Tempura is a light and crispy batter used most often in Japanese food. It’s the kind of batter that needs to be made just the right way to get it to have that light and crispy texture that it should have.
Japanese cooks will often train for years at making tempura so that get it exactly right and so that it adheres to traditional methods of making tempura. How to make tempura batter mix like the pros?
You may not be a Japanese chef with years of training, but thankfully, there are some easy ways to make this batter that replicate the authentic taste and texture very well.
Tempura began its life as a street food, which probably doesn’t surprise many people, since street food is often known to be greasy and unhealthy. Tempura is definitely both of those, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious.
This is the kind of batter that can be used for chicken (read our post on making your own chicken gravy), shrimp, and sushi, and it’s often imitated by major restaurant chains for seafood in particular. You can make your own at home, and I will show you how to make a tempura batter that is versatile and not that difficult to pull off.
You will love the light, flaky crust that gives your food a crunchy and airy quality.
How to Make Tempura Batter
Making tempura in the frying pan is easy enough. The difficult and crucial part of the whole process, though, is making up the batter. If your batter is off at all, it won’t work, and you need to pay careful attention to how you mix the batter and what ingredients you use. That’s where most people go wrong with the tempura batter.
You don’t need any pre-made ingredients for this, like a batter mix or anything. How to make tempura batter from scratch? Here is my recipe:
- 1 cold egg
- 500 millilitres of iced water
- 1 cup of flour
1. Ensure that all ingredients are cold. No matter how you normally store them, they need to be kept cold before making them into a tempura batter. That is essential; otherwise you will not get the right batter mixture for this.
It won’t turn out quite right, and you keep the water at an ice cold temperature. What this does is ensure that all of the batter will be sticky and will cling to your other ingredients, like fish, chicken, or whatever.
You may even want to chill the bowl you will be mixing the batter in by placing it into the fridge ahead of time. A metal bowl will transfer the desired temperature well and will work perfectly for making this batter.
2. Mix your batter thoroughly but not too much. Mixing overmuch will result in excess gluten, which damages the texture and consistency of the batter. How to make homemade tempura batter that is the right texture and not over mixed? Just mix it for about 15-20 seconds. That’s all it needs.
The batter is quick and simple to make, and it is okay if it still has some lumps in it. You should be making a batter that has the consistency of heavy cream to it.
Tempura Batter- How to Make It Even Easier
The flour you use helps to determine how your batter turns out. make sure you are using viable flour that has not expired, and ensure it is high quality as well.
You could use tempura flour (which already has some extra ingredients in it) to make the batter come out even better.
This flour makes the batter easier to make, as it contains no gluten, so there is less chance that you will mess up the mixture when you are combining everything. It also doesn’t require any egg added to it, saving you a step.
If you want to know how to make tempura batter for chicken the quickest and easiest way with less chance of anything going wrong, then use tempura flour.
I think if you are struggling to make tempura batter from scratch, this kind of pre made mixture will help. You may also want to use a low protein flour, especially if you are concerned about high protein levels from whatever kind of meat you are going to use the batter on.
Cooking with Tempura Batter
So, now that we talked about how to make tempura batter for shrimp or chicken using pre made or fresh ingredients, let’s talk about how to actually cook the batter with your chicken or shrimp or whatever else.
One important thing you need to do is mix up the batter right before you are going to cook with it. Don’t make it too far ahead of time, as that can cause more gluten to form.
Now, if you have gluten free flour, like most tempura flour is, then that can be made further ahead of time. Otherwise, just mix up the batter right before you plan to cook with it.
In fact, have your meat already prepared for battering and your fry oil heating up as you mix the batter. That way, it will be ready for you as soon as you are done mixing the batter.
How to make tempura batter for fish and cook it up together? Make sure the oil is hot, and you can use sesame oil, vegetable oil, or whatever you choose to fry the battered fish in.
Dip the raw fish into the batter let any excess batter drip off. Then, place that into hot oil and allow to cook until the batter becomes light, crispy, and golden brown.
If tempura is made properly, it should always look golden brown when cooked and have a light colour to it.
You can use all these same techniques for how to make tempura batter for sushi and other dishes you want to use the batter on. Just cook the food on a medium heat so that your batter doesn’t brown too darkly and so that the food gets cooked all the way through.
You could even use precooked meat and dip it in batter and just fry it enough to make the batter golden brown.
Now that you know how to make the best tempura batter, you can make it with confidence. Once you get good at mixing the ingredients just enough and ensuring that your batter ingredients are mixed cold and that you only fry it lightly, you will have perfect batter each time and get to enjoy this lovely way to cook meats.