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Tempura Batter: The basics and how to make it

Shrimp Tempura

There’s really no limit to what you can create with tempura batter, but it’s important to know the basics before cooking with it.

Tempura batter is a very popular fry batter best known for its light and crunchy texture. It’s most commonly used in Japanese cuisine to deep fry seafood, shellfish and vegetables, like carrots or sweet potatoes.

Vegetable Tempura

What is tempura batter made of?

A simple and traditional tempura batter is typically made of ice water, flour, and egg yolks.

Variants of tempura batter are sometimes made with soda water, baking soda, cornstarch, potato starch, or rice flour to enhance the crispy texture.

What makes tempura batter different?

Tempura is different from Panko Japanese breadcrumbs or normal breading batters. Tempura is known for being lighter in texture and is prepared differently.

It is prepared with very cold water and should not be over mixed. Other batters are great for fried food but tempura is famous for its light and crispy texture.

Tempura Zucchini flowers

How do you make tempura batter from scratch?

The first step to making tempura is sifting your dry ingredients in one bowl and mixing ice water with egg yolk in a separate bowl. Be sure to not over mix the batter! Then combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients until the mixture is slightly lumpy.

Once mixed, you’ll have a tempura batter ready for whatever you want to fry. If you’re not planning to use it right away, keep it refrigerated until use.

Gulf Coast Blenders Batter Binder Icons

What substitutes can I use for a tempura batter binder?

For restaurants that are looking for a quick, low-sodium substitute for the egg yolk used in the tempura batter, Gulf Coast Blenders’ offers a Batter Binder that fits the bill.

Batter Binder, appropriately called, is that egg and milk wash alternative. It’s a combination of ingredients when mixed with water aids in adhesion, hence, binds the batter breading to the fried item. What’s more, it enhances crispness to whatever you’re frying – vegetables, seafood, chicken, pork, anything fryable.

As a leader for more than 30 years, Gulf Coast Blender’s premium production process has manufactured some of the finest dry ingredient blends in the nation.

Cooking Tempura Style

How do you cook with tempura batter?

Once your batter is prepared, you should prepare whatever ingredients you intend to fry. The most popular products for tempura are shrimp and root vegetables.

Once prepared, dip your ingredients into your batter and immediately drop into hot oil (between 340F and 360F). Vegetable oil or other common frying oils work perfect for tempura.

Don’t over dip your product into your batter because this can lead to it becoming too soft and mushy. Let fry until golden brown and remove from oil and place on a paper towel, this helps remove excess grease and helps the tempura retain it’s texture.

Pro tip:

Lightly coat your product with cake flour before dipping, this will help your batter adhere better while frying.

How healthy is tempura?

Fried foods aren’t known for their nutritional value. However, because of its light texture, compared to other fry batters, tempura isn’t the worst. While it’s high in fat and low in vitamins and nutrients, it has a high protein content. It should be enjoyed in moderation — like most things in life.

Traditional Japanese tempura fruit dessert

Why is my tempura not crispy?

Some chefs say the secret to crispy tempura is ensuring that the water you use is ice cold and to use chopsticks while mixing the batter. Using chopsticks to mix will prevent too much air from entering the batter and will result in a crispier fry.

Protip:

Tempura deep fried foods pair really well with most dipping sauces, you can create a simple one with soy sauce, sesame oil, grated daikon, and mirin.

Tempura is great for traditional Japanese cuisines, but it’s also great for being creative in the kitchen — like using it for desserts. These are the basics you should know about tempura batter before you start cooking, enjoy.
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