Tempura Recipe
October 25th, 2009 29 Comments

Tempura Recipe

Tempura (Shrimp and Vegetables)
Tempura (Shrimp and Vegetables) pictures (3 of 3)

A few weeks ago, I tweeted about guest bloggers on Rasa Malaysia and Mable Tan—a fellow Malaysian who resides in Australia—responded and came to my rescue. Mable is a fantastic baker and a great cook; her blog “Happy Monkee” is beautiful and delicious. In her past life, Mable was a writer and stylist working with Seventeen, Marie Claire, Female (leading magazine in Malaysia and Singapore) and Going Places (inflight magazine of Malaysia Airlines). Please check out Mable’s guest post below and learn the secrets of making light and crispy tempura, a popular Japanese recipe. Please also pay a visit to her blog. Thank you!

Unlike Japanese breadcrumb (panko), tempura is a lighter, fluffier version. The idea is to keep the batter as cold as possible and also not over-mixing the batter. I’m so used to clump-free mixes that it takes ginormous willpower not to beat it till it’s smooth. Apparently, an over-mixed batter will result in activating the wheat gluten and causing the batter to be more chewy and dough-like when fried (great if you’re making doughnuts).

Now, what you might not know about tempura is that it was actually introduced to the Japanese by Portuguese missionaries and traders. The first shogun of Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu, loved it so much it became widespread and adopted into the culture. If you go to Portugal today, there is a very similar dish called peixinhos da horta or “garden fishies…”

Served either in an obento box (lunch box), with soba or udon, or, with dipping sauce like tentsuyu sauce (three parts dashi, one part mirin and one part shoyu), the key is you should always eat tempura immediately. Good things are meant to be devoured.

RECIPE HERE: Tempura Recipe

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29 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Kate says:

    I love tempura, that tempura shrimp does look crispy and airy. Yummy.

  2. Your tempura looks so crispy and not too oil. Perfect! I usually make mine with chilled beer (no need for baking powder :) I love your suggestion for Thanksgiving. I’ll fry some yams and green beans for the holiday. Thanks for sharing!

  3. hg says:

    A similar albeit simpler recipe for tempura batter that I found goes like this:

    2 egg yolks
    2 cups all-purpose flour (sifted)
    2 cups ice water

    Stir egg yolks and ice water very lightly (do not beat)
    Add flour and stir lightly
    The batter should still have lumps of unmixed flour and be thick and lumpy.

  4. Gary says:

    Ooo! looking amazing recipe.

  5. Can I use a regular fish instead of the shrimp?

  6. tina says:

    Looks very crispy and beautiful pics…

  7. Natashya says:

    Gorgeous! I love tempura.
    Do you have any Malaysian cookbooks to recommend to a Canadian?

  8. Lynn says:

    the tempura looks really crispy. Does your get soggy after 10 minutes later? Because mine got soggy 10 minute later when it’s done. Is there anything or something I can include in the batter to make the tempura crispy for longer time?

  9. Mable says:

    @Jackie: chilled beer – hmm, how interesting. Might explore that instead of baking powder one day

    @hg: that’s incredibly simple!

    @easy recipes: you can use almost any seafood to make tempura so fish is definitely fine.

    @lynn: yes, tempura don’t stay crispy for long so it’s best to make fresh and eat fresh. I put it in the oven under the lowest heat with the door left slightly ajar if I need it to stay crisp longer.

    • Katy says:

      Although I like them both, I much prefer the texture of tempura batter rather than panko. I only recently learned to keep the batter cold, which made a huge difference.

      You used the word “ginormous” – Just had to say I love that word!! My friends make fun of me for saying it so often.

      Thank for a great website, love seeing your recipes and I love your writing style.

  10. Katherine says:

    Tempura is just so simple but delicious. It is one our family favourites.

  11. J2Kfm says:

    nowadays the ready-mix tempura batter can be found so easily in supermarkets.
    though the freshly made ones should be different.
    yeah, eat them fresh from the wok, with the warm mixture of sauce.
    lovely, tempura was what converted mum into a Japanese food lover, as she did not and still does not take raw foods. :)

  12. I like your tempura batter recipe and you are absolutely right that it is important to use ice water. Keep it cold and batter should be lumpy. Sometimes when I am out of baking powder, I simply use soda water to make the batter light and fluffy.

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  14. mali says:

    I have been on this website for the last 3 hrs just looking and reading recipes and comments from people….I enjoy cooking all kinds of food and Malaysian food is something I’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying before…..but now I think I am hooked. I’m having a family get together this weekend and I will be cooking your Sesame Oil Chicken, the Chicken curry with potatoes and the Spring Rolls. They look so simple and delicious and I’m sure everyone will enjoy them. I am from a pacific island and we cook a lot differently. I am so glad I stumble onto your blog by mistake looking for a basil chicken recipe. Any ideas?? Thank you for the recipes. Funnily enough, this is the first time I have ever gone onto any one’s blog. I’m glad I did because I will be back for more…Keep up the good work.

  15. Mel cooks says:

    Tempura is one of my favorite things. I can’t wait to try this at home. Especially the shrimp! Yours looked so delicious!

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  18. Susana says:


    Is corn flour the same as corn starch?


  20. jessie says:

    this is so cool! thank you~

  21. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your fantastic post.
    Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!

  22. Kyle says:

    Greetings! I’ve been following your site for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the great work!

  23. Carol says:

    I left a comment before but it isn’t showing. Your batter looks fantastic but something went wrong with mine or your measurements are off. I followed the recipe exactly and what should have been a batter was a very thick glob of what looked like wet bread dough. I had to keep adding water to it so as could dip my shrimp in it. No way could you dip anything in that recipe.

  24. Carol says:

    Hi Rasa:
    Thank you for the quick response. I wish someone else had commented on the posted recipe but most remarked on how good it looked. It did look good. Just an ultra thick big glob that nothing could dip in.

    I will try your recipe. It looks easy and the picture looks great.

    Thanks again. Great website by the way

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