Vegetable Tempura 野菜の天ぷら

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Vegetable Tempura | Easy Japanese Recipes at

If you wonder which recipes are most popular on Just One Cookbook, I’d tell you.  As of today, my Japanese Cheesecake recipe gets the most visits, then Shrimp Tempura over the past 2 years.  I have received a lot (really quite a bit) of requests for Vegetable Tempura recipe, so let’s talk about it today!

By the way, if you are curious which recipes make up the rest of my Top 5, they are  Green Tea Ice Cream, Chicken Teriyaki and Green Tea & White Chocolate Cookies.  What are your favorite recipes on Just One Cookbook?

Tempura is a really popular dish in Japanese restaurants.  Just in case you never had it before, it’s a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have dipped in batter and deep fried.

Vegetable Tempura | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Before I start talking abut how to make Tempura, please understand that even for the Japanese, making perfect Tempura is not easy.  It requires a lot of skills and practice so don’t be discouraged if your first tempura does not look like ones from restaurants.  But how do you get that crispy texture without the food being too oily?

The key for perfect tempura is batter and the temperature of oil.  I created a few steps below to go over tips for making tempura.

Vegetable Tempura | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Tempura Batter

Most of Tempura chefs recommend that flour to water ratio should be 1:1.  Some recipe requires an egg (or two depending on the amount of flour and water), and some don’t.  It’s up to you.  When the batter is too thin, the ingredients won’t have much of batter around it and there is no fluffy and crisp texture to it.  When the batter is too thick, you feel like you are eating the chewy exterior.

Please remember few tips about batter.  Always mix the batter using chopsticks for only a few seconds to at most 1 minute, leaving lumps in the mixture on purpose.  Overmixing the batter will result in activation of wheat gluten, which causes the flour mixture to become chewy and dough-like when fried.

Cold batter is absolutely necessary for the unique fluffy and crisp tempura.  All the ingredients (water, egg, and flour) must be cold prior to making batter, and batter has to be made RIGHT BEFORE you deep fry and has to be kept cold at all times to avoid activation of wheat gluten.

Vegetable Tempura | Easy Japanese Recipes at

The Oil

The Tempura specialty restaurant uses a special blend of oil that is a combination of many kinds of oil.  Each restaurant has their own secret recipe and blend that they perfected over years.  At home, you can simply enhance the flavor by adding sesame oil into the vegetable oil.

The temperature has to be between 320-356°F (160°C – 180°C) depending on how long it takes to cook through the ingredients.  If it takes a long time to cook, then deep fry at lower temperature because high temperature will cook the batter too fast and inside won’t be cooked thoroughly.  And remember, cold battered ingredients will lower the oil temperature quickly; therefore, if you need to deep fry vegetables at 338°F (170°C), you need to bring the oil to 356-365°F (180-185°C) first.

Vegetable Tempura |

How to Deep Fry

If you ask me what’s the most difficult part of making Tempura, I’d say it’s to keep the right temperature at all times while deep frying.  It cannot be too high or too low.  Most of the time I do not require thermometer,  but if you are not used to deep frying, I highly recommend you to get a thermometer to precisely know at what temperature you are deep frying.  The right sound of tempura being deep fried is like a light sound.  Like cider just being opened.  That kind of light bubbly sound.

In order to maintain the correct temperature, do not over crowd with ingredients when deep frying.  As a guidance remember just half of oil surface should be covered with ingredients.  When you put too many ingredients in at once, the oil temperature will drop too quickly.

What if the oil gets too hot?  The quick solution to this is to add a bit of extra oil or add more cold battered ingredients.  Like I said, it is all about temperature control when deep frying.

Lastly, please pick up crumbs in the oil between batches.  The burnt crumb will attach to your new tempura if you don’t pick them up, and oil will get darker once the crumbs become burnt and it leave a bad flavor in the oil.

Vegetable Tempura | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Hope I didn’t overwhelm you.  It’s simple process yet it requires good skills and practice to make perfect Tempura.  Once you start making good quality tempura at home, yours will taste more delicious and less oily than ones from majority of Japanese restaurants.  Good luck! :)

Vegetable Tempura | Easy Japanese Recipes at

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Vegetable Tempura
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2-4
  • Oil for deep frying (Vegetable oil:Sesame oil=10:1)
Tempura Ingredients
  • 1 small Japanese sweet potato (satsumaimo)
  • ⅛ medium Kabocha squash
  • 2 inch peeled and precooked lotus root (“Renkon no Mizuni”)
  • 2 King oyster mushrooms
  • 4 Shiso leaves
Tempura Batter (rule is egg water:flour=1:1)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) egg water (1 cold large egg (40ml) + 200 ml ice water)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) cold all purpose flour
Tempura Sauce
  1. First, make Tempura Sauce. Combine dashi stock, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat and let it simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Now cut vegetables. Slice Japanese sweet potato into thin pieces and soak in water for 15-30 minutes to remove excess starch. Then dry them using paper towels.
  3. Cut kabocha squash and lotus root into thin slices. Soak lotus root in vinegar water (2 cups water + 1 tsp. vinegar).
  4. Cut King Oyster Mushroom into thin slices.
  5. Discard the head of eggplant first, then cut it in half lengthwise. Then cut the eggplant lengthwise into very thin (about ⅛ inch) slices leaving the top 1-inch part intact. Gently press down on the eggplants to fan the slices out.
  6. In a deep fryer, heat 1½" (3 cm) of the oil to 356F (180C). To make batter, sift the flour into a large bowl.
  7. Add the egg into very cold water.
  8. Whisk vigorously and discard the form on the surface.
  9. As you slowly pour the egg mixture into the flour, mix the batter with chopsticks in a figure 8 motion (mix about at most 1 minute). Do not over mix and please leave some lumps in batter (See Note 1). Keep the batter cold all the time (See Note 2).
  10. Start deep frying from the root vegetables as oil temperature needs to be a bit lower than non-root vegetables. If the ingredient is wet, dry them with paper towel before dredging in the batter (See Note 3).
  11. For root vegetables, deep fry at 320°F (160°C) for 3-4 minutes. For vegetables and mushrooms, at 338-356°F (170-180°C) for 1-2 minutes. Do not over crowd with ingredients. Remember you only put ingredients taking up about ½ of oil surface area (See Note 4). For shiso leaves, sprinkle a bit of sifted flour on the back of leaves and dip only the back of leaf into the batter and deep fry for 15 seconds (See Note 5).
  12. Transfer tempura to a wired rack or paper towel to remove excess oil.
  13. Between batches, Between batches, remove the crumbs which will burn and turn the oil darker if left in fryer.
  14. Grate daikon and squeeze water out. Serve with tempura and when you eat it, place the grated daikon in tempura sauce. Serve tempura immediately.
1: Make batter right before deep frying to avoid activation of wheat gluten.

2: 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.

3: 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.

4: When you put too many ingredients, the oil temperature will drop quickly. Make sure to keep the right temperature all the time.

5: Usually vegetable doesn't require extra dusting with flour (like we need for seafood like Shrimp Tempura or Kakiage), but shiso leaves require dusting which will require as a glue and the batter will stick to the leaves.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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Shrimp Tempura | Easy Japanese Recipes at

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  1. Cristina

    Great tutorial with all the steps and supporting images, Nami! Now, I am craving tempura for dinner (instead of the fish tacos we’re making!). Love this!

  2. Great, instructive post. I haven’t made tempura, but I love it (who can resist fried things?), so I really should. I tend to prefer vegetable tempura, so this recipe is right up my alley. Great tips on controlling the temperature of the oil. Good stuff – thanks.

  3. Vivalabbird

    Mmmm… Looks so delicious! I must say, I made your eggplant parmigiana recipe and your deep fry instructions were spot on. I think I have deep fried less than 5 times in my life before your instructions, and it turned out!!!

    Anyways, just want to reiterate that you give really awesome and easy to follow deep fry instructions that works!

    My favourite recipe of yours is…no surprise, “Mentaiko Pasta”! You know from my ig that
    I am obsessed with that recipe of yours :)

    • Hi Vivi! I’m happy to hear my instructions were helpful. I sometimes worry if my explanations are clear enough. Thank you for your feedback! Glad to hear you felt comfortable deep frying.

      I have mentaiko in my freezer. I should totally make that soon. :) Thank you Vivi!

  4. Hi Nami
    Thank you for this post….as I loves anything tempura. Your tutorial pic has always been very helpful for us to achieve the best result.

  5. I love Tempura & I’ve always thought that Tempura is a cheap thing. I realized I was so wrong when my Japanese friend brought me to a Tempura restaurant at Ropongi Hills. Their price? $200++ per person!!

  6. I can never get enough of dip fried food and tempura has always been one of my fav. I somehow can never land up making it crispy enough! It’s late night Nami and not a right time to crave for fried food :)

  7. Lara

    Looks fantastic. Just one more question: how do you keep the fried tempura hot? The few times I tried to make it, we just ate every fried batch and went back to the kitchen. Not ho good, if you want to make it for guests. Any suggestions? Thanks!!

    • Hi Lara! Ideally, Tempura should be eaten right after deep fried. I’d deep fry the amount you serve first, then do a second batch (for second round) if it’s for guests. Otherwise you just have to drain excess oil from the tempura after fried. Placing tempura vertically helps to drain excess oil. Use wire rack rather than paper towel, so bottom is not going to be soggy. When you serve, re-heat using a toaster oven and that helps in terms of crispiness. Hope this helps!

  8. Well, this recipe came just at the right time:) Last week we’ve been to a local Japanese Restaurant with some friends, and among others we served Vegetable Tempura which I loved a lot. I was about to search for a recipe when I saw your post about this:). Maybe I will have the courage to try it.

  9. Nami, if you really would like to know which one is my favorite posts on your blog,I have a new favorite, it must be today´s Tempura – you have given such very valuable tips and techniques on making perfect Tempura, I am amazed at your skills! My favorite is the shiso leaf, it looks just so pretty – anyone being served your platter with the perfectly prepared Tempura should just be totally impressed – I am by just looking at it!
    Hope all is well with your and your family! Greetings from the very snowy and cold Bonn!

  10. Oh I never thought of using chopsticks to coat the veggies. The prepacked flour always indicated to add 1:1 ratio of water and flour, but I think less water is always required. Otherwise the batter is to liquid. I loved your tips Nami and I am looking forwards to try them out soon.

  11. I love tempura. I don’t cook it myself but I love to order it at restaurants. It’s one of my most favourite finds on a menu. And as for your Top 5, I could never guess the Top 5 as my Top 5 is a constant source of bewilderment to me xx

  12. I love tempura. It is a hard balance to get a crispy, light coating without too much oil. You did it perfectly… of course. :) I know I could get my kids to eat a lot more veggies this way. :)

  13. Nami, I’m grateful for your tempura tutorials (this one and the one for shrimp — the video “how-to” for the shrimp was incredible — thanks for the links.) Can’t wait to try it!

  14. Oh your veggie tempura looks amazing and very delicious. I tried before and loved every bite. Awesome post, and of course pictures. I really love all your recipes, simple yet packed with flavor…I made many of your recipes and they never ever turned out bad because your easy to follow instructions are just what we need. Keep ’em coming! :)

  15. Eri

    OMG I;m just dying for vegetable tempura I can eat a whole basket by my self! I just looove your pictures!
    I love every single recipe on your blog Nami.

  16. Thanks for the great tips, Nami! Those lotus root and sweet potatoes slices look really delicious.

    I tried making it before, but I just can’t come close the real thing in Japan. When the Japan Fly Fishers group had a small event at a member’s farm in the mountains outside of Tokyo, the owner took me around the farm to pick up these wild greens (I can’t remember the name), and then mushrooms he was growing on the back of logs. Then we took them back to the house and fried them up in tempura batter. I was forever hooked on tempura after that. Thanks for bringing back those memories!

  17. I love this lesson on tempura Nami! Those tips are going to come in very, very useful. I had no idea about not activating the wheat gluten. I’m looking forward to trying my hand at this! I hope your week is going well. Have a wonderful day!

  18. Hi Nami! I just love tempura, and the vegetables are my fave on the platter when we eat out. But when I cook it at home, I know what you mean about the batter and temperature of the oil. I love how your vegetables look in the photos, so crisp and crunchy. I’m going to make some soon. Thanks for the recipe. Happy Monday!

  19. donna mikasa

    Your vegetable tempura looks delicious! I usually julienne some carrots, gobo, and string beans but leaving them sliced looks so professional! Thank you for your tips on the batter and oil temperature, too!

    • When I have some leftover root vegetables, I usually cut them into julienne strips and make Kaikiage Don. It’s a really quick meal that everyone loves… and I usually put a lot of satsumaimo just for myself and my son. :) So good!

  20. I have your Japanese Cheesecake in my to do list, I found your recipe delicious.
    I saw in a food program that the chef made the batter for tempura inside a bowl with cold water, and he always remind it has to be cold and fresh.
    The thing with fried food as that we always think on the fat, but as you always mention, you don’t have if the oil is on a well temperature. Since that, I always use a thermometer…ja,ja,ja…

  21. Now I really feel like eating tempura. I will go to bed with tempura on my mind. I hope I have some in my dreams:)
    Interesting to read that Japanese Cheesecake is #1. Food blog readers and desserts…

  22. Linda | The Urban Mrs

    I feel soooo much better after reading you saying making tempura isn’t as easy as people think. Phew… yours look so lovely and very light. Growing up, I’ve always loved tempura. Who doesn’t? They’re crispy, crunchy, and tasty.

  23. So how did you know that making tempura was on my list of foods to make in 2013? :) Perfect timing my friend! Love the tips with the chopstick stirring and cold batter. Would never have thought of those. O.k. – so I’m pinning this so I can have it once the crisp spring vegetables start showing back up in the market. Tempura is about the only way I like to eat broccoli. Whoops – I didn’t say that out-loud did I? :)
    So what are my favorite of your recipes? After this past summer, I have to say the ice creams. :)

  24. Your vegetable tempura looks absolutely stunning. I’ve had veg tempura on a couple of occasions and this one surely makes me drool. Love your step by steps. Sure to give this a try sometime soon!

  25. Nami, I’m impressed by your tempura. I do prepare tempura from time to time (I don’t know why, but I long for it rather when it’s warm outside…) so I know how difficult it is. Some products are easier, some more difficult and as you say it takes practice to obtain satisfactory results. I still have to work hard to obtain such perfect tempura as you!
    I love eringi, I have it quite often grilled, but I would have never thought of “tempuring” it! Excellent idea.
    It’s interesting to see your most popular recipes… It’s impossible to say which of your recipes is my favourite. I make so many of them! The one I prepare most often is korokke though… (The one with meat, mushrooms and carrots). A real comfort food for us. Thank you!

  26. Orchidea

    Oh… Nami… I love tempura! Thanks for this beuatiful article, I have saved it and soon I will test your recipe and procedure.

  27. Wow,
    This looks so perfectly done! I was looking for king prawns at the Asian market to make shrimp tempura but they were out of it. I will try it with these veggies first. I have most of the ingredients except for the dashi stock.
    Cannot wait to try this!

  28. Veggie tempura is my favorite thing ever! My fiance and I rate various restaurants on the quality of their tempura. Thank you for this tutorial, I have no clue how to make myself.

  29. I am saving this. I do a lot of deep fries, and though I am mostly guided by instincts, your explanation makes so much sense to what I have experienced when frying anything. Like too much mixing making the exterior chewy…..lovely!!! Those tempuras look mouthwatering.

  30. わあ、ご苦労様。これポストに時間かかったでしょう?いつもプロ並みのレシピだね。とても参考になります。主婦歴長いけど、私はここまで手を入れませんよ。というかかなりの手抜きでやります。不思議な事に今日はなす、さつまいも、エリンギ、シソを持ってます。では晩御飯はこれかな?

  31. You fried these to perfection, Nami! The batter coating looks so light and wonderful! And the lotus root is so gorgeous!!! I bet this will be a VERY popular post :)

  32. I haven’t had tempura in years but always loved it when I did. You share so many great tips to insure perfection. Now I’d like to try and make some of my own. Thanks for sharing. Sorry I haven’t been by lately!

  33. WOW! Who knew so much went into tempura? I sure didn’t. No wonder it’s so light and airy and addictingly good. Good thing I can’t reach in and grab this because I’d eat the whole plate! I owe you a big email, Nami. Miss ya!

  34. oh how perfectly crispy and yet moist! I would love to eat at your restaurant- you really should open one up! You have the most amazing food that pulls people from all backgrounds to drool over your food!

  35. This looks divine Nami. I love tempura and thanks for the step by step. I’ve definitely had some times where my tempura batter turned out too thick/thin so I’ll be referring to this post often!

  36. Not sure it is a recipe I would attempt myself but it is great to read about it wityh so many tips. I will enjoyit in restaurants still, although I am sure it does not compare to home made. And there has to be shrimp too 😉

  37. What a great resource for preparing tempura at home–I have never stopped to consider all the nuances that would make the difference between good and bad tempura. My favorite has always been the sweet potato. This is an awesome post, Nami. :)

  38. I still want the cheesecake, lol. But I’d have to say this is one of my favorites also. My oldest daughter ordered this all the time. I’ve never tried it at home, it’s doesn’t look that hard though. I might have to try this before the cheesecake, my pants will thanks me. Hope you are having a great week.

  39. You have officially found my weakness. I adore tempura…have had a few Tempura Fest parties with friends where we just make it all night, which while incredibly messy, is very fun. Have you heard about putting a splash of club soda in the batter instead of water? Rumor has it the air bubbles help the batter be really light. Not sure if it’s true though…

  40. You never cease to inspire me with your Japanese dishes, Nami. Last time I made prawn tempura was after our holiday in Thailand 18 months ago so high time I went for it again. LOVE the veggies, especially the pretty lotus. Great tips too. Bravo.
    Oh, favourite dish on the site? Your quick, easy and tasty Ginger Shogayaki Pork – I’ve got my kids making it now, thanks to you!

  41. You didn’t overwhelm me at all, these are great tips. I tried my hand at tempura this summer and it wasn’t nearly like yours but we enjoyed it. I tried to recipes, one with beer and one without. Looking forward to trying your recipe.

  42. Thank you for this awesome tempura tutorial! I’m not surprised that the shrimp tempura post is one of your most popular… I think that other than sushi, when many Americans think of Japanese food, the first thing they think of is “tempura!” (even though I didn’t really see or eat tempura very often when I lived in Japan…).

    I’ve only made tempura once before, but this post just helped convince me that I should try it out again sometime soon… Thank you for all of your detailed advice about the batter and the oil temperature! (I love that you included shiso leaves in there too!)

    • Hi Allison! I actually didn’t think Shrimp Tempura would be that popular considering a lot of people don’t like deep frying. :) I hope you enjoy homemade Tempura again! :)

  43. Thank you for sharing all these great tempura making tips! I’m still afraid to try to make some myself though..

    My favorite vegetable for tempura is the sweet potato! And then the lotus root.

  44. My mother bought me a deep fryer. I’ve only used it a few times. Even with this lovely appliance, it’s hard to get the cooking temperature just right. I’ll have to give it another try with your tips. Maybe I’ll have better success.

  45. Marianna

    I LOVE vegetable tempura!!! I’ve never cooked it before but with your recipe and tips I intend to give it a go. Thank you for providing such clear instructions. I am not surprised your cheesecake recipe is the most popular. You can just tell from the photo it’s heavenly. I’ll be making your cheesecake for my upcoming birthday in a few weeks time along with other savoury recipes. My theme for the party is Japanese food :)

    • Hi Marianna! Thank you for your kind feedback. I hope you enjoy my tempura batter! It’s delicious and the texture should come out well if you are pretty good at deep frying. :) Cheesecake is very popular among bakers. I should be baking more often. :)

  46. joanna

    Hi,nami.I like your recipe so much.and your explanation, is great,I learned many things from you. Thanks!But, I’m living in a small town of Spain, can’t found the asia ingredients over here.I had tried CHEESECAKE,DORAYAKI …from here.well,finally was OK,I think so.At least someone said it was good.jeje.And now I have a problem,hope you can help me,please.My son is 2 and half years old.I’m trying to make some food for him evrytime.Like eegs, meatball with the sauce.noodles… But that’s difficult.He didn’t eat well.Just the rice,thin noodles,eggs.He doesn’t like the vegetables,shrimps,some kind of fish.I hope he can like to try everything.I don’t know what can I do for him? So, could you tell me some advice,please.

    • Hi Joanna! I’m really happy to hear you enjoy my blog and thanks for your time to write here.

      As for your son, it’s hard to advise without knowing more details, but I would suggest to include tiny bit of “challenging” item in his favorite food. Don’t include a lot – start tiny portion, that’s almost not visible…or almost non sense. You can always increase the portion when he’s more “comfortable” with flavor and the look. The point here is to encourage him to eat the one he doesn’t like. He and his tongue will get used to the flavor and texture, and he will also get used to eating things that he doesn’t like. After a while it will be “normal” for him to eat that challenging ingredient.

      I also recommend to keep rotating his menu. Try not to feed the same food, because one day he’ll say he doesn’t want to eat anything else but the food you are giving to him. It’s better now to show him that we eat different things.

      Also, prepare some little treat (not like candy). For us, it was a gummy vitamins. We would give them anyway, but we pretended it was a treat saying that they won’t get any if they don’t eat everything.

      Hope that helps? :)

    • Dolores, egg water is a mixture of egg and water.

      To make 1 cup (240 ml) egg water, you will need to combine 1 cold large egg (40ml) and 200 ml ice water.

      Not sure where you are located, but I hope I responded before 7pm. :)

      • dolores

        I live in California, thank you for responding on time, I have all the stuff ready, and soon I will start cooking, will let you know how my guests liked it/thank you again

    • Hi Imelda! Hmmm leafy green vegetables are quite hard to deep fry as the oil temp is pretty high and the leafy vegetable will be cooked instantly (like shiso leaves are very quick to be deep fried). I recommend non-leafy vegetables such as broccoli, carrot, potatoes, asparagus, etc… :)

  47. Faehau Ginette

    je n’ai jamais fait Tempura, en regardant vos conseils de préparations, c’est vraiment simple et géniale. Et je vous remercie beaucoup

  48. Amys

    Sorry, but has this been translated into English with Google Translate? It’s pretty hard to follow… Love the pictures, and the basic explanation, but certainly not the best tempura recipe I’ve ever read – with some blatant mistakes even.

    • Hi Amys! I do not use google translate to write my post/recipe even though English is my second language. Basic Tempura recipe is very simple and pretty much same (or just slightly different) in every household in Japan. However what makes tempura special is the deep fry skill. It took me quite some time to get to where I am in terms of my tempura making and I feel I still need to improve my skill looking at these photos. There are tempura specialized restaurants/chefs and they make excellent tempura that it’s hard for me to achieve. I use this recipe all the time and I’m sorry to hear it didn’t work for you. There are a lot of Japanese who don’t make tempura at home because it’s not “easy” to make a perfect looking/texture tempura. So hope you won’t give up with your first try! :)

    • Hi Kaori! I updated my recipe with cooking time:

      For root vegetables, deep fry at 320°F (160°C) for 3-4 minutes. For vegetables and mushrooms, at 338-356°F (170-180°C) for 1-2 minutes.

      Hope this helps! :)