Made with dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar, Tentsuyu is the traditional Japanese dipping sauce for all kinds of tempura. This homemade recipe is a must to elevate your favorite shrimp tempura or vegetable tempura. Ready in 5 minutes!
When you order Tempura at a restaurant, you’d be given a small dish of dipping sauce on the side to enjoy with. Casually known as Tempura Dipping Sauce, we also call the sauce Tentsuyu (天つゆ).
The sauce is light and refreshing and it can magically uplift the deliciousness of tempura in an instant. With just a handful of pantry ingredients, you can make it in less than 5 minutes!
4 Ingredients You’ll Need for Tempura Dipping Sauce
While making tempura at home may be more fitting for a weekend cooking, the dipping sauce is unbelievably easy to whip up. Simply measure out the ingredients, whisk them together and you’re good to go.
Here are what you need:
This is the foundation of Japanese flavor. Delicate yet complex, dashi (Japanese soup stock) is an absolute must for the dipping sauce.
You can choose to make dashi from scratch (I almost always keep a mason jar of previously cooked dashi in my refrigerator for all my Japanese recipes) or use the convenient dashi powder or dashi packet to make dashi instantly.
2. Soy sauce
The salty, savory, and umami-rich soy sauce does much of the heavy lifting of the overall flavor. Use gluten-free soy sauce for Gluten-Free Tempura.
This Japanese sweet rice wine adds a mild sweetness and luster to the sauce.
Just a touch of sugar balances out the saltiness, and round up the dipping sauce with the best result! Adjust the amount according to your taste.
With a little balancing act, you’ll get a dipping sauce that complements and elevates your crispy juicy tempura!
The Short-Cut Version
As a back-up when I run out of dashi or want to save time, I use store-bought Mentsuyu to prepare Tempura Dipping Sauce.
Made with sake, mirin, soy sauce, kombu, and dried bonito flakes, Mentsuyu is the base sauce used in many Japanese noodle dishes and dipping sauces.
Mentsuyu is typically concentrated and you’ll need to add water to dilute it.
For Tempura Dipping Sauce (See the Japanese word 天つゆ), you will need to combine 1 part of Mentsuyu and 3 or 4 parts water. Taste it and adjust the flavor according to your taste. I often add a splash of mirin when I use Mentsuyu.
Looking for Delicious Tempura Recipes?
- Shrimp Tempura – One of the classic tempura recipes!
- Vegetable Tempura – Learn how to prepare different kinds of vegetable tempura!
- Gluten-Free Tempura – Whether you are gluten intolerant or not, everyone will enjoy this crispy tempura!
- Chicken Tempura – It’s a regional dish from Oita prefecture.
- Tenmusu (Rice Balls with Shrimp Tempura) – It’s one of the popular Nagoya specialities!
Enjoy your freshly fried tempura platter with the dipping sauce and grated daikon on the side for a scrumptious tempura experience at home!
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Tempura Dipping Sauce (Tentsuyu)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Combine ¾ cup dashi, 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp mirin, and 2 tsp sugar in a small saucepan.
- Bring it to a simmer and let the sugar dissolved completely. Turn off the heat and let cool before pouring into a mason jar.
- Serve the warm tempura dipping sauce with your favorite tempura. Grate daikon radish (I use this grater) and squeeze water out gently and serve with the sauce.
- You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks.