How to Make Extra Crispy Gluten-Free Tempura-Japanese Taste

How to Make Extra Crispy Gluten-Free Tempura

by Ayumi Matsuo

Gluten-Free Egg-Free

Tempura, a staple food found throughout Japan, surprisingly has its origins in Portugal and was introduced to Japan during the Muromachi period (1300s) by Portuguese traders or missionaries. The original Portuguese version used a thick batter, quite different from today's light and crispy tempura. However, due to the scarcity of oil as a luxury item during that era, tempura was not readily available to the general public.

Following the Taisho period (1926), tempura evolved into the style we recognize today, featuring a light and crispy batter served with a dipping sauce. After World War II, the increased availability of oils and household ingredients made tempura a common dish in Japanese households.

Tempura can be enjoyed as a main dish at home or in tempura restaurants, as well as in combination meals with soba noodles or served over rice as tendon, drizzled with a sweet sauce.

The differences between Kanto and Kansai style tempura are notable. In Kanto, a batter made from wheat flour, eggs, and water is used, and tempura is deep-fried quickly at a high temperature using sesame oil. In Kansai, however, only wheat flour and water are used in the batter, and tempura is deep-fried slowly at a low temperature using salad oil (known as vegetable oil in other countries).

The choice of oil and frying methods reflects regional preferences. In Kanto, where fish is commonly used, sesame oil is used to remove fishy smells. In Kansai, where vegetables are popular, salad oil enhances the vegetable flavors.

Today, we'll introduce a Kansai-style tempura recipe made gluten-free using rice flour, ensuring everyone can enjoy this dish at home. Tempura made with rice flour also results in a crispier texture.

In Japan, tempura is typically enjoyed with Mentsuyu (concentrated Japanese soup base) and grated daikon radish, or simply with salt. When dining out, feel free to ask the waiter for their recommended style!


Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 10 mins

Total time: 25 mins

Total servings: 2

Difficulty: Medium

  • 70g Rice Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 100cc Cold Water
  • 4 Shrimps
  • 1/2 Japanese Sweet Potato
  • 1/2 Lotus Root
  • 1/2 Eggplant
  • 4 Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Vegetable Oil (For frying)
  • 1/2 Daikon (Japanese Radish)
  • Mentsuyu or Tentsuyu (Tempura dipping sauce)

Expert's Tip

How to Make Extra Crispy Gluten-Free Tempura

Mentsuyu is a seasoning made by combining dashi, mirin, and sugar with a soy sauce base. It's commonly used in noodle dishes such as soba, udon, and somen, as well as a dipping sauce for tempura or stewed dishes. It's a convenient staple found in every Japanese household.

Mentsuyu comes in different types: straight, which can be used as is, and concentrated, which needs to be diluted with water. Once opened, store it in the refrigerator, but remember that it has a short shelf life. The straight type will last about 3 days, while the concentrated type will last about 2 weeks. If you can't use it all in time, you can freeze it in small portions using an ice tray.


1) Preparing the Shrimp

Prepare the shrimp by removing the skin, spreading out the tails, cutting off the tail tips, and deveining them using a toothpick. To devein, insert the toothpick along the back of the shrimp and remove the vein.

Next, make incisions at 1 cm intervals along the back of the shrimp, starting from the tail. Be careful not to cut all the way through the shrimp. Repeat the incisions on the opposite side. This will help keep the shrimp straight after frying and give them the iconic shrimp tempura look.

Once both sides are incised, gently stretch the shrimp with your fingers to straighten them out.

2) Cutting the Vegetables

Prepare the vegetables: Cut the sweet potato, lotus roots and eggplant into small pieces. Cut off the stem of the shiitake mushrooms.

3) Preparing the Dipping Sauce Ingredients

Grate the daikon for the mentsuyu.

4) Making the Gluten Free Tempura Batter

Mix batter ingredients - rice flour, baking powder and cold water until just combined. Do not mix too much!

5) Frying the Tempura

Wipe off any excess water from the ingredients and ensure they are completely dry. Sprinkle a light amount of rice flour onto them. This will help the tempura batter adhere better to the ingredients, preventing flaking during frying.

Dip the ingredients into the batter and deep fry in oil for 2-3 minutes. Maintain a temperature of 160-165°C for vegetables and 170-175°C for shrimp. Ensure that your pot is filled with about 3cm of frying oil.

6) Serving the Tempura

Add grated daikon to the mentsuyu and serve with the freshly fried tempura. Enjoy your homemade gluten-free tempura!

Recommended products for this recipe


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published