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Vegetable Tempura

The vegetable tempura you see pictured here is what I learned to make in Culinary school, and it is what you will find in most Japanese restaurants – at least those in Southern California. It is light, airy, crunchy, and simple. The dipping sauce is also simple. This recipe is part of this month’s Family Dinner Book Club celebrating the book The Peace Tree of Hiroshima.

Simple food is what we found all over Japan when we travelled there a few years ago. I sort of knew that Japanese food was understated and mellow, but I didn’t fully appreciate it until I was there amidst the natural beauty and tradition of Japanese culture.

This light and fluffy tempura is also what we found in Japan. However, we also found a few different styles of tempura! I was not expecting that. We had tempura that had a thicker coating and was tossed in some sort of sauce. I wonder if that was a regional variation, or if that was catering to the Western palate. I don’t know, but I do know that it was all tasty.

Vegetable tempura is a great way to get some veggies into your kids bellies. Yes, it is deep fried, but it is a quick fry, and the veggies maintain a nice al dente crunch. Bonus if your kids enjoy dipping! I made the traditional tempura dipping sauce, and I added my own Japanese-inspired dipping sauce that I like to use on rice bowls, fried rice, noodles, the sky is the limit!

What vegetables will you turn into tempura?

vegetable tempura recipe from ChefSarahElizabeth.com

Vegetable Tempura

Ingredients

Tempura Batter:

  • 120 grams (1 cup) +60 grams (1/2 cup) all purpose flour, separated
  • 63 grams (1/2 cup) cornstarch
  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 470 milliliters (2 cups) ice cold water
  • 900 grams (2 pounds) favorite vegetables (green beans, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, lotus root, eggplant, parsnips, radishes, etc)
  • Neutral oil for frying (peanut, safflower, sunflower)

Classic Tempura Dipping Sauce:

  • 175 milliliters (3/4 cup) dashi
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin

Sarah's Favorite Sauce:

  • 118 milliliters (1/2 cup) low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fish oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Instructions

Tempura Batter:

  1. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the 60 grams of flour with the cornstarch.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the 120 grams flour, eggs, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in the ice cold water until the batter is smooth and thin.
  3. Slice the vegetables into bite sized pieces, and set a medium pot filled halfway with oil over a medium flame to heat.
  4. The oil is ready once it has reached 350F degrees, or a pinch of flour sizzles immediately when submerged.
  5. Dredge the vegetables in the flour/cornstarch mixture, then dip in the tempura batter, and repeat (so you will have dipped the vegetable into each bowl twice).
  6. Gently drop into the oil, and fry for 1-2 minutes, until the batter is very lightly browned. Depending on the size of your pot, you can fry about 6-10 pieces at a time.
  7. Remove using a slotted spoon or spider strainer onto a paper towel lined plate.
  8. Repeat this process until all the vegetables have been fried. Serve with dipping sauces.

Classic Tempura Dipping Sauce and Sarah's Favorite:

  1. Whisk the ingredients together and serve with the tempura.
By on May 12th, 2017

20 thoughts on “Vegetable Tempura”

  1. Oh my! What a treat! I’ve been craving tempura for quite a while now, it’s been on my list for ages, was actually thinking of a mixture of vegetables and prawns. These veggies are cooked to perfection, fantastic job!

    Reply
  2. This is more delicious looking than anything I have had a Japanese restaurant! Tempura veggies are my favorite. Thanks for such a great recipe.

    Reply
  3. Do you know when I was in Japan I love tempura. I never got that taste in tempura once I left Tokyo. Your recipe sound delicious. I am missing the taste from restaurants in Japan.

    Reply
  4. Never had them before. But sounds like Indian deep fried snacks! But you baked them and I would love to bake my vegetable tempura too:)

    Reply

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