Is Tempura Gluten Free?

There’s a lot more to Japanese food than just sushi. For example, tempura is a classic Japanese dish that consists of fried vegetables or seafood in a light batter. A lot of our readers ask us whether or not this airy and delicious recipe is gluten-free.

So is tempura gluten free?

Tempura is not gluten-free because the recipe usually includes wheat flour and a form of starch. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to enjoy gluten-free tempura. There are many recipes that substitute the gluten out of this dish so that everyone can enjoy it.

It is possible to manipulate certain flours or starches to create a dough to be able to fry and achieve a crunchy layer like tempura. It is possible that in your favorite restaurant they will not make you a special dough and if they do, it is most likely that they fry it in the same oil they use to make tempura. You would finally be consuming food with gluten. 

Is Tempura Gluten-Free?

Due to the ingredients used to make Tempura in most traditional Japanese recipes, it is sadly not gluten-free. This is mainly due to the inclusion of starch and wheat flour, which add gluten to the recipe and make it either irritant or downright dangerous for certain individuals to consume.

However, if you love tempura and you can’t get enough of it, there are a few ways to ensure that it plays nicely with your system. Let’s explore how you can make a gluten-free tempura so that you can keep loving this lightly fried Japanese delicacy.

How to Make Gluten Free Tempura

If you have Celiac disease, you may not be able to have a delicious tempura at your favorite restaurant. However, you can enjoy it in your own home. There are some techniques that will allow you to make a gluten-free tempura. It is made with few ingredients that you surely have available.

Gluten-free tempura dough is made with rice flour, egg, and water. Unlike wheat flour, rice flour produces a finer dough. To thicken the dough you can add potato starch or cornstarch. You can add the starch or not, that will be your preference. 

It is possible that the taste or the texture are like a traditional tempura but in combination with the food you choose you will get a very similar flavor. Whether you choose veggies or shrimp or chicken, be sure to coat them well with your gluten-free batter. 

Make sure that the temperature of the oil is between 340 and 350ºF (170-180º) everything will depend on the cooking time that the food made in tempura requires. Frying at high heat will cause the topping to cook very quickly and the inside may still be raw. 

The key to this technique as in tempura is to control the temperature of the oil. It is highly recommended to have a kitchen thermometer so that you have a good result in your tempura. It is also very important that you do not overload the pot with your ingredients. Be patient and fry your food little by little. 

One recommendation is that before adding new ingredients to the pan, remove the leftover tempura from the previous batch. This will prevent the cooked tempura from sticking already burned to the new ingredients and giving your tempura a bad taste. 

Remember that a good dish is adorned with a delicious accompaniment. As with gluten-containing tempura, pair your gluten-free tempura with a little soy sauce. Usually, soy sauce is made with wheat, therefore you must add a soy sauce without gluten in its components. 

Fortunately, there are several products on the market in their gluten-free version. The good news is that you don’t have to make it, you just have to look for this version in the supermarket or a store of oriental products. And now, enjoy!

Vegan Gluten-Free Tempura

Some people not only avoid the consumption of gluten but also try not to consume products derived from animals. Today there are various recipes for conventional meals in their vegan version. One of those foods is tempura. 

To make your tempura dough vegan and gluten-free, simply substitute the egg. You can continue using the rice flour or even use chickpea flour. Simply mix baking powder, the flour of your choice, and some mineralized water. 

Mix all ingredients well. Choose your favorite vegetables and dip them in the mixture you just made. The technique is the same. Make sure to fry the vegetables on both sides until they are crisp and cooked through. 1 or 2 minutes per side will be enough to obtain a golden color. 

Serve immediately and accompany your tempura with your favorite sauce. 

Gluten-Free Accompaniments

There are several options such as gluten-free soy sauce or mustard sauce. There are even recipes to create a sweet sauce and enjoy it with your gluten-free tempura. 

So now you know, there are several options you can choose from to make your own gluten-free or even vegan tempura. Whenever you have a craving for fried food, you can easily find the necessary ingredients at home to eat a delicious gluten-free tempura.