Sweet potato (satsuma imo)

Pumpkin (kabocha) [You can substitute acorn squash, but pumpkin tastes better.]

Eggplant (nasu)

Japanese mushrooms (shiitake) [You can substitute thick-sliced portabella.]

Green pepper (piiman)

Dried pressed seaweed (nori) [Try it!]

(preferably) jumbo or at least large cocktail size shrimp / prawns (ebi)

Asparagus (asupara)

Green string beans (sasagi)


1/2 cup tempura flour [Works best, but if you use regular flour, be sure the water is refrigerated.]

1/3 cup very cold water

For dipping sauce, prepare mentsuyu. You can use Kikkoman Memmi, a mild fish-based soy sauce. Dilute this with an equal part warm water. [A few drops of soy sauce is a less tasty alternative.]

All vegetables should be raw and sliced, denser ones like pumpkin and sweet potato sliced a little thinner. Cut pumpkin / acorn squash into thin crescent shaped slices. Diagonally cut string beans in thirds. Shrimp tempura may be made with raw shrimp, as in Japan, or with boiled chilled or pre-cooked shrimp. Peel and wash, leaving tail shell on. If raw, score each prawn three or four times on the underside to prevent curling during deep frying.

Use a deep pan such as a large saucepan (6 qt.) rather than a shallow frying pan for deep frying. A thicker gauge (heavier) aluminum pan is recommended. Fill halfway with vegetable oil (but not olive oil). A deep fryer may also be used.

Use high setting. If the oil isn't hot enough, the tempura will not be crispy. Drip a couple drops of tempura mixture into the very hot oil. It should rise immediately, or else the oil isn't hot enough.

Deep fry the vegetables first. After items are added, the oil should boil vigorously and splattering can be expected. (Be careful!) Remember: No rolling oil boil, no splatter, no crunch.

Deep fry pre-cooked shrimp and less dense vegetables 1-2 minutes until light golden color. You can only cook so much at one time, so don't overload your pan. Raw shrimp, potato, and pumpkin will take longer (3-4 minutes). Tenderness of denser vegetables may be determined by sticking them with a fork or cake tester.

After a batch or two, you'll get the hang of it! Set finished pieces on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Serve and eat very quickly.