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!
Japanese vegetable tempura is a classic dish that brings together simple ingredients – a tempura batter and your favorite veggies!
In this recipe, you will learn how to create a delicious tempura that strikes the perfect balance of being crispy on the outside while remaining light and airy in taste.
- This recipe is for you if:
- You love Japanese tempura.
- You are looking for Japanese vegetable tempura recipe.
- You want to know how to make perfect 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 beloved and classic Japanese dish that involves battering and deep-frying various ingredients, including seafood, fish, and vegetables. Whether it’s a family gathering, a party appetizer, or a main dish and side dish for dinner, this delightful recipe is a perfect addition to any meal.
Its crispy and flavorful nature makes it enjoyable on its own, but it also pairs wonderfully as a topping for udon noodles or as part of a satisfying rice bowl.
Vegetable tempura is a delightful medley of assorted vegetables widely enjoyed by many people!
When dining at a Japanese restaurant in Japan, it is quite common to come across a tempura set menu. This set typically includes a delightful combination of components, such as a bowl of steamed rice, a comforting miso soup, and an assortment of small side dishes like hiyayakko (chilled tofu) and pickles.
Popular Tempura Ingredients
There are a wide variety of ingredients that are suitable for Tempura, but some popular choices include bell pepper, shiitake mushroom, kabocha squash, Japanese sweet potato, and shrimp.
These ingredients are frequently used in Tempura due to their unique flavors and textures, which complement the light and crispy batter. Whether you prefer the savory taste of bell peppers and shiitake mushrooms, the sweetness of kabocha and sweet potato, or the succulence of shrimp, these ingredients add a delicious twist to the classic Tempura dish.
Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).
- Vegetables: In this recipe, we will use kabocha squash, sweet potato, bell pepper, and eggplant. For more variations, you can refer to the list of ‘Best vegetables for tempura’ below
- Oil: I love using White sesame oil (taihaku) or rice oil to get an extra crispy texture. You can use any oil, such as vegetable oil or canola oil.
- 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: Grate daikon radish (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.
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.
Let me show you how to make it. Click here to watch the vegetable tempura 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 large 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) height in a pan and warm it to medium heat at 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 or paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Make daikon oroshi (Grated radish).
- In a small bowl, dilute mentsuyu (noodle soup) with water according to the bottle instructions and add daikon oroshi to make tempura sauce.
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!
Other Serving Options
If you go to a Japanese restaurant, Tempura serves commonly with tempura sauce (tentsuyu) or just salt. But at home, you can enjoy more options. Here are how to eat Tempura!
- Tempura sauce (tentsuyu): 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 this.
- 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.
Helpful Tips For Making Batter
Typical tempura batter is made from egg, wheat flour, and water, but you can make it without egg like this recipe, or you can make it with rice flour if you prefer gluten-free.
Use ice-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.
If you combine the batter ingredients too much, the gluten will be formed, and your Tempura will be heavy and chewy. See How To Make Tempura Batter 3 Ways for more tips!
Helpful Tips For Deep Frying
1. Dust flour on the 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 the 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. Then the moisture in the batter will not evaporate well, and your Tempura might become soggy. To keep the high temperature consistent, put the ingredients in less than 2/3 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.
4. Drain off the oil
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.
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:
Best Vegetables For Tempura
Let’s make more vegetable tempura! If you are looking for different veggies, here is the list! Root vegetables, shiso, asparagus, okra, and many more!
- Kabocha squash
- Sweet potato
- Bell pepper
- Shishito pepper
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Maitake mushrooms
- Eringi mushrooms
- Enoki mushrooms
- Lotus roots
- Butternut squash
- Snow peas
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.
More Tempura Recipes You Might Like
- Sweet Potato Tempura
- Kabocha Tempura
- Eggplant Tempura
- Kakiage (Vegetable fritters)
- Kakiage don (Rice bowl)
The Best Japanese Vegetable Tempura RecipePrint Pin Save
- 1/8 Kabocha squash
- 1 Sweet potato (satsumaimo)
- 2 Bell peppers
- 2 Eggplants
- Oil for deep-frying
- 200 ml Cold water
- 100 g Cake flour
- 1/2 tsp 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.