If you're looking for an authentic Japanese experience at home, look no further than this easy-to-make Vegetable Tempura recipe! With simple steps, you'll be able to make this delicious and crispy Tempura without failure!
Japanese vegetable tempura is a classic home-cooked meal containing nothing but the most basic ingredients- batter and your favorite veggies!
Making it is so much fun and not as difficult or time-consuming when you know what to do.
You will learn how to make your Tempura crispy on the outside while still being light and airy in taste!
- This recipe is for you if:
- You love Japanese dish.
- You want to make vegetable tempura.
- You are looking for easy vegetable tempura recipe.
- You want to know how to make crisp tempura.
Let me walk you through the ingredients and the instructions. If you want to check the recipe, jump to the recipe. Let's get started!
About this recipe
- Easy vegetable tempura recipe
- Tips for making crispy Tempura
- The batter without egg
- Variations of ingredients
What is Tempura?
Tempura is a Japanese dish made by battering and deep-frying ingredients such as seafood, fish, and vegetables.
Popular ingredients are shrimp, kabocha squash, sweet potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, and eggplants.
In this recipe, I focus on vegetable tempura (yasai tempura).
What is Tempura made of?
Typical tempura batter is made from egg, flour, and water, but you can make it without egg like my recipe, or you can make it with rice flour if you prefer gluten-free.
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. The following section has more great information for you, so please keep reading.
Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).
- Vegetables: This recipe uses kabocha, Japanese sweet potato, bell pepper, and eggplant. You can use other vegetables also-- refer to the list of "Best vegetables for tempura" in the following.
- Oil: I love using White sesame oil (taihaku) or rice oil to get an extra crispy texture. White sesame oil may be hard to get if you don't live in Japan, so you can use your regular cooking oil and add toasted sesame oil to add flavor.
- Batter: This recipe uses water, cake flour, and baking powder. No egg required.
- Tentsuyu (Tempura sauce): This is the tempura dipping sauce. Put grated daikon radish in mentsuyu (noodle soup) in this recipe. You can find a homemade mentsuyu recipe in the Kake soba noodle recipe.
Tempura batter mix
The fastest way to make tempura batter is using tempura batter mix. You just need to add water and mix it up.
But we won't use it as we can easily make the batter with simple ingredients.
Let me show you how to make it. You can also watch this recipe video.
- 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.
- Next, make a batter. Add cold water to a bowl.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder with a strainer.
- Mix (do not mix until smooth).
- Dust the eggplant and bell pepper with flour (no need for kabocha and sweet potato).
- Put oil about 2 cm (1 inch) high in a pan and heat it to 170C (335F). Dip the vegetables in the batter and put them in the pan.
- Deep-fry until cooked (about a couple of minutes, depending on the vegetable).
- Place them on a cooling rack to drip excess oil.
- Make tempura sauce. Grate the daikon radish (daikon oroshi).
- Dilute mentsuyu (noodle soup) with water according to the bottle instructions and add daikon oroshi.
Here you go! They're so crispy and tasty.
Dip them in tempura sauce and enjoy the authentic Japanese dish!
Helpful tips for making crispy Tempura
Tips for batter
The batter is the key to the success of your Tempura.
It is important to avoid forming gluten in the batter! Otherwise, you will get the pancake-like heavy texture, not crispy!
So, let's check the following easy and simple tips to make your Tempura perfect!
1. Use cake flour
Use cake flour with a lower gluten content (about 7%). Do not use bread flour with a high gluten content (about 13%).
You can substitute it with all-purpose flour, which is 8%.
2. Use Cold water
Use cold water rather than lukewarm water because gluten is easily formed when the temperature is high. It's also better to chill the flour if possible.
3. Shift the flour
Shifting the flour makes the texture finer and lighter as air comes in.
4. Do not mix it until smooth
If you combine the batter ingredients too much, the gluten will be formed, and your Tempura will be heavy and chewy.
5. The timing to Make the batter
The batter will start to become sticky over time, so it's better to make it right before frying.
1. Dust flour on ingredients
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 tempura skin come off.
So dust bell peppers and eggplants (which contain a lot of moisture) with flour. Kabocha and sweet potatoes are not necessary.
2. Do not fry too many at once
You will lower the oil temperature by adding many ingredients to the pot at once.
Then the moisture in the batter will not evaporate well, and your Tempura might become soggy.
To keep the oil temperature consistent, put the ingredients in less than ⅔ of the pot and save some space open.
3. Remove Tenkasu (Agedama)
Tenkasu (or agedama) is crunchy bits made from the leftover batter during cooking tempura.
If you leave them in the pot, old tenkasu stick to the new Tempura and ruin the texture.
So, remove the tenkasu with a fat skimmer spoon before adding a new Tempura to the pot.
4. Drain off the oil
Draining oil after frying is also essential.
After cooking the Tempura, remove any excess oil by placing them on a cooling rack. Keep them upright as much as possible, and do not stack them.
How to eat it
If you go to a Japanese restaurant, Tempura serves commonly with tentsuyu (tempura sauce) or just salt.
But at home, you can enjoy more options. Here are how to eat Tempura!
- Tentsuyu: A dipping sauce for Tempura made from soy sauce and dashi. See the following section for more details.
- Salt: Add a little salt on top and eat it; then, you can enjoy the simple taste. You can also use flavored salts such as matcha, spicy, citrus, etc.
- Soy sauce: Add a bit of soy sauce. Do not dip in it as it is salty and overpowers the taste of Tempura.
- Chuno sauce (Japanese Worcestershire-style sauce): Add the sauce to your taste.
- Or without any condiment.
When I was a child, I would eat Tempura with soy or tonkatsu sauce, but now I like tentsuyu with grated daikon radish.
Tentsuyu is a special dipping sauce for Tempura made from dashi (soup stock), soy sauce, and mirin.
Mentsuyu (noodle soup) is made from the same ingredients, and it's easier to get at a store, so I use store-bought mentsuyu for this recipe. (You can also check my homemade mentsuyu recipe here)
Adding grated daikon to tentsuyu is common as it helps digest fatty food like Tempura. You can also add lemon juice or grated ginger for the same reason.
If you are a vegetarian
Store-bought tentsuyu or mentsuyu include dashi stock made from fish, so you should avoid using them.
Best vegetables for Tempura
Let's make more vegetable tempura!
Shiso, asparagus, and okra are all delicious. There is so much variety in this Japanese dish that you could try something new every time!!
- Kabocha squash
- Sweet potato
- Bell pepper
- Shishito pepper
- Shiitake mushroom
- Maitake mushroom
- Eringi mushroom
- Enoki mushroom
- Lotus root
What to serve with
Since Tempura consumes plenty of oil, other side dishes should be as light as possible.
Here is an example of what to serve with:
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."
Cut vegetables, make the tempura batter, dip the vegetables in the batter, and deep fry until cooked.
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.
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).
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.
Thanks For Stopping By
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Also, feel free to leave comments if you have any questions. I love hearing from you!
Chef JA Cooks is a Japanese food blog that shares simple and healthy Japanese home cooking recipes, including vegan and vegetarian. From traditional Japanese recipes to modern recipes with step-by-step instructions.
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Japanese Vegetable Tempura RecipePrint Pin Rate
- Vegetable of your choice such as kabocha squash, sweet potato, bell pepper, or eggplant
- Oil for deep-frying
- 200 ml Cold water
- 100 g Cake flour
- ½ teaspoon Baking powder
- 600 ml Mentsuyu, Dilute with water according to the bottle instructions.
- 1 inch Daikon radish
- Cut 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.
- Equipment: I use an Iron frying pan 22 cm/9 inches. Any deep pot is ok.
- Variations： See "Best vegetables for tempura" for more variations.
- Do not mix the batter until smooth. If you mix too much, the gluten will be formed, and your tempura will be heavy and chewy.
- Do not fry too many at once to keep the oil temperature consistent.
- Cooking time depends on the ingredients. For example, kabocha: 1.5 minutes, sweet potatoes: 2 minutes, bell pepper and eggplant: 1 minute.
- Do not throw the leftover batter. You can make tenkasu (tempura flakes) and use it as a topping on noodles or rice bowls.