Skip to Content

Authentic Vegetable Tempura Recipe

Authentic Vegetable Tempura Recipe with Step-by-Step Instructions
Vegetable tempura assortment on a white plate with tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu)

Tempura will always be a nostalgic meal for me as it was my first introduction into the world of Japanese cuisine. As a kid, I would always gravitate towards the vegetable and shrimp tempura dishes whenever I dined at Japanese restaurants. As an adult, I still enjoy the savory flavor and smells of vegetable tempura.

While there are a few steps to it, preparing vegetable tempura is fairly simple and well worth the effort. In this article and video we will take you through how to make authentic vegetable tempura step-by-step.

Close up vegetable tempura vertical picture on a square plate with a bowl of tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu).

What is Vegetable Tempura?

Vegetable tempura arranged on a white plate with a bowl of tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu).

Vegetable tempura is a dish consisting of an assortment of vegetables that are deep fried in a light flour batter known as tempura batter. It can be served by itself with a side of rice and tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu) or it can also be served with shrimp tempura or chicken tempura as well. If you order shrimp or chicken tempura from a restaurant, it will likely be served with vegetable tempura as well.

Tempura was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the late 1600’s and has been popular ever since. Today, you can find tempura served in tempura shops across Japan and in Japanese restaurants around the world.

My favorite vegetables served tempura style include asparagus, sweet potatoes, eggplant, and mushrooms (oyster or shittake). Some other common vegetables used in tempura are kabocha squash, lotus roots, bell peppers, and carrots. However, you can prepare just about any vegetable tempura style.

How to You Make Vegetable Tempura?

Like shrimp or chicken tempura, preparing vegetable tempura can be broken down into three steps: Preparing the ingredients (heating the oil and cutting vegetables), making the tempura batter, and coating the vegetables with the batter and cooking in the hot oil.

The main thing you have to keep in mind with vegetable tempura is each type of vegetable may have a different cooking time. As such, I like to cook each type of vegetable separately.

Below we walk you through the process step-by-step:

Heat the oil

1. Heat enough vegetable oil in a sauce pan to completely submerge the vegetables on medium heat to 350 degrees.

Add oil to pot to cook vegetable tempura and cook in medium heat.

Assemble the Ingredients and Cut the Vegetables

1. Cut the ends off of the asparagus stalks and discard.  Cut the remaining stalks in half.

Cut asparagus for vegetable tempura.

2. Peel the sweet potato and cut into thin slices.

Slice sweet potatoes into thin slices for vegetable tempura.

3. Peel the eggplant and cut into thin slices.

Slice eggplant into thin slices for vegetable tempura.

4. Add one cup of flour onto a plate and dip the vegetables into the flour ensuring there is a thin coat of flour on all the vegetables. This thin coat of flour will help the batter stick to the vegetables.

Coat vegetables in flour to help the tempura batter stick to them for vegetable tempura.

Make Tempura Batter

1. To make the tempura batter, I first start by chilling the water. You may need to add ice if you don’t have access to very cold water. However, make sure to remove ice cubes before combining with egg. I usually strain the ice cubes out of the water as I add to the egg mixture.

2. Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat until the yolk and white are combined.

Mix the egg in a mixing bowl to make tempura batter.

3. Add cold water to the egg and mix well.

Add ice water to egg to make tempura batter.

4. Sift flour into the egg and water combination.

Sift flour into egg mixture to make tempura batter.

5. Using a spoon or chopstick, lightly mix the batter making sure not to over stir. The batter should be mixed but a little lumpy.

Mix the tempura batter with a chopstick making sure not to over mix.

Coat the Vegetables into Batter and Cook in Oil

1. Each of the vegetables have different cooking times so make sure you cook each type separately.

2. Add the mushrooms to the batter and toss until coated. Then add to the hot oil and cook for one minute.

Add mushroom tempura to the heated vegetable oil.

3. After a minute, remove from oil and add to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the oil.

Remove the mushroom tempura from cooking oil

4. Add the eggplant slices to the batter and toss until coated. Then add to the hot oil and cook for one and a half minutes.

Eggplant tempura cooking in oil

5. After a minute and a half, remove from oil and add to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the oil.

Removing eggplant tempura from oil.

6. Add the asparagus to the batter and toss until coated. Then add to the hot oil and cook for two minutes.

Add asparagus to oil when making vegetable tempura.

7. After a two minutes, remove from oil and add to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the oil.

Remove asparagus tempura from oil.

8. Add the sweet potato slices to the batter and toss until coated. Then add to the hot oil and cook for three minutes. Flip half way through.

Cooking sweet potato tempura in oil.

9. After three minutes, remove from oil and add to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the oil.

Remove sweet potato tempura from the cooking oil after it is done cooking.

10. Serve with tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu) and enjoy!

Vegetable Tempura Recipe

Vegetable tempura assortment on a white plate with tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu)

Vegetable Tempura Recipe

Authentic Vegetable Tempura Recipe with Step-by-Step Instructions
Print Pin
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Tempura, Vegetable Tempura
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 People
Calories: 342kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Mixing bowl
  • 1 Sifter
  • 1 Measuring cup
  • 1 Chopstick for mixing
  • 1 Whisk for mixing

Ingredients

  • 1 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 Egg Large
  • 1 cup Water Ice cold
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Sweet potato
  • 1 Bundle Asparagus
  • 3/4 lb. Oyster mushrooms
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

Heat the oil

  • Heat enough vegetable oil in a sauce pan to completely submerge the vegetables on medium heat to 350 degrees.

Assemble the Ingredients and Cut the Vegetables

  • Cut the ends off of the asparagus stalks and discard.  Cut the remaining stalks in half.
  • Peel the sweet potato and cut into thin slices.
  • Peel the eggplant and cut into thin slices.
  • Add one cup of flour onto a plate and dip the vegetables into the flour ensuring there is a thin coat of flour on all the vegetables. This thin coat of flour will help the batter stick to the vegetables.

Make Tempura Batter

  • Assemble the ingredients and chill the water. You may need to add ice if you don't have access to very cold water. However, make sure to remove ice cubes before combining with egg. I usually strain the ice cubes out of the water as I add to the egg.
  • Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat until the yolk and white are combined.
  • Add cold water to the egg and mix well.
  • Sift flour into the egg and water combination.
  • Using a spoon or chopstick, lightly mix making sure not to over stir. The batter should be mixed but a little lumpy.

Coat the Vegetables into Batter and Cook in Oil

  • Each of the vegetables have different cooking times so make sure you cook each type separately.
  • Add the mushrooms to the batter and toss until coated. Then add to the hot oil and cook for 1 minute.
  • After a minute, remove from oil and add to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the oil.
  • Add the eggplant slices to the batter and toss until coated. Then add to the hot oil and cook for one and a half minutes.
  • After a minute, remove from oil and add to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the oil.
  • Add the asparagus to the batter and toss until coated. Then add to the hot oil and cook for two minutes.
  • After a minute, remove from oil and add to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the oil.
  • Add the sweet potato slices to the batter and toss until coated. Then add to the hot oil and cook for three minutes. Flip half way through.
  • After a minute, remove from oil and add to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the oil.
  • Serve with tempura dipping sauce (tentsuyu).

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 360mg | Potassium: 340mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg

Frequently Asked Questions

Is vegetable tempura healthy?

Unfortunately, although made with healthy vegetables, the tempura batter itself and the act of deep frying the vegetable tempura makes it not a very healthy meal.

Is vegetable tempura gluten-free?

If you order vegetable tempura or any other tempura at a restaurant, it will not likely be gluten-free as the tempura batter contains flour and the vegetables are dredged in flour prior to cooking. However, vegetable tempura is easily made gluten-free by substituting the flour with a gluten-free substitute.

Final Thoughts on Vegetable Tempura

Vegetable tempura is an authentically Japanese dish that is popular around the world. We hope that you have found this recipe helpful in bringing tempura to your own kitchen. Happy cooking!

For more great videos subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Check out below for more great articles:

Chirashi Bowl (Chirashizushi) Recipe

Authentic Miso Ramen: Step-by-Step Instructions

Ebi Sushi: What it is and How to Make it