9 In Main Dish/ Seafood/ Vegetable/ Video

Tempura Recipe

Tempura is one of the most famous Japanese foods outside  Japan.  It is battered and deep fried seafood and vegetables.  Tempura can be as formal as you want it to be at very expensive Tempura specialty restaurants in Japan, or casual home cooking.

At the hands of skilled Tempura chefs at nice restaurants, Tempura is light and crispy fare even though it is fried food.  Seafood such as shrimps and fish as well as seasonal vegetables are prepared in front of you.  It is so good and this kind of Tempura would not give you heartburn.  You can make Tempura at home, of course, but it is a little tricky not to be soft and greasy.  Not only does the batter have to be relatively thin, but it is important that the batter is cold and the oil is hot.  This big difference of the temperature of batter and oil helps the finished product to be crispy.

Another important thing for Tempura is the choice of ingredients.  There are a lot of Japanese restaurants in the US that serve Tempura, but their vegetables are usually not really so suitable for Tempura like broccoli and carrots.  Broccoli florets get too soft and burned but the stalk is undercooked.  Carrots… just don’t taste that great in Tempura.  Understandably it is hard to get some traditional Japanese vegetables like lotus root, but others like green beans are everywhere in the US as well.  You don’t need to use zucchini (unless you just love it)!   Recommended vegetables for Tempura which are not so hard to find in the US are green beans, brown onions, sweet potatoes, Kabocha pumpkin, Asian eggplant, and Shiitake mushrooms.

You can use Tempura sauce called Tentsuyu for dipping or simply use salt.   Tentsuyu is similar to Mentsuyu (noodle dipping sauce).  If you use our Mentsuyu, just dilute the sauce with two parts water.  In Kansai area (western Japan), Worcester sauce is sometimes used to drizzle on Tempura, but it may be more popular in working class neighborhoods.

It is not that hard to fry Tempura, but you may need to practice a couple of times.  However, it is worthwhile because freshly made Tempura is just so heavenly!

Tempura Recipe


  • shrimp
  • Kabocha pumpkin
  • sweet potato
  • eggplant
  • green beans
  • 3/4 C (95g) cake flour
  • 1 tsp (5g) baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 C (180ml total) water with 3-4 ice cubes
  • oil for deep frying
  • Mentsuyu


  1. Cut vegetables into 1/4" thick slices. Make diagonal cuts on shrimp to help straighten.
  2. Put cake flour, baking powder, salt in a medium bowl and whisk well.
  3. Add ice water into flour mixture and stir with chopsticks (not whisk) about 10 times. It's OK to have a lot of lumps in batter.
  4. Heat oil to very high temperature (375F). Dip vegetables and shrimp in batter, and deep fry until they float and are cooked through.

Tempura Recipe

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  • Eric
    February 23, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I couldn’t believe I could make Tempura at home. The recipe worked perfectly. My family loved it. I noted that keeping the oil at ~375F is important. Also, the sweet potato must not be sliced thicker than 1/4-inch, otherwise it will take a long time to fry
    Thanks a lot for sharing your secret recipe.

    • Noriko
      February 23, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      Glad you liked our recipe! Thanks for the tips!

      • Kazuya Miyashita
        September 5, 2016 at 5:31 pm

        I know this is over 2 years late but another thing you can do with sweet potato is to boil it for about 3 minutes before placing it in the tempura. This way it is partially cooked and the dip in oil will cook it the rest of the way.

  • Sandra
    April 22, 2014 at 4:46 am

    What’s the best oil to use when frying tempura? Thanks!

  • Crayon low
    July 30, 2014 at 2:42 am

    i really like the recipe of tge tempura it was awesome!

    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Glad you liked our Tempura recipe!

    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Glad you liked our Tempura recipe!

  • Katie
    February 12, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Hello there, I wanted to know if you could make a video about how to make pickles?
    I really like eating pickles with my Japanese food especially when I go to Japanese restaurants but I have no idea how to make them – Japanese style – for myself to eat at home. I really love your recipes and made a few of them. I’m only asking since you don’t have a video for it.

    Hope to make more Japanese food with your videos. 🙂

  • Elisa
    August 27, 2016 at 1:41 am

    It’s unbelievable how easy and quick you can make tempura by your own. Thank you so much for the recipe! We will make it again. Greetings from Germany!