Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tempura Recipe

Tempura was introduced to Japan in the mid-sixteenth century by early Portuguese missionaries and traders. Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, reportedly loved tempura.

The word tempura, or the technique of dipping fish and vegetables into a batter and frying them, comes from the word "tempora," a Latin word meaning "times", "time period" used by both Spanish and Portuguese missionaries to refer to the Lenten period or Ember Days (ad tempora quadragesimae), Fridays, and other Christian holy days. Ember Days or quattuor tempora refer to holy days when Catholics avoid meat and instead eat fish or vegetables. The idea that the word "tempura" may have been derived from the Portuguese noun tempero, meaning a spicy condiment or peppery seasoning, or from the verb temperar, meaning "to season" has not been substantiated.However, the Japanese language could easily have assumed the word "tempero" as is, without changing any vowels as both languages are phonetically similar.There is still today a dish in Portugal very similar to tempura called peixinhos da horta, "garden fishies."

It is thought that as the term "tempura" gained popularity in southern Japan, it became widely used to refer to any sort of food prepared using hot oil, including some already existing Japanese foods. Today, the word "tempura" is also commonly used to refer to satsuma age, a fried fish cake which is made without batter.

Tempura Recipe


Shrimp (shelled and deveined, but leave tails on)
Vegetables* of your choice

Tempura Batter:

1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup corn flour or rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup ice cold water
Oil for deep frying


1. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, beat the egg slightly and mix with the ice water.
3. Stir in the dry ingredients. Stir only until mixed; mixture will be slightly lumpy.
4. Dip shrimp and *vegetables into the batter and deep fry until golden brown.
5. Fry ingredients a few at a time. Too big a batch may change the temperature of the oil.
6. Drain on paper towels and served immediately.

*Note: You can use a variety of vegetables for tempura e.g. pumpkin, sweet potato, broccoli, string beans, yam. Root vegetables should be sliced thinly so it is cooked through.

(recipe taken from :

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