Making Tempura

Calamari tempura
Image by pixel1 from Pixabay

If you love a crisp and light batter then go for tempura. The dish came about when Portuguese traders brought the idea of this batter to Japan where it was turned into a classic dish. The food would fit well with a menu of bao buns, katsu curry and so on. 

The recipe was adapted from “Japanese Country Cookbook” by Russ Rudzinski.


Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 cup plain or  all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chilled water
  • 1 or 2 egg yolks (not the whole egg).
  • pinch of  salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Vegetable oil

A typical spicy dipping sauce would have these ingredients:

  • 1tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2-3 tbsp Japanese soy sauce

For the foods that are to be battered use:

1 pound of peeled shrimps, calamari rings and king prawns (leave the tails on), 4 cups of vegetables such as onion rings, sliced carrots, red or green pepper slices, courgette/zucchini slices or spears, peeled and sliced sweet potatoes, mushrooms,  broad beans, string beans or asparagus

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, water, egg, salt, sugar and baking powder. Whisk thoroughly (or use egg beaters) until mixture achieves the consistency of whipping cream.

Refrigerate 15 minutes.

If mixture becomes too thick, stir in a little water until the consistency again resembles whipping cream.

2. Pour oil into a large pot to a depth of at least 2 inches. Bring temperature to 375 degrees (if you don’t have a thermometer, put a drop of the batter into the oil; it should fall to the bottom for a second, then rise to the top and sizzle gently. If it stays on the bottom the oil is too cold but if it immediately sizzles on top, it is too hot.

3. Dip shrimp or vegetables in batter and fry a few at a time. We know the temperature should drop to about 350 degrees.

Flip a few times in the oil and fry on both sides until a light golden brown and crisp. Remove with a wire-mesh spider, strainer, slotted spoon or chopsticks to paper towels to drain. Serve with dipping sauce on the side, if desired.

Per serving (using shrimp): 468 calories; 29 g fat; 23 g saturated fat; 229 mg cholesterol; 28 g protein; 28 g carbohydrate; 1 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 193 mg sodium; 138 g calcium.

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