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Tasty Tuesday Series – Tempura Edition

Tempura Tales: A Crispy Adventure Through Time and Taste!

Hi there, foodie friends! Buckle up your taste buds because we’re about to embark on a crispy journey through the history and origin of tempura – that delightful dish that’s been making mouths water for centuries!

🎌 The Tempura Time Machine: Origins and Legends

Legend has it that tempura has its roots in 16th-century Japan, thanks to Portuguese missionaries who brought the art of deep-frying to Nagasaki. However, the dish we know and love today took a Japanese twist, as locals started coating seafood and veggies in a light, crispy batter. The word “tempura” itself is said to be derived from the Latin phrase “quatuor tempora,” meaning “Ember Days” or fasting days observed by the Catholic Church. Who knew deep-fried goodness had such divine origins?

🌊 Tempura Takes the World by Storm

Tempura’s popularity skyrocketed, becoming a sensation that spread across Japan. It evolved beyond seafood to include veggies, sweet potatoes, and even ice cream. Talk about a culinary revolution that made its mark worldwide!

Crafting Tempura Magic in Your Kitchen

Now, let’s fast forward to today and get down to the business of making your own crispy tempura. Here’s a straightforward recipe to help you master the art:


  • 1 cup all Purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ice-cold sparkling water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Your choice of veggies, seafood, or whatever tempts your taste buds
  • Oil for frying (vegetable or peanut oil works great)

When it comes to the flour for your tempura batter, all-purpose flour is the fundamental choice. Some opt for low-protein flours like cake flour or a blend with cornstarch for a unique texture. Alternatively, pre-mix tempura flours are available for added convenience.


  1. Whisk it Up! In a bowl, whisk together flour, egg, salt, and ice-cold sparkling water. Aim for a smooth batter with just a few lumps – perfection in simplicity.
  2. Cool and Crisp! Chill the batter in the fridge while you prepare your ingredients. A cool batter equals a crispy coating.
  3. Heat Things Up! Get your oil heated to around 350°F (175°C) in a pot or deep fryer. Hot oil is the secret sauce for that golden crispiness.
  4. Dip and Fry! Coat your chosen ingredients in the chilled batter and gently drop them into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown and irresistibly crunchy.
  5. Drain and Enjoy! Let your tempura goodies drain on a paper towel, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and get ready to savor the crispy goodness you just whipped up!

Ideal oil temperature for frying ranges between 320-350°F (160-180°C), depending on the ingredients. For precise control, use a thermometer, especially if you’re not experienced with deep frying.

You can gauge the oil temperature by dropping a bit of batter:

  • High temperature (350ºF or 180ºC): The batter quickly rises back up.
  • Medium temperature (340ºF or 170ºC): The batter goes to the middle and returns.
  • Low temperature (320ºF or 160ºC): The batter sinks to the bottom and slowly rises.

Cooking times for various ingredients at 350ºF (180ºC):

  • Meat (pork and chicken): 3-4 minutes
  • Shrimp: 2 minutes
  • Squid: 1 minute
  • Fish: 1 minute

Cooking times for vegetables and mushrooms at 320ºF (160ºC):

  • Sweet potatoes: 2-3 minutes
  • Kabocha: 2-3 minutes
  • Shiitake mushrooms: 1 minute
  • Eggplant: 1 minute
  • Shishito peppers: 30-40 seconds
  • Shiso: 15-20 seconds


  • Do make sure your ingredients are dry before dipping them in the batter.
  • Don’t overcrowd the frying pan or fryer. Fry in small batches to ensure even cooking and maintain the oil temperature.
  • Use a wire rack set over a baking sheet to keep your tempura crispy while you finish frying the rest.
  • Pick up crumbs in the oil between batches – You wouldn’t want any burnt crumbs to attach to your new tempura pieces or dilute the oil flavour.

Experiment with different dipping sauces like soy sauce with a splash of rice vinegar or a mix of mayo and Sriracha for a spicy kick.

There you have it – a straightforward guide to creating tempura magic in your kitchen. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or just someone with a serious love for crispy delights, tempura brings a touch of joy to your culinary adventures.

Farewell for now, Wundercooks! Until the next Tasty Tuesday series, keep the kitchen fires burning, and may your culinary adventures be filled with flavour and fun. Goodbye and happy cooking until we meet again!