Tempura is a staple of Japanese cuisine. The light, crispy batter of seafood and vegetables is a real treat. However, tempura is not the same without tempura dipping sauce, or tentsuyu. While you can purchase this at most grocery stores, it’s definitely worth the effort to make it fresh. Best of all, it is very quick and easy to make!
In this article, we will walk you through how to make authentic tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu) step-by-step.
What is Tempura Dipping Sauce?
Tempura dipping sauce, also known as tentsuyu, is a traditional Japanese sauce that is served in a small bowl with tempura dishes. In fact, I have never ordered tempura at a Japanese restaurant and had it not served with tempura dipping sauce. The salty flavor of the sauce is the perfect complement to the savory flavor of the tempura batter.
What Ingredients are Used to Make Tentsuyu (Tempura Dipping Sauce)?
The three main ingredients that make up tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu) are dashi, mirin and soy sauce. Many chefs also add grated daikon radish or a little bit of sugar to their dipping sauce to cut the saltiness.
Made from bonito fish flakes and kelp (kombu), dashi is a popular Japanese soup base that serves as the primary base for tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu). This ingredient provides the umami flavor that you expect from tempura dipping sauce. You can make your own dashi or use a dashi soup packet that is mixed with water.
For a quick and delicious dashi recipe and video check out the following article: How to Make Authentic Japanese Dashi
Mirin is a sweet Japanese cooking wine used in a wide range of dishes from sauces and glazes to savory meals. In tempura dipping sauce, mirin adds a slightly sweet element to your sauce.
A staple for many Japanese sauces and dishes, soy sauce needs no introduction. Soy sauce provides the salty flavor that tempura dipping sauce is known for.
Grated Daikon Radish (Optional)
Daikon radish is a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine and the main component in oshinko. It provides a refreshing and slightly pepper flavor and a slightly crunchy texture when added to your tempura dipping sauce. If you do add, make sure you squeeze the water out prior to grating. I also grate the daikon directly into the bowl of sauce immediately prior to serving to ensure it is fresh.
How to Make Tempura Dipping Sauce (Tentsuyu)
Tempura dipping sauce is very quick and easy to make by following the four simple steps below:
1. Assemble ingredients: Measure out 2 cups of dashi, 1/2 cup of mirin, and 1/2 cup of soy sauce.
2. Combine ingredients into a pot, turn on medium heat and bring to a boil.
3. Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes to cook alcohol out of mirin.
4. Let cool and serve at room temperature.
Tempura Dipping Sauce (Tentsuyu) Recipe
Authentic Tempura Sauce (Tentsuyu) Recipe
- 1 Pot
- 1 Measuring cup
- 2 cups Dashi
- 1/2 cup Mirin
- 1/2 cup Soy sauce
- Assemble ingredients
- Combine ingredients into a pot, turn on medium heat and bring to a boil
- Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes to cook alcohol out of mirin
- Let cool and serve at room temperature
Is tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu) gluten-free?
If tempura dipping sauce comes from a Japanese restaurant or store, it most likely contains gluten as soy sauce is one of its primary ingredients. However, when you make it yourself you can make it gluten free by using gluten-free soy sauce.
How long does homemade tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu) last in the fridge?
If properly stored in an air-tight container, you can expect your homemade tempura dipping sauce to last in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks.
Final Thoughts on Tempura Dipping Sauce (Tentsuyu)
To quote my father-in-law, tempura without tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu) would be like “a day without night.” Tempura dipping sauce enhances the flavors of the tempura so much that it is an essential part of the dish. Luckily, it is very quick and easy to make. We hope that you have found this article helpful as you embark on your tempura dishes. Happy cooking!
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