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Toothsome Tempura Batter Recipes You Should Be Making NOW!

Ankana Dey Choudhury Apr 29, 2019
Learn about ways to make tempura batter for vegetables, shrimp, and fish along with a little bit about its origin.
Tempura is a Japanese specialty wherein a batter of cold, sparkling water is mixed with some all-purpose flour and eggs, and to which baking soda, spices, canola or sesame oil is thrown in, along with starch. In this batter, either fish, shrimp, or vegetables are dipped and then deep-fried for a couple of minutes.
The history of tempura bears witness that it is basically a Portuguese delicacy which was initiated among the people of Japan by the Portuguese monks and businessmen, in the middle of the 1500s. It was during the days of quattuor tempora or the holy Lent days when the monks consume only vegetables and types of fish in a bid to keep away from eating meat.
So they used spices to season their food and ate them during this 'time period', which in Latin is tempora and from which comes today's word in Japanese―tempura.
You can make tempura batter at home and enjoy this Japanese treat without incurring travel costs to Japan. Follow these elementary tempura batter recipes and you can teach your children all about the rich Japanese culture while they gorge on these delectable chewies.

Tempura Batter for Vegetables

This is the traditional Japanese kakiage, made from assorted veggies, served with the condiment called tentsuyu. For a small group of 6, gather these for the tempura batter.
  • Water, 1 cup (ice-cold)
  • All-purpose flour, 1 cup
  • Egg whites, 2
  • Baking powder, ½ tsp.
  • Salt, ½ tsp.
  • Ice cubes, 2
As for the tempura, you need to assort,
  • Eggplant, 1 (large, slivered into finger length pieces)
  • Cauliflower, 1 (small, cubed into 2" chunks)
  • Capsicum, 2 (cut into strips ½" thick)
  • Onion, 1 (large, cut into thick rings)
  • Button mushrooms, 200 gms (washed, drained, and kept whole)
  • Babycorn, 150 gms (washed, dried and kept whole)
  • Canola oil, enough for deep-frying (sesame, tea seed, or vegetable oil would also do)
Finally, for the dip,
  • Dashi or Japanese soup stock, 1 cup (cold, any other stock variety would also do)
  • Soy sauce or shoyu, 1 cup (light)
  • Dry white wine, 1 tbsp.
  • Sugar, 2 tsp.

In order to make the tempura batter, in a large vessel, whip the egg whites to a foam and allow them to stand for a short while. Next, sieve the flour and salt together and add this to the eggs, along with water and baking powder. Gently stir this concoction twice and not more as it needs to be a little lumpy.
Use chopsticks to stir, if you have any. Do not mix it vigorously as otherwise the gluten in the wheat will get actuated and on frying the crispness will be lost. Add the ice cubes to this vessel and allow it to stand undisturbed.

Now move on to making the dip. Mix together the soy sauce, dashi, dry wine and the sugar and stir till the sugar gets dissolved.
Finally, for the tempura, heat the oil in a wok until it turns smoking hot. Maintain the temperature between 160-180 °C on a medium flame. Nock or mark the surface of the eggplant and capsicum pieces, with a knife, so that they do not burst open while frying.
Now, with the help of tongs, dip each vegetable piece into the batter and then make sure the excess batter drips off. Now allow it to fry in the oil until it takes on a brownish tinge and then transfer it on some tissue paper.
Also, remember to remove the remnant tiny fried batter bits from the oil, with a ladle, after you take out each batch of fried veggies, so that the oil doesn't take on a burnt aroma.
Your tempura is now ready. Just place the fried veggies on individual plates and serve with the dip. Also, grate some ginger and radish and serve so that people can add it to their dips as per their preferences while eating. This dish is again very resemblant of the Bengali version of fried eggplant strips, called beguni.

Tempura Batter for Fish

This is perfect for a foursome family movie night. You'll need to have,
  • Rice flour, ¼ cup and 2 tbsp.
  • Water, ½ cup (cold, sparkling)
  • Cornstarch, 1 fl. oz.
  • Egg white, 1
  • Parsley, 1 tsp.
  • Paprika, ½ tsp.
  • Salt, ½ tsp.
  • Baking powder, ¼ tsp.
  • Garlic powder, ¼ tsp.
  • Baking soda, a pinch

Whip the egg white until it foams. Then add the flour, water, cornstarch, parsley, paprika, baking powder, baking soda, garlic powder, and salt to it and mix well until it forms a uniform liquid with air bubbles present. Your tempura batter is ready for the whole fish or fish chunks to be dipped and then deep-fried with canola.
Serve with some tentsuyu or squeeze some lime juice on the tempura, along with shredded radish called daikon in Japan! Use minced or chunked halibut, tuna, monkey fish, or whole rainbow smelt for this recipe.

Tempura Batter for Oysters

For a romantic dinner for two, make this with no more than 40 minutes in hand. All you will need is,
  • Oysters, 6 (rock or native, shucked, juices reserved)
  • Vegetable oil, 18 fl. oz.
  • Self-raising flour, 5 tbsp.
  • Sesame seeds, 1 tbsp.
  • Turmeric, ½ tsp. (ground)
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling
  • Salt, a pinch
  • Sparkling water
Serve the oysters with a chili dip which you can make with,
  • Shallot, 1 (finely chopped)
  • Chili, ½ (seeded, finely chopped)
  • Coriander, 1 tbsp. (fresh, chopped)
  • Sesame oil, 2 tsp.
  • Soy sauce, 2 tsp.
  • Salt, a pinch
  • Reserved oyster juices

To make the batter, whisk the flour, sesame seeds, turmeric, and the plain salt with sufficient sparkling water in a large bowl. Once the mixture turns as thick as double cream, let it stand undisturbed for a while. Next, heat the oil in a thick-bottomed and deep pan.
Once hot, throw in a pinch of breadcrumbs and check whether they sizzle; it is the indication that the oil is sufficiently hot. Now, dip each oyster in the mixture, let the excess batter fall off, and then deep-fry it for 4 minutes at least.
Once the oysters turn golden-brown in color, remove from oil and place them on paper napkins to soak up the excess oil. Sprinkle the sea salt on the oysters before serving.
The dip can be made by simply placing all the ingredients in a large bowl and then whipping well to get a uniform condiment. Serve it in a bowl next to the oysters.

Tempura Batter for Shrimp

Now, this tempura batter for shrimp recipe will hardly take 30 minutes of yours in the kitchen and will satiate seafood lovers beyond expectation! See to it that you have,
  • Rice flour, ¾ cup
  • Water, 1 cup (cold and sparkling)
  • Egg white, 1
  • Cornstarch, ¼ cup
  • Kosher salt, ½ tsp.
  • Baking soda, a pinch
  • Shrimp, 1 pound (kept whole)

First rub salt on the shrimp and place them aside on the kitchen counter. Now mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and some salt uniformly. In another vessel, whip the egg white and water together to arrive at a smooth consistency and then pour it onto the flour mixture.
Next, heat canola oil or a suitable canola oil substitute such as peanut oil in a wok to a maintained temperature of between 320-356 °F. Dip each shrimp into the dip and shake off the excess. Fry for approximately 3 minutes each, until they turn golden brown with a aeriform crust and then place them on paper napkins so as to get rid of the excess oil.
So, there you have perfectly healthy and easy tempura batter snacks which will surely be big time hits among your kids.