Go to a Japanese restaurant, and you are bound to enjoy shrimp and vegetables fried in tempura batter. There is nothing better than biting into the crispy texture of tender vegetables. This recipe will have you loving how easy it is to make crispy tempura vegetables any night of the week.
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Tempura is most often served in Japanese restaurants. Fresh vegetables like slices of sweet potatoes, zucchini, squash, onions, mushrooms, and more are deep-fried in a crispy batter. If you go to a Japanese restaurant and some Chinese restaurants you are bound to find tempura-inspired items on the menu.
Tempura originated around the 16th century from Portuguese missionaries in Japan. They introduced a dish called peixinhos da horta that was eaten during meatless “Ember days.” The dish eventually became tempura, which comes from the Latin word “tempora” referring to a time of fasting.
Homemade Tempura Batter
Did you know it’s super easy to make tempura? Tempura is a light and crispy batter that is made with flour and often ice water to help it get a very light texture.
This recipe calls for club soda instead of plain ice water. You can substitute it with seltzer water.
You can use specialty flours sold in supermarkets designed for super crispy tempura, those starches include ingredients like potato starch, corn starch, or rice flour. Cake flour or another low-protein flour are great options.
Regular all-purpose flour will work if you do not stir the batter too much. Stirring that batter too much will result in a batter that isn’t as light because the gluten becomes activated with lots of stirring of the batter.
What Makes This Homemade Tempura Batter So Good
This tempura batter has such a simple base, but it gets the job done. You only need three simple ingredients. The special inclusion of club soda instead of water makes the batter extra airy and fluffy while still giving you that oh-so-delicious crispy exterior that you crave.
Why You Are Going To Love This Tempura Batter Mix
It truly can’t get any easier than this. Oftentimes, the reason people dine out is for convenience. It’s usually much easier to have a restaurant make the food for you.
However, with this recipe, it’s much quicker to make it yourself! You just have to mix the ingredients together until they form a batter, and then you can get straight to dipping, frying, and enjoying this delicious Japanese dish!
Furthermore, this simple tempura is flavorful despite having basic ingredients that you likely already have on hand. Its taste and texture allow the flavors of the vegetables or the meat to really shine.
Ingredients for Tempura Batter
- All-purpose Flour
- Club Soda
How to Make Tempura Batter
There are only three simple steps to make the best tempura batter:
- Place the flour and cornstarch in a bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add the club soda.
- Stir until just combined. You can use a spoon or chopsticks. Do not over-stir, it is okay to have some lumps.
What do you need to deep fry?
Ideally, you should have a small deep fryer. I love my t-Fal deep fryer. It does a great job of keeping the hot oil at the same temperature. It also has a handy strainer so you can strain out the cooked bits, so you can use your oil again.
If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can use a deep pot and a thermometer to ensure to keep the oil at the right temperature.
I also recommend using a wire rack to drain what you have just cooked instead of using a paper towel. When you put hot food on paper towels it tends to steam, and you lose the crispy crust you just spent time working on.
What should you dip into tempura batter?
Root vegetables like sweet potatoes, yams, daikon radish, eggplant, and onions are great candidates for cooking in tempura. Broccoli florets, broccolini, and carrots are also perfect to deep-fat fry with tempura batter. Some Japanese favorites are shiso leaves and lotus roots.
You can also dip fish, shrimp, prawns, and chicken in the batter.
How to Make Japanese Tempura
- Heat oil to 350°F in a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed pan.
- Dip vegetables, meat, or fish into the batter and let the excess drain off.
- Carefully place the tempura-battered food into the hot oil.
- Fry until golden brown and done.
- Drain the fried tempura on a wire rack over a baking sheet.
What should you serve tempura vegetables with?
You may want to dip your tempura vegetables into soy sauce, wasabi, or even ponzu sauce. Some people like to create a dipping sauce with equal parts of soy sauce and dry sherry.
How to Store Leftover Tempura
To store leftover tempura for best results, follow these steps:
- Cool down: Allow the tempura to cool completely at room temperature. Do not cover it while it’s still warm, as this will trap steam and make the tempura soggy.
- Absorb excess oil: Place the cooled tempura on paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
- Use an airtight container: Choose an airtight container that is large enough to accommodate the tempura without squashing or overcrowding the pieces.
- Layer with parchment paper: Place a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper at the bottom of the container. Arrange the tempura in a single layer, ensuring that the pieces do not touch or overlap. If you have more tempura to store, place another sheet of parchment paper over the first layer and continue to layer the tempura this way.
- Seal and refrigerate: Close the airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. Consume the leftover tempura within 1-2 days for the best taste and texture.
How to Reheat Tempura for the Best Results
To reheat the tempura and maintain its crispiness:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and arrange the tempura on the rack in a single layer.
- Heat the tempura for 5-10 minutes or until warmed through and crispy.
- Keep an eye on the tempura to avoid overcooking or burning.
Love Japanese food? Try these favorite recipes
- Shrimp Tempura Recipe
- Japanese Katsu Recipe
- Hibachi Steak Recipe
- Hibachi Fried Rice
- Hibachi Restaurant Salad Dressing
- Panko Style Breadcrumbs
Best Chinese Food Recipes
- Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- General Tso Chicken
- Chinese Pork Spareribs
- Mongolian Beef Recipe
- Hunan Chicken Recipe
- Crispy Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Egg Drop Soup Chinese
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
- 2 cups club soda
- To make the batter, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
- To use the batter, heat vegetable oil to 350°F in a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed pot. Dip vegetables, seafood, or anything else you desire into the batter, and deep fry until pale golden brown. Drain the tempura on a wire rack.