Mari’s Homemade Cooking Recipes

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TEMPURA is fried vegetables and fish battered with flour and eggs. The typical ingredients of tempura are the white fish called kisu, shrimp, sweet potato, renkon (Japanese lotus root) and other vegetables. There are two main streams of tempura depending on the area in Japan. Fish tempura was developed in the Kanto region of Eastern Japan by using fresh fish caught in Tokyo Bay, while vegetable tempura was developed around the southern-central region of Kansai and cities like Kyoto. As you may expect, Kanto and Kansai have different ways to cook tempura. For example, Kanto people fry the batter in the sesame oil. The batter includes eggs and is fried to a brown color. They use sesame oil to remove the odor of the fish. When they eat tempura, they use tentsuyu, a salty and sweet Japaense sauce made from soy sauce, sake and soup stock. Kansai people fry the batter in sunflower oil. The batter doesn’t contain eggs and is fried to a white color. Because they are used to eating vegetable tempura, they don’t use tsuyu sauce. They only add salt to take advantage of the natural flavor of the vegetables themselves. Tempura both fish and vegetable – is one of the most popular Japanese foods in Japan and around the world. Where did the name tempura come from? There are various views. But tempura most likely stems from “tempero,” a Portuguese word for seasoning or cooking.

In this recipe, I show you how to use baking powder and non-egg batter because it can be difficult to make the tempura crispy with eggs in a home-size wok. If you have a big wok like a professional, then you can add eggs as well. The most important thing is to keep all of the batter’s ingredients – including the bowl – in a fridge and not to mix them too much to avoid a sticky batter. Enjoy! tj

How to make Tempura

Prepare ingredients for tempura
Shrimp (fish, squid, etc.)
1 Peel and devein shrimp.
2 Make 2-3 slices on the belly of the shrimp to prevent curling.
3 Dry shrimp gently using a paper towel.
4 Dredge shrimp in flour.

Kakiage (tempura fritters)
1 Cut all ingredients (onion, dried shrimp, etc.) into small pieces.
2 Mix ingredients in a bowl and add flour.
3 Add some batter and begin mixing.

Veggies, mushrooms
1 Clean vegetables and cut to desired size.
2 Dry vegetables gently using a paper towel.

1 Prearrange all the ingredients and sift the flour, potato starch and baking powder together.*
2 Place the cold water and vinegar in a cold bowl and begin mixing.
3 Add in half the flour and mix it slowly while making a figure 8 with chopsticks.
4 Add the other half of the flour and begin mixing, but do not mix excessively (too much mixing will make the mixture too sticky).
5 Place the batter in the refrigerator.
6 Heat the oil.
7 Coat the ingredients with the batter. Place the coated ingredients in the pan of oil and fry them for a few minutes.


Assorted ingredients for tempura
• 160cc~ of cold water
• 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
• 100g of flour*
• 30g of potato starch*
• 2 teaspoons of baking powder*
• Cooking oil
*Place all ingredients except oil and bowl in the refrigerator in advance.

Dashi Soup

Ingredients Ingredients
How to make Tempura
• 20g of konbu (dried kelp)
• 40g of katsuobushi (dried bonito shavings)
• 8 cups of water

*You can also use the granular bonito-flavored seasoning, except konbu and katsuobushi.

1) Cut the edges of the konbu.
2) Leave konbu in water for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
3) Boil the water until you can see small bubbles and then at that point (right before boiling) remove it from the burner.
4) After boiling, add the katsuobushi and turn off the gas. Let it sit for a bit.
5) When the katsuobushi goes to the bottom of the serving pan, remove the katsuobushi.

Tentsuyu (tempura sauce)


• 50ml of soy sauce
• 50ml of mirin
• 200cc of dashi soup stock

1) Put all ingredients in a pan.
2) Once it begins to boil, turn off the gas.
3) Optional: add grated Japanese radish.



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Written By:

Mari Nameshida

Tokyo Journal columnist Mari Nameshida is a Japanese cooking instructor, Chinese herbal medicine advisor, Registered Nurse, and a food lover. It is her hope that through her Cooking with Mari classes, her blog and this column that people from around the world will gain a better understanding of Japanese culture through gaining an appreciation of Japanese food.


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