Thursday, 18 July 2013

Not your mother's Tempura Batter

I am a sucker for deep fried anything. Especially if it happens to have a crispy batter on it. However it's not really a wise idea to be buying deep fried take out all the time, especially since sometimes takeout loses it's fresh crunch and gets soggy. Soggy batter is no one's favorite.

So I am going to have my basic tempura batter recipe here, and a few variations to spice up different meals. The basic batter is great for making vegetable tempura, or fish or chicken balls that are going to be served with a sweet and sour or cherry sauce. The lemon pepper tempura goes lovely with cod or any other white fish fillet, and the beer batter tempura is excellent for making onion rings, chicken, or fish. So here we go!

Tempura Batter


Excellent for making home made Chinese chicken balls, or tempura shrimp/veggies


1 Cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
2 Tablespoons corn starch**
1 Cup ice cold water, or soda water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg

**If you don't have corn starch simply add in an extra 2 tablespoons of flour

Lemon Pepper Tempura

Great on fish fillets like cod or haddock


1 Cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons corn starch
3/4 Cup ice water
1/4 Cup lemon juice
2 Teaspoons pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg

Beer Batter Tempura

Also great for fish or chicken


1 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon flour
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1 Cup ice cold beer, ideally not a "light" beer (you go ahead and drink the rest of it)
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 egg


So no matter which type of batter you plan on making there are only a few simple rules when making a tempura. First preheat the oil for frying and prepare whatever you are battering before starting to make the tempura. Tempura works best when it is made immediately before being used.

Next measure out the liquid portion, including the egg, of the recipe into a medium bowl, in a separate small bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Sprinkle the dry over the bowl of liquid and whisk to mix. The batter should be similar to a pancake batter, a little runny, maybe a few lumps. If the batter is too thick, thin it out with water, if it is too thin whisk in another teaspoon or so of flour until it is the right consistency.  Keep the mixed tempura bowl set in an icebath to keep it really cold. A cold batter is a crispy batter once it hits the oil.

Finally dredge what ever you are going to cook in a thin layer of flour, drop the flour coated item into the tempura batter and turn to coat.  Carefully lower the battered item into the fryer, being extra careful not to splash the oil and burn yourself. Follow your fryer's instructions for cooking your fish, chicken or veg.


Ps Club soda or ice water work best, club soda tends to make the batter a little more crunchy.

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