10 Essential Steps to a Successful Tempura

Tempura Vegetable and Tempura Shrimp recipes are available from the NYT archives. Both of the recipes have garnered 4/5 stars. The comments in the article revealed some need for additional information to produce a successful Tempura.

Mark Bittman’s recipe uses the traditional ingredients for Tempura: water, egg, and flour. However, I prefer using just one egg as the yolk has more fat content than the proteinaceous egg white. The batter appears to coat more heavily with two yolks. I also like to keep the recipe simple with a 1 cup of water: 1 egg: 1 cup flour.

Some helpful suggestions on getting light and delicate tempura coating are:

  1. Using a finely milled version such as cake flour. All-Purpose flour can be substituted.
  2. The batter ingredients must be cold. One can leave a 24 oz. bottled water in the freezer for 1 hour. Make sure your vegetables and shrimp are chilled as well.
  3. When mixing the batter together, just stir with a pair of chopsticks, no need to beat it in. Use figure 8’s to mix. This will prevent the gluten from being activated and avoid a doughy consistency. It will appear lumpy.
  4.  Recommended temperature for frying Vegetable Tempura is 325 degrees Fahrenheit and 350 degrees for the Shrimp Tempura.
  5. Don’t cut the ingredients too thick, I just like it enough to be around the same sizes like the asparagus or shrimp thickness, so that they all cook evenly and finish at the same time.
  6. Just before frying, ensure your vegetables and shrimp are dry before dusting with flour, then into the cold batter.
  7. Fry them immediately and do not overcrowd in the frying pan. I used my iron skillet flat bottom pan to get an even oil temperature.
  8. Most of all, don’t hesitate to experiment! Adust your batter accordingly with how it coats the veggies/shrimp. There should just be enough coating of the batter. There is even a Panko version that I tried.
  9. Other Tempura choices are scallops, eel, enoki mushrooms, lotus roots, sweet potato, asparagus and here, I tried some shishito peppers and squash blossoms.
  10. Tempura should be eaten right away. This is a great appetizer an have your guests gather around the kitchen waiting for the Tempura to be done.


There is also a Vegan Vegetable Tempura option which I found helpful with providing a dipping sauce recipe.

    • Best Tempura Ever

      • Servings: 4-6
      • Difficulty: easy
      • Print

      10 Essential Steps to a Successful Tempura

    • Credit: NYT Cooking for the Dipping Sauce, 5starchefnurse for Tempura Batter


      • For Dipping Sauce:
      • – 1/2 ounce dried kelp (kombu)
      • – dried shiitake mushroom
      • – 1 tablespoon mirin
      • – 1 tablespoon light-colored soy sauce
      • – 1 tablespoon peeled, grated daikon
      • – 1/2 teaspoon peeled grated ginger
      • For Batter:
    • – 1 cup sifted All-Purpose flour or Cake Flour
      • – 1 Cup Really COLD water
      • – 1 whole egg


        • For the dipping sauce: Combine kelp and shiitake mushroom in a small bowl. Add 1 cup cold water and allow to soak for 3 hours. Strain and set the clear, amber liquid aside; discard kelp and mushroom. Pour mirin and light-colored soy sauce in a small pot over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid from the kelp and mushroom. Remove from heat, and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the daikon and ginger; set aside.
      • ¬†For the Tempura:
      • 1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cold egg and cold water. Stir well until uniform consistency.
      • 2. In a separate mixing bowl, sift the flour. Add the egg mixture to the flour. Use a pair of chopsticks to gently mix the batter, using a figure 8 motion. Do not worry about leaving the powdery lumps of flour. Chill in freezer for 5 minutes before coating with the batter.
      • 3. Once the oil is heated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, drop a teaspoon of batter into the oil to test. The batter should sink to the bottom and rise to the top once it is cooked. The batter will have a golden color that is airy and crispy.
      • 4. Start frying the Tempura vegetables and finish with the shrimp (the shrimp is fried at around 350 degrees).
      • 5. Eat while hot and dip in the sauce.