13 tricks for making good tempura for veggies and seafood

Tempura is a food we all like for its crispy light taste. Everyone can make it from ingredients each kitchen has in in stock.

You can choose vegetables (like mushrooms, potato, aubergine, zucchini, onion, paprika, pumpkin, green beans, carrot, asparagus) and sea foods (prawn, white fish and squid)

The difference between good and bad tempura is the batter. Good tempura is a light, crisp coating that doesn’t absorb oil when fried.

Here are the tricks for good tempura:

  1. Don’t over-mix the batter. When you stir in the water, mix very gently just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Don’t attempt to work out the lumps, or the batter will become heavy. Lumps in the flour is completely fine. Do not mix it too much as you will get a lot of gluten which makes it heavy and un-crispy tempura batter.
  2. Be sure the water you mix in is very cold. This will make a cold batter that will remain light when fried.
  3. Make batter right before deep frying to avoid activation of wheat gluten. Making it ahead will produce a heavy coating.
  4. To make tempura batter, sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the egg into very cold water. Whisk the egg mixture vigorously and discard the form on the surface. As you slowly pour the egg mixture into the flour, mix the batter but do not over mix. It’s okay to leave some lumps in batter. Keep the batter cold all the time.
    Tempura Batter (egg + water : flour = 1 : 1) – 1 cup (240 ml) egg + water (1 cold large egg (40ml) + 200 ml ice water) = 1 cup (240 ml) all purpose flour
  5. Add 1-2 ice cubes in the batter or put the batter bowl in a larger bowl containing ice water in order to keep the batter cold all the time.
  6. Dry the shrimp and veggies well before dipping them in the batter. This will help the batter adhere.
  7. While tempura is being fried, moisture from the ingredients will be evaporated and tempura will become crispy. However, if the ingredients have extra moisture, the tempura will become soggy after being deep fried.
  8. Be sure the oil is the proper temperature. If it’s not hot enough, the batter will absorb oil before it cooks and the result will be greasy tempura. When you see small bubbles around chopsticks, it’s pretty much ready for deep frying
  9. Frying. Good oil for deep frying is mix of sunflower oil and sesame oil =10:1) Best temperature condition is the drop of tempura batter will sink half way in flying pan then float. You can check the oil temperature without a thermometer. Put one drop of tempura batter into the oil. If the tempura batter sinks the bottom of flying pan, it is too low temperature. If the tempura batter did not sink at all and the batter spread quickly with a crackling sound the it is too high temperature. Put vegetables into the tempura batter bowl to coat them with tempura batter then carefully put them to the oil. Fry one side and then turn over and fry the other side.
  10. When you put too many ingredients, the oil temperature will drop quickly. Make sure to keep the right temperature all the time.
  11. Just half of oil surface should be covered with ingredients.
  12. Usually vegetable doesn’t require extra dusting with flour (like we need for seafood like shrimp and calamari tempura.
  13. Between batches, Between batches, remove the crumbs which will burn and turn the oil darker if left in fryer.
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