Lunch / Dinner


Japanese tempura [tem-POOR-ah] is worth the effort. It’s not batter-laden like some common pub foods. The beauty of tempura is that the lightness of the coating allows you to really taste the food underneath. Pure flavors and exquisite texture are the hallmarks of this dish.

The secret to it isn’t so much in the technique or the equipment. The most noticeable difference is in the batter: tempura batter is very thin. At first glance, you may even think it’s wrong.

Have faith! Once the dipped foods hit the hot oil, the batter instantly fries into a sheer, crisp coating — one bite may have you frying foods more often.


4–6 servings

Total Time

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How to prep veggies for tempura

BELL PEPPERS: Cut off the top, pull out the seeds and core and slice into ¼-inch-thick rings

GREEN BEANS: Trim stem ends, but leave beans whole

ONIONS: Cut into ¼-inch-thick slices; separate into rings

SWEET POTATOES: Peel, then cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds

ASPARAGUS: Cut trimmed spears into thirds, then thread onto toothpicks

BROCCOLI: Trim into florets with about 2 inches of stem attached


Line a baking sheet with paper towels, then place a cooling rack on top.

Prepare vegetables and shrimp (and make shallow cuts on underside of shrimp to prevent curling); arrange on a platter and chill.

Heat oil to 375° in a heavy saucepan over medium-high.

Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and cayenne in a bowl when oil reaches 350°.

Stir in club soda with a fork; batter will be lumpy.

Dip vegetables into batter one at a time, then transfer to oil; fry 12 minutes, periodically flipping them with a spider or slotted spoon. Transfer vegetables to prepared rack; drain.

Pat shrimp dry, lightly dredge in flour, then dip in batter.

Add shrimp to oil one at a time to keep them from sticking together; fry until cooked through, 23 minutes. Transfer shrimp to prepared rack; drain.

Serve tempura hot with one or more dipping sauces.


Prep veg, then peel and devein shrimp, leave the tail intact, and make shallow cuts on the underside to prevent curling.


Blend club soda into dry ingredients with a fork (not a whisk). The bubbles in the soda help create an airy batter.


Dredge shrimp in flour (not necessary for vegetables), then dip into batter — it will drip off freely, but that’s OK.


Carefully place dipped foods in hot oil one at a time, taking care not to crowd the pan. Fry 2–3 minutes, turning once.


Lift vegetables and shrimp out of the oil with a spider and transfer to a rack to drain briefly; serve hot with sauces.

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts

Per shrimp (no sauce)

Calories: 27

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 1g 1%

Saturated Fat 0g 0%

Cholesterol 9mg 3%

Sodium 100mg 4%

Carbs 3g 1%

Protein 1g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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