When I studied abroad in Australia, I lived in student housing, which meant we were packed into the smallest living spaces humanly possible. The “kitchen” consisted of a fridge, microwave, and two electric burners – no oven. I started to get creative with my stovetop cooking, and that’s when I made tempura for the first time. My friends and I had just returned from an incredible trip up and down the east coast of Australia, tanned, relaxed, and with tons of photos to swap. We crammed into the tiny room my roommate and I shared and exchanged pictures and music while stuffing our faces with tempura. We laughed, ate, and reminisced until half of us passed out food-coma status and the other half gave up on our experimental game of “can we tempura it” and decided to call it a night.
Tempura frying is one of those techniques that seems difficult but is actually super easy! You can use shrimp, calamari, or any veggies you like, but as someone who has tempura fried pretty much everything, my hands-down favorite is sweet potato. Today, I decided to make a meal of it by serving some over rice with fresh garnishes. You can also add it to noodle soup or serve it as an appetizer.
Prep Time | Cook Time | Total Time
15 mins | 5 mins | 20 mins
- 2 sweet potatoes
- ½ cup cucumber, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup radish, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado
- 4 cups brown rice
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 32 oz/ 4 cups canola oil
- 1 green onion, sliced thinly at an angle
- soy sauce, to taste
- tempura batter:
- 1 cup sifted rice or all-purpose flour
- 1 cup ice cold soda water
Peel sweet potatoes and slice into bite-sized pieces. I cut them about ¼-inch thick and 1-2 inches long. Prep cucumber and radish by slicing as thin as possible and set aside.
To make tempura batter, whisk club soda into flour until lump-free. The batter should be thinner than pancake batter, but viscous enough to coat the potato pieces in an opaque layer.
Pour oil into a pot over medium-high heat, ensuring that the oil is at least 3 inches deep. To test temperature, drop a bit of batter into the oil – it should sink halfway down before floating to the top. If you’re use a thermometer, it should read 350 degrees. Dip sweet potato in batter and lower into oil, ensuring that you don’t overcrowd the pot. When it begins to turn golden brown (~5 minutes), remove and drain on paper towel.
To assemble, divide rice between bowls and top with a few pieces of tempura sweet potato. Add radish, cucumber, and sliced avocado, then garnish with green onion and chia seeds. I served mine with soy sauce on the side.
Allow used oil to cool and then seal in a container to dispose. DO NOT POUR DOWN SINK DRAIN. I put mine into an empty plastic bottle and set next to garbage can for pick-up.