Make chicken tempura at home; crispy and fluffy outside, juicy inside. Ready in just 10 minutes, It makes a delicious and authentic Japanese recipe.
The best chicken tempura
Want an easy to make yet delicious recipe to pair with many dishes? Then, you must try chicken tempura. This recipe has a crispy texture and delicious taste, with a tender inside and balanced flavors. All these qualities make it a perfect recipe to pair with many dishes.
What is tempura chicken?
Chicken tempura is a Japanese dish that originated in Oita region. It is made up of lightly battered chicken breast or thigh strips and served with a tempura sauce.
The outside is perfectly crispy and fluffy and the middle has the most deliciously moist and juicy chicken.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Simple and easy. Although this dish may look incredibly fancy, it is so easy to make and will rival any good Japanese restaurant out there.
- Healthy. The tempura technique does not contain as much oil as deep frying does, so makes it a healthier choice.
- Perfect texture. Crispy and light on the outside yet juicy in the middle, you’ll be obsessed with how good this chicken tastes.
What I love about this tempura chicken is just how FOOLPROOF it is to make yourself. You have the option to fry it, air fry it, or even bake it in the oven!
For the chicken
- Chicken. Chicken tenders are preferred as they are the perfect shape for tempura. Otherwise, you can slice up chicken breast pieces.
- Soy sauce. Just a little bit to keep the chicken extra juicy.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Oil. To fry the tempura. Always choose oil with a high smoke point, like peanut or safflower oil.
For the batter
- All purpose flour. Also known as plain flour or white flour. For an even crispier batter, you can use cake flour.
- Cornstarch. Also known as cornflour, this works with the all purpose flour to provide an extra crunchy batter and lovely golden color.
- Baking soda. Reacts with the egg and flour and provides extra stability to the batter.
- Soda water. Also known as seltzer or sparkling water,
- Iced water. This isn’t used in the actual recipe but needed to keep the batter chilled while the chicken is being coated in it.
How to make chicken tempura?
You can make restaurant-style chicken tempura at home in just 5 simple steps:
Step 1- Make the batter
Start by adding flour, cornflour, and baking soda to a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle, add the eggs and soda water and mix well, until combined.
Next, place the mixing bowl in a large bowl containing iced water.
Step 2- Heat the oil
Now, take a large saucepan or deep skillet and add enough oil to fill the base, around 1-2 inches deep. Place it over medium heat and to test when it is hot enough, drop a small amount of batter into it. If it remains intact, the oil is hot enough to fry.
Step 3- Coat the chicken
Next, lightly flour a plate or serving dish. Lightly dip the chicken pieces in it, followed by the batter, and shake off excess batter. Repeat the process until all the chicken is coated.
Step 4- Fry the chicken
Finally, gently place the chicken into the hot oil and cook for 3-4 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once the batter is lightly golden and firm to touch, remove them from the oil and place them on paper towels to soak up excess oil.
Tempura is best enjoyed hot, so serve it with a tempura dipping sauce and enjoy immediately.
Air fryer or oven method
Chicken tempura doesn’t just have to be deep fried: you can also make it in the air fryer and the oven. These two cooking methods are perfect if you want to cut down on the oil used and make them healthier!
Preheat the air fryer to 200C/400F. Add a single layer of the battered chicken onto the air fryer basket and spray them with cooking spray. Air fry for 12-14 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove the chicken tempura and whip the basket clean. Repeat the process until all the chicken has been cooked up.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and grease generously. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Once hot, place the chicken onto it and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping several times throughout.
What is the difference between tempura and fried?
The difference between tempura and fried food items is their batter used for coating. The coating is made from bread crumbs, seasonings or flour for fried food. But for tempura, the batter consists of flour, cold water and a beaten egg.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Always use iced soda water. You want the batter to be cold, as it helps stick to the chicken and doesn’t fall off during the cooking process.
- Avoid over-mixing the batter. The ingredients should be just combined, and do not worry if there are clumps throughout, as these disperse once the chicken is frying.
- Make the batter just before cooking. Always prepare the batter just before you intend on frying the chicken. This will ensure the batter remains crispy and fluffy.
- Slice chicken in even pieces. If you don’t use pre-cut tenders, ensure the chicken is sliced in even thickness and length. This will allow them to be fried evenly and at the same time.
What’s the easiest way to store leftovers? Here are the best ways to store leftovers while keeping them fresh for a long time:
- To store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five days.
- To freeze: Place the cooked and cooled tempura in an airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Reheating: Either reheat tempura in a non-stick pan or in the air fryer/oven. Do not microwave them as they will be soggy.
More Japanese recipes to try
Frequently Asked Questions
If you let the batter sit for too long, gluten forms. Once you fry it, it becomes thick and gluggy and will not be crispy. To prevent this from happening, ALWAYS make your batter just before you fry the tempura.
Tempura is also deep-fried like a traditional batter, so it’s not the healthiest of options. But comparatively, it’s a healthier option because it uses less oil.
If you use a gluten free all purpose flour for the batter, this recipe is suitable for celiacs.
Chicken Tempura | EASY Authentic Recipe
For the chicken
- In a mixing bowl, add the chicken breast, soy sauce, salt and pepper.
- In a separate bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, and baking soda and mix well. Make a well in the center and add the egg and soda water. Gently mix until combined.
- Add the oil to a deep pot or saucepan and place it over medium heat.
- Moving quickly, dip the chicken in the batter until fully coated. Shake off excess batter.
- Place several chicken pieces in the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden. Remove the cooked chicken and place them on a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Repeat the process until all the chicken is cooked.
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