Wheat Tempura Batter

There are as many debates about Tempura batters as there are recipes. The one thing all agree on is all purpose wheat flour is the key to a crispy light batter. The trick is to keep the batter really cold, add the ice cubes just before you start to cook and work quickly!


Tip: Have all ingredients and equipment ready before making the batter.


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 to 5 minutes per batch
Makes: 30 pieces


3 cups (1 L) assorted cut vegetables (pepper strips, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, onion wedges, zucchini strips, fresh whole green beans)
8-10 cups peeled and deveined large shrimp, scallops or calamari (optional)
2 cups (500 mL)  canola oil
1 cup (250 mL) all purpose wheat flour


2 Tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
1 ½ cups (375 mL) cold soda water
3-4  ice cubes



Prepare vegetables and seafood to be battered. Vegetables and seafood must be dry. Pat seafood with a paper towel to absorb moisture.

Line a baking tray with paper towel to transfer cooked ingredients to drain. Have two pairs of tongs ready - one pair to dip ingredients in batter, and another pair to turn and cook pieces in the oil.

In a medium sized, deep metal saucepan heat canola oil until temperature reaches 375°F(190°C). Oil will have a slight shimmer. In a large deep bowl blend flour and cornstarch with a whisk. Quickly pour in soda water and whisk just until mixture is combined. There will be some lumps. Add two ice cubes, stir once or twice.

Dip vegetables into the batter, allowing some of the batter to drip into the bowl before carefully placing in the hot oil. Cook only three to four pieces at a time or the oil temperature will drop and the tempura will be greasy. Cook vegetables before cooking seafood, if using.

Fry turning once until the batter is light golden, about three to four minutes. Tempura can be kept hot, on a paper lined tray in a 300°F (160°C) oven until all pieces are cooked. 


Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
1 Tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
1 Tbsp (15 mL) each, chopped fresh chives and parsley

2 tsp (10 mL) fish sauce or low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) each, minced garlic and ginger
1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil

Whisk until blended.  Any purchased Oriental style dip or dressing is also good for Tempura.