November 22, 2021

Vegetable Tempura

Vegetable Tempura

If you're looking for a crispy, homemade, vegetable based appetizer, we got you!

These homemade vegetable tempura are so crispy yet airy and taste delicious on their own or best paired with an Asian dipping sauce. It's one of our favorite asian-inspired appetizers and there always a crowd pleaser!

What is Tempura Frying?

Tempura frying, is a Japanese technique where an item is coated with a delicate and light batter and fried until it is crisp. This technique, which is an adaptation of a deep-frying technique introduced by the Portuguese in the 1600s, is now used throughout the world, used on all types of foods, varying from vegetables, to fish, to minced balls of meat (as was the original filling).

Ingredients for Vegetable Tempura

To get the most delicious and perfectly crispy vegetable tempura, here's what you'll need:

  • Cake Flour: We use cake flour because it has a lower protein content than all purpose flour, yielding a softer, more delicate batter and crust. If you only have all purpose flour, you can still use it but we prefer cake flour.
  • Baking Powder: While this is not a traditional ingredient, we like to add baking powder to the powder because it helps in making a very crisp crust. When the baking powder cooks in the oil, it creates tiny bubbles on the surface which break up the gluten and help to lighten the crust.
  • Egg: The egg is added as a source of protein to help bind the batter as well as provide a source of sugars to caramelize and color the crust.
  • Soda Water: We use soda water or some sort of carbonated water for the same reason we add baking powder. As the soda water cooks, the air bubbles are released and travel to the surface of the crust, expanding the crust to yield a thin, crisp, crust.

Preparing Your Vegetables For Frying

The great thing about tempura frying is that it is a general cooking technique that can be adapted for various ingredients.

The key is to portion whatever you are going to tempura fry so that they become crispy on the outside but still get cooked on the inside. That may seem rather complicated, but it usually tends to be relatively easy.

  • For vegetables such as green tomatoes or onions, we usually do round slices.
  • For other vegetables such as squash, zucchini, carrots, and peppers, you want to cut them into strips about as large as your pointer finger.
  • For things like smaller mushrooms, asparagus, and green beans, you can simply fry them whole.

If you are ever in doubt, simply wait to cut a piece of the vegetables until after the oil is hot and the batter is made and try a piece at your size in question.

If, after 2-3 minutes of frying, the vegetable is a light golden-brown and crispy, wait for it to cool and give it a try. The vegetable underneath the coasting should be tender and moist. If it is tough and rubbery, cook for a little longer. If the vegetable is mushy, cook for less time, raising the temperature of the oil if need be.

Tips on making the best vegetable tempura

  1. Do not overmix the batter: Once the liquid is added to the flour, you start to develop the gluten. By mixing the batter, you stretch and agitate those gluten molecules which make the batter dense and gummy. The key to making a light, crisp, and airy batter is mixing the batter only as much as is needed to bring the batter together. That is why a fork is preferred to a whisk because it is more gentle when mixing. Traditionally, chopsticks, or a finger or two were used to combine the batter.
  2. Keep the batter cold: When the batter gets warm, it becomes tough and gummy when fried.
  3. Do not overload the oil/fryer: When frying your vegetables, be careful not to overload the oil by adding too many vegetables at once. If you do, not only will the vegetables all stick together in one large clump, but the temperature of your oil will drastically drop and then the batter will not crisp up quickly. Instead, the vegetable will soak up the oil in the fryer and you will be left with a soft and soggy fried vegetable.

Cheers and eat well!

Vegetable Tempura

This tempura fried vegetables recipe will have you enjoying fried vegetables with such a delicate, crisp, and non-greasy feel that you would almost believe it wasn’t fried! Not only does it have exquisite texture, but it is also so easy to make.















  • 1 whole egg
  • 7 ounces soda water (cold)
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups of vegetables of your choice
  • Asian dipping sauce
  • Salt for seasoning
  • Instructions

    1. Fill a heavy-bottomed pot with oil so that it is at least 4 inches deep.
    2. Heat the oil on medium-high heat until you reach 325 F.
    3. While the oil is coming up to temperature, prepare your tempura batter.
    4. Crack your egg and whisk to break up the yolk.
    5. Stream in your soda water and whisk to combine with the egg.
    6. Add the baking powder to the cake flour and sift it into the egg/soda water mixture. Whisk gently, using a fork, until the batter comes together. (The batter should have a consistency similar to a slightly-thin pancake batter.) (Do not overmix)
    7. Put the batter in the fridge while you wait for the oil to heat and while you prepare your vegetables for frying by cutting them in desired lengths.
    8. Adjust the heat level accordingly in order to maintain an oil temperature as close to 325 F as possible.

    Frying the Vegetables

    1. Once the oil has maintained a temperature of 325 F, you will want to set up an assembly line to efficiently fry, without making a mess.
    2. Start with your vegetables on the left of the fryer, with the batter between the vegetables and the stove.
    3. On the right side of the stove, place a bowl, with tongs/slotted spoon, salt, and a plate or pan lined with paper towels.
    4. Before frying, season all your vegetables with a liberal sprinkle of salt.
    5. Using tongs, one at a time, take each piece of vegetable and submerge it in the batter so that it is completely coated and then gently transfer it into the oil. (Make sure to gently dip each vegetable into the oil so it does not sink to the bottom and stick.
    6. Make sure to only do 5-6 pieces of vegetables at a time and do not over load the fryer.
    7. Let each vegetable fry for 2 ½-3 minutes or until they are a light golden-brown and floating. You may need to flip each vegetable to ensure even browning.
    8. After 2 ½-3 minutes, gently remove each vegetable from the fryer, and place into the bowl.
    9. Season with a sprinkle of salt and transfer to the plate lined with paper towels to dry off the excess oil.
    10. Allow the fryer to come back to a temperature of 325 F and repeat until all the vegetables are fried.
    11. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.


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