People often assume that being gluten free in Japan is pretty easy – after all, rice is a major staple of the Japanese diet, and rice doesn’t contain gluten. However, many foods that are commonly found in Japanese restaurants are not gluten free – soy sauce, noodles, gyoza, miso, and fried dishes may all contain wheat and/or barley, as do most sauces and even some teas. Aside from a few gluten-safe restaurants, Amelia tends to eat most of her meals at home. She doesn’t mind too much, although she does hate missing out on some of her favorite Japanese dishes. One such dish is tempura.
Naturally, I jumped at the chance to take a gluten free cooking class, offered by Fun5, a local business that provides Japanese experiences for foreigners. I learned to make tempura with @oh__komepan, a wonderful and experienced gluten free chef. I’ve made it at home several times for the family, and it’s a hit! I think tempura is a little difficult to make in general, but with a little practice, the gluten free version tastes just as good as the regular one.
The following is a combination of my teacher’s personal recipe (shared with her permission) and the Gluten Free Tempura recipe from Just One Cookbook, which I highly recommend for English speakers who want to try Japanese dishes. Her instructions are always clear and easy to follow, and I’ve made a number of her dishes with great success!
Gluten Free Tempura
- ⅔ cup rice flour (rice powder)
- 2 tsp gluten free mayonnaise can be substituted with 1 large egg
- 5 oz cold water if an egg is used instead of mayonnaise, only add enough water to equal 3/4 cup
- 4 cups neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, canola, rice, etc)
- favorite vegetables sliced thin (1/8 inch) sweet potato, onion, green beans, okra, eggplant, etc
Tempura Dipping Sauce
- ¾ cup gluten free dashi (Japanese soup stock) can be substituted with gluten free vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 3 tbsp gluten free soy sauce
- 3 tbsp mirin (sweet rice wine) can be substituted by combining 3 tbsp sake or sherry + 3 tsp sugar
Prepare Tempura Batter
- Combine rice flour, mayonnaise, and cold water. Make sure the water is very cold.
- Whisk ingredients until there are no lumps. Keep the batter in the refrigerator until you're ready to deep fry.
- Heat 4 cups of oil to 340℉.
- Before deep frying, make sure to pat the ingredients dry with a paper towel (extra moisture will dilute the batter). Whisk the tempura batter each time before dredging the ingredients.
- Coat individual slices of vegetables with batter.
- Place vegetables in the pan in a single layer, without overlapping. Don't overcrowd the pan.
- Deep fry at 340℉ for about 3 minutes, or until desired shade of golden brown.
- Shake off excess oil and transfer to a wire rack or a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Be sure to remove crumbs from the oil in between each batch.
- Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
Tempura Dipping Sauce
- Combine dashi, soy sauce, and mirin.
I hope you love it!