The Best Japanese Vegetable Tempura Recipe

5 from 6 votes
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If you’re looking for an authentic Japanese experience at home, look no further than this easy-to-make Vegetable Tempura recipe! You can make this delicious and crispy Tempura with simple steps without failure!

Looking for simple vegetable dishes? Try my Steamed Vegetables, Eggplant Teriyaki, and Cabbage Steak!

vegetable tempura with tempura sauce.

I’ll walk you through the ingredients and step-by-step instructions. I hope you enjoy it!

Why You Will Love This Recipe 

  • Japanese vegetable tempura is a classic dish made with simple ingredients: a light tempura batter and your favorite vegetables!
  • This recipe will help you create a delicious tempura that achieves the perfect balance of crispiness on the outside while remaining light and airy.
  • There are so many variations you can try with different vegetables!

What is Tempura?

Tempura is fried food made by battering and deep-frying ingredients such as shrimp, fish, and vegetables. It’s a classic Japanese dish that you will see on the menu at Japanese restaurants. It’s also one of the popular home-cooked dishes as you can quickly make a delicious dinner for the whole family with several simple ingredients.

Recipe Ingredients

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this Vegetable Tempura Recipe:

Ingredients for vegetable tempura.
  • Vegetables: A wide variety of ingredients are suitable for Tempura, but some popular choices include bell pepper, eggplant, kabocha squash, and Japanese sweet potato. For more variations, refer to the list of ‘Variations’ below.
  • Oil: You can use any oil, such as vegetable oil or canola oil. I use non-flavored sesame oil in this recipe.
  • Tempura Batter: This recipe uses water, cake flour (or all-purpose flour), and baking powder. No egg is required. The fastest way to make tempura batter is by using tempura batter mix, but we won’t use it as we can easily make the batter with simple ingredients.
  • Mentsuyu: This is for tempura dipping sauce. Mentsuyu is a multipurpose noodle soup base with a savory flavor made from dashi broth (Japanese soup stock), mirin, and soy sauce. I use store-bought one in this recipe, but if you like making it on your own, see this Homemade Mentsuyu Recipe.
  • Daikon radish: Make daikon oroshi and add it to the mentsuyu sauce. It is common to include grated daikon in the sauce as it helps to digest fatty foods like Tempura. You can also add a touch of lemon juice for digestion benefits.

How To Make Vegetable Tempura: STEP BY STEP 

Tempura is a simple dish, and how to make it is super easy! Cut ingredients, make the batter, dip ingredients in the batter, and deep fry until cooked.

How to make vegetable tempura.

Step 1

Slice to prepare vegetables.

How to make vegetable tempura.

Step 2

Make tempura batter with flour, baking powder, and cold water.

How to make vegetable tempura.

Step 3

Dust the eggplant and bell pepper with flour (no need for kabocha and sweet potato).

How to make vegetable tempura.

Step 4

Heat oil in a frying pan or any deep pot. Dip the vegetables in the batter and put them in the pan.

How to make vegetable tempura.

Step 4

Flip them over and deep-fry until cooked.

How to make vegetable tempura.

Step 4

Make a tempura sauce with mentsuyu and grated daikon.

vegetable tempura.

Bell pepper, eggplant, sweet potato, and kabocha squash tempura from the left. They are incredibly crispy and delicious! Serve them with a side of tempura sauce for dipping, and savor the authentic flavors of this traditional Japanese dish!

Recipe Tips

  • Do not mix the batter until smooth. If you mix too much, gluten will form, and your tempura will be heavy and chewy. See ‘Homemade Tempura Batter Recipe‘ for more tips.
  • If you dust ingredients with flour, the extra surface will reduce the water content of vegetables and keep them from getting soggy. In addition, the batter sticks to vegetables, and you can fry them without having the tempura skin come off.
  • Do not fry too many at once to keep the oil temperature consistent.
  • Tenkasu (or agedama) are crunchy bits made from leftover batter when cooking tempura. If left in the pot, old tenkasu can stick to the new tempura, ruining its texture. To prevent this, use a fat skimmer spoon to remove the tenkasu before adding new pieces of tempura.
  • Draining oil after frying is also essential. After cooking the Tempura, remove excess fat by placing it on a cooling rack. Keep them upright as much as possible, and do not stack them.

Other Serving Options

Tempura sauce with daikon oroshi.

If you go to a Japanese restaurant, Tempura is commonly served with tempura sauce (tentsuyu) or just salt. But at home, you can enjoy more options. Here’s how to eat Tempura!

  • Tempura sauce (tentsuyu) is a dipping sauce for Tempura made from soy sauce and dashi. If you are a vegetarian, dashi is made from fish, so you should avoid it.
  • Salt: Add a little salt on top and eat it; then, enjoy the simple taste. You can also use flavored salts such as matcha, spicy, citrus, etc.
  • Soy sauce: Drizzle a bit of soy sauce on tempura. Do not dip in it as it is salty and overpowers the taste of Tempura.
  • Chuno sauce: This is a Japanese Worcestershire-style sauce. Drizzle the sauce to your taste.
  • Or without any condiments.

What To Serve With

Since Tempura consumes plenty of oil, other side dishes should be as light as possible. Here are some examples to serve with tempura: Japanese steamed rice, daikon miso soup, nukazuke, and tofu and seaweed salad

Variations

vegetable variations for tempura.

If you are looking for more vegetable options, here is the list!

  • Okura
  • Shiso
  • Shishito pepper
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Maitake mushrooms
  • Eringi mushrooms
  • Enoki mushrooms
  • Lotus roots
  • Kale
  • Butternut squash
  • Snow peas

Your Questions Answered

What is vegetable tempura made of?

Common vegetables for Tempura are kabocha squash, sweet potatoes, shiso leaves, eggplants, bell peppers, okra, mushrooms, lotus root, and onion. See more variations in “Best vegetables for tempura.”

How do you make vegetable tempura?

Cut vegetables, make the tempura batter, dip the vegetables in the batter, and deep fry until cooked.

Is Tempura healthy?

Tempura is a delicious dish you enjoy for its light and crispy texture.
But it soaks up all those fried oils, so It’s not a healthy choice. You can also bake your Tempura if you want them healthier.

How do you eat vegetable tempura?

The most common way to eat them is with tentsuyu, a dipping sauce for Tempura made from soy sauce and dashi. Other common ways are eaten with salt, soy sauce, and chuno sauce (Japanese Worcestershire-style sauce).

What are tempura flakes?

Tempura flakes are called tenkasu (or agedama), crunchy bits made from the leftover batter during cooking tempura. These are used for toppings on noodles, rice bowls, or ingredients for okonomiyaki.

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vegetable tempura on a cooling rack.

The Best Japanese Vegetable Tempura Recipe

5 from 6 votes
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Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 serving
Author: Juri Austin
If you're looking for an authentic Japanese experience at home, look no further than this easy-to-make Vegetable Tempura recipe! You can make this delicious and crispy Tempura with simple steps without failure!

Equipment

  • Frying pan 22cm (9 inches)

Ingredients

  • Kabocha squash
  • 1 Japanese sweet potato
  • 2 Bell peppers
  • 2 Eggplants
  • Oil for deep-frying

Batter

  • 200 ml Cold water
  • 100 g Cake flour
  • ½ tsp Baking powder

Tempura Sauce

  • 600 ml Mentsuyu, Dilute with water according to the bottle instructions.
  • 1 inch Daikon radish

Instructions

  • Prepare vegetables: Slice the kabocha and sweet potato thinly, cut the bell pepper into quarters, cut the eggplant into quarters and make slits 4 to 5 times.
  • Prepare a pan: Put oil about 2 cm (1 inch) high in a pan and heat it to 170C (335F).
  • Make the batter: Add cold water to a bowl, sift the flour and baking powder with a strainer, and mix.
  • Dust with flour: Dust the eggplant and bell pepper with flour (no need for kabocha and sweet potato).
  • Deep-fry: Dip the vegetables in batter, put them in the pan, and deep-fry until cooked (about a couple of minutes, depending on the vegetable). Place them on a cooling rack to drip excess oil.
  • Make Tentsuyu: Grate the daikon radish (daikon oroshi). Dilute mentsuyu (noodle soup) with water according to the bottle instructions and add daikon oroshi.

Video

Notes

  • Do not mix the batter until smooth. If you mix too much, gluten will form, and your tempura will be heavy and chewy. See ‘Homemade Tempura Batter Recipe‘ for more tips.
  • If you dust ingredients with flour, the extra surface will reduce the water content of vegetables and keep them from getting soggy. In addition, the batter sticks to vegetables, and you can fry them without having the tempura skin come off.
  • Do not fry too many at once to keep the oil temperature consistent.
  • Tenkasu (or agedama) are crunchy bits made from leftover batter when cooking tempura. If left in the pot, old tenkasu can stick to the new tempura, ruining its texture. To prevent this, use a fat skimmer spoon to remove the tenkasu before adding new pieces of tempura.
  • Draining oil after frying is also essential. After cooking the Tempura, remove excess fat by placing it on a cooling rack. Keep them upright as much as possible, and do not stack them.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 6g
Course: Main
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: vegetable tempura
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