, and only do 3 to 4 pieces at at time!
The amount of time each thing should be cooked depends on the vegetable. As mentioned, very delicate thin things only need a few seconds, while hard vegetables need a few minutes. You'll learn how long things need to be fried by experience, but if you're not sure just take a piece and cut or bite into it.
Drain each piece on the prepared draining plate or try. Don't stack the pieces on top of each other, or the pieces underneath will just soak up the oil from above!
Serve tempura when it's piping hot, for maximum crispiness.
How to present tempura
Tempura is often served on a piece of absorbent paper called a kaishi (懐紙), folded attractively. You can use a piece of plain, unprinted paper with absorbent qualities, such as untreated drawing paper (which is what I used in the photo above), plain white paper napkins, and so on. Otherwise, just arrange it attractively on a plate.
What to serve with tempura
For vegetable tempura, my favorite condiment is just some sea salt, sprinkled on. You could add a few drops of lemon juice too, though this isn't traditional. You can also use tentsuyu, which is just a slightly thinned out version of soba tsuyu or soba dipping sauce (thin out with a bit of dashi stock). Grated daikon radish is often added to tentsuyu.
Leftover tempura can be crisped up in a toaster oven or regular oven. Just spread out in a single layer and bake for about 5 to 10 minutes until it's a slightly darker shade of brown.
Japanese people love soggy-on-purpose tempura too, especially in the form of tendon, which is just tempura on top of rice with some mentsuyu poured over it in its simplest form. Tendon is best made with freshly fried tempura, but you can use leftover tempura too.
What vegetables can you use for tempura?
Basically, anything that is in season can be used. Harder vegetables should be cut thinner or smaller so that they cook faster. Some examples, both traditionally Japanese and not so traditional:
- Sliced onions
- Green onions, cut into about 1/2 inch / 1cm pieces (fry in little bundles mixed with matchstick carrots)
- Green shiso leaves (red shiso is too bitter)
- Chrysanthemum leaves and shungiku
- Green beans
- Snow peas
- Sweet potatoes (the white or orange kind)
- Kabocha squash
- Shishito peppers (slightly spicy)
- Burdock (gobo)
- Fava beans (soramame)
- Green asparagus - cut into about 2 inch / 4 cm lengths
- Parsley leaves
- Sage leaves
- Thai basil
- Arugula (rucola/rocket)
- Green peas
- Slightly unripe, firm tomatoes (cut into wedges and deseed)
- Potatoes (cut into rounds or wedges)
- Sweet peppers (cut into strips)
- Jalapeño peppers (whole or cut into half and deseeded)
- Firm banana (cut into chunks) - I've never tried plantain but that could work too
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This classic Japanese way to fry leaves you with crispy-edged, light, never-greasy, truly sublime vegetables.
Among the key steps: Barely mix the batter prepare it just before frying. Maintain the right oil temperature. Drain the just-fried vegetables thoroughly.
Choose your favorite combination of vegetables, such as broccolini, winter squash or pumpkin, eggplant, sweet potato, shiitake mushroom caps or other mushrooms, carrots -- really, anything you like.
You'll need a thermometer to monitor the frying oil.
When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.
For the tempura: Prepare a cooking station next to the stove-top burner. Have ready the vegetables, a plate with the 1/2 cup of cake flour, and the ingredients for the wet and dry parts of the batter. Set a cooling rack over a paper-towel-lined baking sheet, and line up your tools: chopsticks, a metal strainer and a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer.
Pour the vegetable oil and sesame oil into a large, deep cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven set over high heat. Bring the oil mixture to 360 degrees (slightly lower than the standard 375 degrees for frying, because tempura cooks so quickly).
Meanwhile, prepare the separate wet and dry parts of the batter: Combine the yolks and water in a bowl, mixing until well incorporated, then add the ice cubes. Place the 2 cups of cake flour in another bowl.
When you're ready to fry, finish the batter: Quickly add the 2 cups of cake flour to the liquid, all at once. Hold 4 chopsticks together, the tips pointed down, like you're grabbing a bottle. Stab at the batter with the chopsticks, mashing down repeatedly to combine the dry and wet parts. Do not stir you barely want to mix the batter. (The chopsticks are much less efficient than a spoon or spatula -- which is exactly the point.) Mix for only about 30 seconds or until the batter becomes loose and liquid, with the consistency of heavy cream. It should be lumpy, with visible globs of dry flour floating in it and with unmixed flour sticking to the sides of the bowl. That's preferred you don't want to over-mix.
Lightly coat the vegetables in the flour on the plate, then dip them into the batter one at a time. Immediately and carefully use one hand to lay each vegetable in the hot oil, working in batches. (Use, at most, half of the surface area of the oil to cook.) Deep-fry the denser vegetables like sweet potato or carrot first, for about 3 minutes, until they turn golden brown. Transfer them to the cooling rack to drain. Repeat with the other vegetables. Cook softer vegetables like asparagus, broccoli and pumpkin for about 2 minutes.
Serve the tempura immediately, with a dish of dipping sauce and a small mound of daikon topped with ginger on the side, for each portion. (To eat, add the daikon and ginger to the dipping sauce right before dunking in the first piece of tempura.)
Adapted from "Japanese Soul Cooking," by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat (Ten Speed Press, 2014).