Total Time:
1 hr
25 min
35 min

6 to 8 servings

  • 5 ounces unbleached cake flour
  • 5 ounces white rice flour
  • 1 1/2 quarts vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups cold seltzer water
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 5 to 6 ounces sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 8 stems flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, 31 to 35 count, head and tail-on, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 pound tilapia fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Ice

Whisk the cake flour and rice flour together in a medium glass bowl and divide it in half. Set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over high heat until it reaches 375 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer.

Once the temperature reaches 365 degrees F, whisk the egg, seltzer water and vodka, in a medium mixing bowl and divide it in half. Put half of the mixture in the refrigerator to reserve. Pour half of the liquid mixture into half of the dry mixture and whisk to combine, about 10 to 15 seconds. Some lumps may remain. Set the glass bowl in a larger bowl lined with ice.

Dip the sweet potatoes into the batter using tongs, drain for 2 to 3 seconds over the bowl, and then add to the hot oil. Adjust the heat to maintain between 375 and 400 degrees F. Fry 6 to 8 pieces, at a time, until puffy and very light golden, about 1 to 2 minutes Remove to a cooling rack lined with 3 layers of paper towels set over a half sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt, if desired. Repeat the same dipping and frying procedure with the green beans and parsley leaves. Put the fried vegetables on a serving platter and serve the as an appetizer while preparing the seafood.

Whisk together the remaining halves of dry and liquid batter ingredients as above and repeat dipping and frying with the shrimp and fish fillets. Sprinkle with salt, if desired, transfer the fish to a serving platter and serve immediately.

Cook's Note: Tempura may be held in a 200 degree F oven for up to 30 minutes, though texture is compromised.

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    13 Reviews
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    Great taste! Recipe steps are well explained. As per usual. Thank you AB
    put oil to 400f before putting fish in 
    We used with shrimp for our cooking club and this was sooo good! I agree amd don't hold it, serve immediately.
    Great for entertaining!
    Did the whole production for Valentine's Day and the girlfriend was SHOCKED that homemade tempura could taste so good! For the veggies we used broccoli florets (cut in half and regular potato (at her request and both worked out really really well. Also, used a deep fryer cause my roommate happens to have one. Also worked great!
    Fantastic. I swapped my own veggie choices due to the needs of my overstuffed crisper; I ended up using broccoli, cauliflower, portobello mushrooms, and eggplant. Everything was light, crispy, and perfectly umami (especially the broccoli!!!. Definitely trust Alton on his recommended quantity of oil; I skimped and used only 2 pints and found that it was definitely not enough. Alton always knows better than I do! :
    this is the best tasting and technique for Japanese tempura ever! it is tasty and light. I even tested with the shrimp by adding jalopeno peppers and it was amazing. thanks Alton. your show is entertaining, educating and very detailed.
    I used this recipe on Cod and it worked perfectly! Super delicious!!
    Excellent recipe! Make sure you remember to completely dry everything before you dip it in the tempura batter. 
    Light, crispy, flavorful, and "not greasy"... everything great tempura should be!
    This recipe is great! I mixed this chicken with some orange sauce I had made and served it over rice. It was better than any take-out I have ever had.
    You can't mess this one up! Alton's basic recipe is foolproof. I didn't use the correct flours (unbleached all purpose instead) and everything was still light and delicious. Really love how light the liquids made the batter.
    I had always wondered about tempura so was thrilled when Alton had a show dedicated to it as I knew that I would HAVE to try it out.

    I did, and like almost always, everyone LOVED it! There were mixed reviews on the Ginger Dipping Sauce. I liked it, some found it too forward and did not enjoy it as much.

    All in all, I'm very happy with this and have found a new-found love for frying foods as I now just use the Dutch oven for frying everything. I find that temperature control is vastly easier and the quality is substantially higher than what I was encountering with the electric skillet.
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