This tempura dipping sauce is the essential pairing for tempura shrimp, vegetables, or fish! Made with just 4 ingredients, it’s versatile, delicious, and works well as a marinate!
Recently made some tempura and want something to accompany it? This dipping sauce for tempura is your answer.
In many Japanese recipes, dipping sauces and condiments plays an imperative role.
Inspired by my beef negimaki recipe, I adapted the sauce to be thinner, less intense, and perfect to dip crispy and crunchy tempura.
Also known as tentsuyu, this authentic Japanese sauce is so delicious you’ll drink it with a spoon!
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- Just 4 ingredients. Seriously, this sauce is one of the easiest you’ll ever make.
- Ready in 5 minutes. No resting time, excessive boiling, or setting time needed.
- Sweet, salty, and umami. This ticks all the boxes in the flavor department and will leave you craving more.
- Works as a marinade. It’s so versatile, you can marinate your chicken breast, salmon, or even steak in it.
Ingredients needed to make tentsuyu
Just four simple Japanese basics are needed to make this tempura sauce recipe. Here is what you’ll need:
- Dashi stock. A Japanese soup stock that forms the base of many Japanese soups, including miso soup and udon soups. You can find it easily in mainstream grocery stores or specialty Asian markets. We used the powder, but you can use the pre-made stock.
- Mirin. Japanese cooking alcohol adds a punch of flavor and used in many Japanese condiments and sauces.
- Rice wine. A cooking wine used in Asian cooking. If you can’t find this, use dry sherry or vermouth.
- Soy sauce.
How to make a tempura sauce
Make dashi stock: Combine the dashi powder with water in a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer. If using tap water, this should take about 3 minutes. If you pre-boil the water, it’ll take around 60 seconds.
Combine: Add the mirin, rice wine, and soy sauce and bring it to a simmer. Once simmering, remove the sauce from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 30 minutes. This will allow it to thicken beautifully.
Serve and store: Either use the sauce immediately with freshly cooked tempura or store it away to enjoy later.
If you are new to Asian cooking or are new to Japanese cuisine, some of these ingredients may be unfamiliar to you. Here are some substitution ideas and also ways to make it alcohol-free.
- Swap dashi stock for chicken stock. They both have a similar texture and the flavor can be compensated with the other ingredients.
- Use tamari instead of soy sauce. For those who follow a gluten free diet, this is an equal swap.
- Cut out the alcohol. Mirin and rice wine both contain alcohol, and if you are halal or choose not to consume alcohol, you can use sugar and vinegar instead. Use two parts vinegar, one part water, and two teaspoons of sugar.
To store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If the sauce is a little thick, add a dash of boiling water and whisk vigorously.
To freeze: Place the sauce in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More ways to use this sauce
Tentsuyu works very well as a marinade for meat, poultry, and seafood. We love to marinate our air fryer recipes with it, and here are some of our favorites:
Frequently Asked Questions
If using tamari instead of soy sauce, this recipe is gluten-free.
Mainstream supermarkets stock them in the Asian or speciality foods aisle. Alternatively, you can order them online.
Yes, tentsuyu is the Japanese name for the dipping sauce served with tempura.
Tempura Sauce (Tentsuyu)
- Add the dashi stock powder and water in a small saucepan, whisk it together, and place it over medium heat.
- Once it simmers, add the mirin, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce. Let everything simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
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