Your best tempura batter?

angelaidJanuary 17, 2008

I want to try shrimp tempura at home. What kind of shrimp do I buy? I think we'll only find frozen up here. And I need a recipe for the batter and some instructions.

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Shrimp tempura is okay but vegetable tempura is a whole lot more fun to make! Just about any root vegetable is excellent for tempura: carrot, parsnip, radish, beet, potato, pearl onion, green onion, sweet potato, turnip, cauliflower, broccoli and on and on and on.

Here's the tempura batter that I usually use and I do substitute the beer:

Tempura Batter #1

1 egg, beaten
1 cup icy cold water
flour to make a batter thick enough to coat the back of a spoon....usually about 3/4 cup.

mix well and use while still very cold.

You can add parsley, or other seasonings to spice it up.

Batter Variation:

cold beer instead of water

cornstarch and flour for the batter.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 3:43PM
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[if I'm lucky, the photos will appear, too...]


1 cup flour*
cup cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Oil for deep-frying (I like 3 parts Wesson "Best blend" oil, 1 part peanut oil, and a good splash of sesame oil)

Mix flour, cornstarch, salt, sugar, and baking powder.

Add soda water gradually, stirring with a fork, first to create a paste and then until mixture is like a thick pancake batter.

Heat oil for frying to 375° F - 400° F.

Dip prepared veggies and meats in batter, coating completely. Shake off excess.

Fry vegetables and meats, a few pieces at a time, until light brown and crispy.

Do not crowd pan, or oil temperature will drop. No more than will cover ¾ of the surface of the oil.

Drain on paper towels.

* NOTE: I like 2 parts all-purpose flour to 1 part rice flour.

You can use just about anything for tempura: eggplant, broccoli, zucchini, sweet potato, shrimp and white fish are most popular. See list.

If you canÂt find "tempura flour" for your batter, use the recipe given. Almost all Asian food stores carry it. Though you can use regular white flour, "tempura flour" makes much crispier tempura.

Mix per package or recipe instructions. Be sure to use very cold water. In fact, some people claim that it is best to use ice water. This is to prevent the batter from forming gluten and making tempura heavy and soggy. Mix until lumps are gone, but be careful not to over-stir.

Heat oil to about 350° degrees. To check the temperature, put a drop of batter in your heated oil -- if it sinks halfway and then floats to the surface, the oil is the right temperature*.

Dip ingredients in batter.

Deep fryÂ

..until they are lightly golden in color.

Place the cooked tempura on paper toweling to drain briefly, then eat it while it's hot.


Test for correct oil temperature (if you don't have a cooking thermometer):

Drop in 1/4 tsp of batter.

If it sinks to the bottom, oil is not hot enough.

If it rises to the surface quickly and turns golden brown in about a minute, oil is just right.

If it burns immediately, oil is too hot.

This test can also be done with a cube of bread.



To use Japanese breadcrumbs (panko), dip items in batter, smoosh around in crumbs, then fry.


Sub any good light-colored (not "lite") beer for the soda water.

Add 1 Tbs Susie-Q seasoning instead of salt and sugar.

Cholula brand hot sauce is optional.


Add 1 Tbs Creole seasoning instead of salt and sugar.

Suggested Vegetables and Meats for Tempura:

Any of these work for any of the styles but IÂve grouped them here in what I think seems MOST appropriate.

For basic and panko --

Japanese eggplant (thinly-sliced)
Zucchini (thinly-sliced)
Mushrooms (small "button" mushrooms or sliced, if large)
Oyster mushrooms, Shitake mushrooms (stems removed)
Carrots (sliced very thin, diagonally)
Shrimp (butterflied)

For SM-style beer batter --

Chicken (thin strips, rolled in chopped cilantro before the batter)
Broccoli (small florets)
Mexican/spring onions (with softest green cut off)
Green beans (small)
Asparagus spears
Olives (green Spanish; pitted; WELL drained)

For Cajun-style --

Sweet potatoes (thinly-sliced)
Bell pepper (red)
Shrimp (butterflied)
Onion rings (floured before dipping)


Traditional Tempura Sauce

½ cup chicken stock
(or dashi soup stock)
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs mirin (sweet rice wine) or dry sherry
2 Tbs peeled and grated fresh ginger root

Combine all ingredients and just heat in a small saucepan to blend.

Delicate Tempura Sauce

3 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs orange juice
2 Tbs dry sherry or mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 Tbs finely chopped green onion
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp sesame seed

Mix all ingredients.

JoeÂs Apricot-Pineapple Tempura Sauce

1 cup apricot-pineapple preserves
4 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs shallot, minced
1 Tbs light brown sugar
1 tsp garlic, minced
½ tsp minced fresh ginger
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
In a saucepan, combine preserves, vinegar, shallots, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil.

Stir, reduce the heat and simmer until thickened and the flavors are married, 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

You can substitue plum preserves if you cannot find apricot-pineapple preserves.

Spicy Dipping Sauce

¼ cup hot Chinese mustard
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk all ingredients together.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 4:11PM
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Wow! Thanks you guys!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 4:50PM
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So kids, how do I post in-text photos?


    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 5:11PM
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They have to be stored on the internet somewhere. I use Photobucket. Then just copy and paste the HTML code here.

Don't have any food pics, but here's my big boy:

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 10:57AM
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tempura --especially veggie -- yommmmm! (fulfilled my food talk) that a pug? are they nice near kids, especially little ones? i am thinking of getting one for my g-babe since my dil mentioned pug. likes, dislikes? isn't it's butt cold? lol

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 1:12PM
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Cute puppy!

What a timely thread and thanks for the recipes Joe and Michelle. Iwant to try this soon.

We went to a new restaurant the other night and I had their shrimp tempura for a starter. It was so delicious. The shrimp was wrapped in proscuitto and then dipped in the batter. It was so good.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 1:40PM
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