November 02, 2020

Vegetable Tempura - Japanese fritters

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 I was craving for some crunchy vegetarian starter on a cold winter night and that is when the waitress at a Thai Restaurant suggested I try the tempura as that is the only thing they could customize to a vegetarian option . She got the chef to make it with the veggies of my choice and I really loved it . My  reaction after taking the first bite was "Hey they taste almost like our veg bajjiya/pakora " - hubby and me had a hearty laugh over the tempura platter. 

That is how I was introduced to the crunchy munchy Japanese spl Tempura at a Thai Restaurant in the USA ... Global Spirit in the true sense . 😃😃

Perfect tempura batter at home , is tempura vegetarian? , can we make tempura at home ? , what are the vegetables to be used in tempura , jain tempura, tempuras, japanese special tempuras

  • Tempura is a classic Japanese dish that dates back to 16th century.  Yes , you read it right... it is a recipe that is almost 500yrs old approximately.  (Source : Wikipedia) 
  • It is also mentioned in Wiki that it was the Portuguese residing in Nagasaki who introduced this recipe to the Japanese. 
  • Tempura is made using meat, vegetables and sea food which have been coated in a batter and deep fried . 
  • There are certain techniques to be followed in preparation of the batter which will give us crispy tempuras.
  • The batter uses all purpose flour,eggs , baking soda and cold water which helps retain the fluffiness , also the most important point is to mix the batter in small batches so that the gluten from the flour doesn't over react and turn into a lumpy mass which will make the tempura soggy and over coated with batter . Eggs can be easily omitted for the vegan/vegetarian variant as I have done in my recipe today. 
  • The batter can be mildly spiced using pepper powder or chilli flakes . 
  • Traditionally sesame oil (til oil/nalla ennai) was used to fry the tempuras but now any cooking oil like canola or vegetable oil which can withstand good heating point are used to fry. 
  • Almost all vegetables like okra, green beans, carrots, yam, potato, bell peppers, sweet potato,onion, broccoli,egg plant ,bamboo shoots can be used in the preparation of tempuras . Mushrooms and tofu are also used in the vegetarian version of tempura. 

Some fun facts

  • What we call as Choora while frying our Bajjiya, pakodas or bonda, the bits of tempura batter dropped in oil is called Tenkasu. Interesting name isn't it ?
  • These tenkasu bits are used as topping over some other recipes for the crunchy bite just as we use the choora to make a spicy chutney to go with the vada pav .

Perfect tempura batter at home , is tempura vegetarian? , can we make tempura at home ? , what are the vegetables to be used in tempura , jain tempura, tempuras, japanese special tempuras

This week Priya suggested we explore the Asian Cuisine for the 271st Foodie Monday bloghop weekly theme challenge. It indeed was a nice theme where she wanted us to explore something beyond the Indian, Chinese & Indo Chinese range of recipes which are most popular in Asian Cuisine . Priya's love for Pan Asian Cuisine is reflected in her recent recipe of Nasi Kuning- an Indonesian special.

Week 271  - #AsianFoodDelights 

Preparation Time - 15 mins
Frying Time - 20 mins
Complexity - Medium 
Serves - 2 to 3


1/4 cup APF / maida 
1/4 cup rice flour 
1 cup chilled water 
Pinch of baking soda 
Salt as needed 
1/2 tsp pepper powder 
1/2  tsp chilli powder / chilli flakes 
Oil to deep fry
Assorted vegetables of your choice .

(**refer the tips below for the vegetables to use in jain version)

Cut the vegetables length wise . Don't make them as thin stripes . They need to be a little thick so that the batter coats them and they retain the crunch after frying.  If using cauliflower or broccoli ,parboil them in hot water and then use . I have used green bell pepper , potato, carrots & French beans.  

To prepare the tempura batter, sift the APF , rice flour ,baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl . 
Take a small batch of this flour mix and add chilled water to make a batter of dropping consistency just thick enough to lightly coat the vegetables when dipped .  Watch the video below to know the consistency.  
It shouldn't be very thick like the Pakoda or bonda batter . )

Dip the chopped vegetables one by one into the tempura batter , lightly coat it and deep fry them in hot oil until they appear crisp and golden brown . Fry them on medium flame once the oil has been heated well else the batter will get cooked first and the vegetable will remain uncooked . We do not want that . So adjust the oil temperature as you keep frying .

 Tips to help 

  •  Donot make a huge batch of tempura batter in the first instance, make small batches as and when needed else the tempuras will turn out soggy and lumpy when dipped in batter .
  • Use only chilled water to prepare the batter .
  • Keep the chopped vegetables also in the fridge until you make the tempuras. This helps it turn out crispier.
  • In one batch of batter I mixed pepper powder for spice while in the next batch I used red chilli flakes .You can see the difference in the fried tempuras.
  • For the jain version  - use bell peppers , cauliflower,brinjal/egg plant , French beans , tofu/paneer,okra /bhindi ,broccoli,cucumber , any squash variety 

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Perfect tempura batter at home , is tempura vegetarian? , can we make tempura at home ? , what are the vegetables to be used in tempura , jain tempura, tempuras, japanese special tempuras


  1. Vegetable Tempura looks so inviting Priya ! Batter coated vegetable fritters make a crunchy snack for all ages. Especially kids cannot resist this treat.

  2. Tempura platter looks so inviting Priya.. liked your tips and tricks to get perfect crispy tempura bites.. perfect snack for the tea time or get togethers.

  3. The Vegetable Tempura looks so crunchy and delicious! They'd be perfect with a cup of chai or soup. :) Very inviting!

  4. I love tempura and can simply have a whole platter full of it with assorted veggies. Once the batter is right, tempura is so easy to make. Enjoyed reading the post with all the interesting facts about tempura.

  5. Vegetable tempura looks super tempting . These are my favourite fritters.Loved reading every bit of your write up about tempura .

  6. Tempura looks very crispy, perfect evening snack just need cup of tea. Surely kids love to have these fritters, nice information about.

  7. Nice and crispy Tempura . I used to eat a lot in Brazil as there were many Japanese restaurants over there


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