What is Tempura? | Mizkan Chef
Tempura served in a bowl, on a brown tray, alongside dipping sauces.

What is Tempura?

15th December, 2021

Tempura is a simple Japanese dish that consists of seafood, vegetables or chicken being lightly battered and deep fried to create a crisp coating around it. This cooking technique was first introduced in the 16th century in Japan and chefs often spend years perfecting it.

The dish can be served on its own as a starter, or added to other dishes such as tempura soba, tempura udon, and tempura sushi.

What is Tempura Batter?

The main ingredient that makes tempura the dish it is today, is the tempura batter made of only a few simple ingredients that we’ll discuss later on. You can either make the batter from scratch or buy it pre-made. However, we would recommend creating your own for a fresher taste.

Tempura Batter Recipe

Let’s find out how to make tempura batter that can go well with vegetables, seafood, and meat. For best results, make sure the ingredient is in the right consistency.

Tempura Batter Ingredients

  • 204g all-purpose flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 400ml chilled water
  • 5l vegetable oil

Preparation method

  1. Whisk water and egg yolk until mixed. Sift flour and keep whisking with chopsticks until the batter is mixed. Don’t overmix as the batter needs to be lumpy.

Types of Tempura

You can use any vegetable or seafood for a tempura dish. However, there are certain foods that are more common than others as they pair well with the batter – let’s learn about the most common types of tempura dishes that you can serve in your restaurant.

Prawn Tempura

Prawn tempura is the original, most common tempura consumed within Japanese cuisine. The seafood used in the dish is mainly raw shrimp. In order to prevent the shrimp from curling, the head is removed, and the shrimp is cut in half.

Vegetable Tempura

Vegetable tempura is also another very common tempura dish. A wide range of vegetables can be used to make this dish, such as potatoes, onions, mushrooms, eggplants, and peppers. Whether you want to use a single vegetable or mix them together before battering them, vegetable tempura is very versatile.

Chicken Tempura

This is the least common type of tempura, only popular in the Oita region of Japan. This tempura can become a little heavy once fried. However, to prevent the heaviness, chefs use thin strips of chicken breast.

How to Make Tempura?

  1. Once the batter is ready, heat oil in a saucepan.
  2. Coat ingredients with the batter (vegetables, shrimp, or chicken) and dip into the frying pan. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until the batter becomes golden brown.
  3. Remove from the frying pan and drain oil with a paper towel. Serve with a dipping sauce.

Tempura Dipping Sauce Recipe

Tempura Dipping Sauce Ingredients:

  • 45ml soy sauce
  • 30ml honteri (mirin-style seasoning)
  • 180ml dashi soup
  • 4g sugar

Preparation method:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and serve.

Additional Tips

  • Before frying, dust corn-starch on the ingredients so the batter can stick better and give extra crispiness.
  • Instead of dropping the pieces straight into the frying pan, drag them through the oil to seal them and then release into hot oil.
  • To add extra flavour to the dish, season the ingredients with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.
  • The batter is best used when cold, place the bowl in ice water to keep it chilled.
  • Instead of using a whisk, use chopsticks when mixing the batter as this avoid overmixing and activating yeast.

We hope our guide has been helpful in explaining what tempura is and how you can make it for your own restaurant. For information on how to purchase our Honteri mirin-style sweet seasoning, get in touch with our customer care team. Feel free to also check out our blog for similar guides and Japanese recipes, and lastly, feel free to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest news and updates within the Japanese food service industry.