Tempura is a popular Japanese meal consisting of vegetables and seafood that have been lightly battered, crisped up, and deep-fried until golden. It is simple to understand why this dish is so well-liked worldwide: the juicy shrimp and thin slices of eggplant wrapped in that delicious crunch.
While tempura might seem intimidating at home, it’s simple with the right techniques. This article will provide:
- An easy tempura batter recipe.
- Key ingredients.
- Plenty of tips for always frying up the perfect batch.
Let’s get crispy!
Tempura Batter Ingredients
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make the tempura batter:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup ice cold water
- 1/4 tsp baking soda (optional for extra crispness)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
That’s it! The combination of flour, egg, and icy cold water is the base for a light and lacy coating. Now, let’s go over the key steps.
Mix the Batter Properly
To make the batter:
- Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and white pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to distribute the dry ingredients.
- In a separate, tiny bowl, crack the egg and whisk it until combined.
- Add the ice-cold water to the beaten egg.
- The egg mixture should be added to the dry ingredients.
- Use a fork or chopsticks to mix the batter until combined gently. Do not overmix! The batter should have a thin, creamy consistency with some small lumps.
- Place the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill and rest.
Heat the Oil and Prepare Ingredients
While the batter chills:
- A Dutch oven or heavy pot should be filled with 2-3 inches of oil. Vegetable, peanut, or canola oil works well.
- The oil should be heated gradually over medium heat until it reaches 350–375°F. Use a deep fry or candy thermometer.
- Pat dry your tempura ingredients with paper towels and set aside in order. Delicate herbs and leaves first, seafood next, then vegetables.
- To drain the tempura after frying, lay a wire rack over a baking sheet nearby.
Dip and Fry the Tempura
Once the oil is hot and the batter is chilled, it’s time to fry:
- Lightly coat an ingredient in flour, gently dip into the batter, let excess drip off, then carefully slide into the hot oil away from you.
- Fry 2-4 pieces at a time, careful not to crowd the pot.
- Turn ingredients occasionally as they fry until light golden brown, about 1-3 minutes.
- Transfer the fried tempura to the wire rack with a slotted spoon or tongs.
- Before frying more, give the oil time to warm back up.
- Scoop out any batter crumbs in the oil between batches to keep it clean.
Make an Easy Dipping Sauce
While your tempura drains, whip up this tasty dipping sauce:
- Mix 3/4 cup dashi, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons mirin, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small saucepan.
- Heat over medium, stirring gently, until just simmering.
- Take the pan off the heat and add 1 teaspoon of grated daikon radish.
- Pour into small bowls for dunking your tempura!
Tips for Tempura Success
Follow these tips for the crispiest, most flavorful tempura:
- Chill all ingredients before mixing the batter.
- Use ice-cold water, and don’t overmix the batter.
- Fry at a high temperature of 350-375°F.
- Work in small batches and fry delicate ingredients first.
- Drain fried pieces on a rack instead of paper towels.
- Make the batter and fry the tempura right before eating!
Enjoy Restaurant-Quality Tempura at Home
Now that you have this easy batter recipe and helpful how-to, you can create your own flavorful, crispy tempura for family meals or dinner parties. Coat your favorite proteins and veggies for a delicious Japanese feast. Just be prepared for requests for your tempura tips once guests try that first irresistible crunch!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the ratio of flour to egg and water in tempura batter?
The basic ratio for tempura batter is 1 cup flour to 1 egg + 1 cup ice-cold water. This creates a thin, light batter that fries up crispy and lacy.
Is all-purpose flour preferable to cake flour?
You can use cake flour for a super light crispness, but all-purpose flour works well, too. The key is to avoid overmixing the batter, which develops gluten.
How cold should the ingredients be for the batter?
It’s best to use ice-cold water and chill the flour and egg before mixing. Keeping the batter as cold as possible prevents gluten development and lets the batter cling better for a light coating.
Is it okay if the batter has lumps?
Yes, small flour lumps in the batter are fine and help give the tempura a lighter, crispier texture. Avoid overmixing to keep those lumps.
How long can I store the mixed tempura batter?
It’s best to mix up the batter and use it immediately before the gluten starts developing. But you can store it in the fridge for 30 minutes before frying. For longer storage, keep dry ingredients separate.