Here’s a great way to enjoy the taste of Japan at home. Learn how to quickly cook delicious, light Japanese Kabocha Tempura with this easy recipe!
Japanese pumpkin, known as kabocha, is one of the best and most classic vegetables for Tempura. It has a crisp, light texture that makes you want to eat it repeatedly!
With this recipe, you can enjoy crisp kabocha tempura on the outside and a tender interior.
- This recipe is for you if:
- You love kabocha squash.
- You want to make kabocha tempura.
- You are looking for easy kabocha tempura recipe.
- You want to know how to make crisp tempura.
Do you love kabocha? Check these 10 Easy Kabocha Squash Recipes.
Let me walk you through the ingredients and the instructions. If you want to jump to the recipe, click below. Let’s get started!
About This Recipe
- Easy kabocha tempura recipe
- Tips for making crispy Tempura
- The batter without egg
- Vegetable variations
Here are the ingredients (amounts are in the recipe card below).
- Kabocha – Cut kabocha into thin slices with the skin.
- 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 (such as vegetable oil) and add toasted sesame oil to add flavor.
- Batter – This recipe uses water, cake flour, and baking powder. No egg is 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 easiest way to make tempura batter is by using a store-bought mix. You 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. Click here to watch the recipe video.
- Cut the kabocha into thin slices.
- Make a batter by mixing water, flour, and baking powder in a bowl.
- Add about 2 cm of oil (1 inch) high to a pan and heat it to 170C (335F). Dip the kabocha slices in the batter and carefully place them into the hot oil in the pan.
- Deep-fry until cooked (about a couple of minutes).
- Place them on a wire rack for cooling and drip excess oil.
- Dilute mentsuyu (noodle soup) with water according to the bottle instructions and add daikon oroshi.
Here you go! Our tempura kabocha is so crispy and tasty!
Dip them in tempura sauce and enjoy this authentic Japanese dish!
How to Cut a Kabocha Squash
If you’re unsure how to cut Kabocha squash, I have the perfect recipe!
The following recipe will show you how to cut a whole kabocha squash into quarters, plus five different sizes depending on your dish. I put in a lot of information, so I hope it helps!
Helpful Tips for Making Crispy Tempura
Tips for Batter
The batter is the key to the success of your Tempura.
It is essential to avoid forming gluten in the batter! Otherwise, you will get a 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% gluten.
2. Use cold water
Use cold water rather than lukewarm water because gluten is easily formed at high temperatures. 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 become sticky over time, so making it right before frying is better.
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 temperature of the oil 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 oil 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 slotted spoon before adding the 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 is commonly served with tentsuyu (tempura sauce) or just salt.
But at home, you can enjoy more options. Here’s how to eat Tempura!
- Tentsuyu: It’s a dipping sauce for Tempura made from soy sauce and dashi. See the following section for more details.
- Salt: Add a little table salt (or sea 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 the tempura 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 condiments.
When I was a child, I would eat Tempura with soy or tonkatsu sauce, but now I like tentsuyu with grated daikon radish, which helps digestion.
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.
Vegetable Tempura Moriawase
Moriawase is a great appetizer that has many different ingredients on one plate. This one has kabocha, Japanese sweet potato, eggplant, and bell peppers.
Once you know how to cook Tempura, try other vegetables as well. Here is my recipe for making vegetable tempura.
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
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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Crispy & Light Kabocha Tempura RecipePrint Pin Save
- 1/8 Kabocha Squash
- 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 kabocha: Cut kabocha into thin slices.
- 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.
- Deep-fry: Dip the kabocha in batter, put them in the pan, and deep-fry until cooked (about a couple of minutes). 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.
- Do not throw the leftover batter. You can make tenkasu (tempura flakes) and use it as a topping on noodles or rice bowls.