What Is Tempura Crab?

If nothing else, tempura is among the staple dishes of Japanese cuisine. But what is tempura crab, and how it’s made?

What is tempura crab? Tempura crab is a very popular Japanese dish. It is lightly battered crab meat and deep fried to achieve a crispy and light coating. Many types of food can be tempura fried, and this cooking method can be used to fry vegetables or various seafood dishes, including sushi.

Tempura crab on sticks with sauce and garnish

While many master chefs spend years mastering this cooking method and incorporating it in different dishes, you can also make it a simple meal that you can try out at home.

What Is Tempura Crab?

To get that light and, most of all, crispy coating on food (mostly seafood such as crab meat, some of the best shrimp on the market, vegetables, or even sushi,) you should cover it with a gently battered mix and deep fry it. You will get the renowned Japanese style dish. This cooking method is known around the world as tempura. The ingredients for this dish are simple and already found in most homes, so it shouldn’t be too complex to make it by yourself.

Tempura is usually shrimp, but tempura crab is also a popular dish in many parts of Asia. It is made by coating pieces of crab meat in a batter and then deep frying them. The result is a crunchy, flavorful dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or main course. This tasty golden-brown, crispy dish is often served with a dipping sauce, such as soy sauce or sweet and sour sauce. It can also be served over rice or noodles.

While this cooking style is usually associated with Japanese cuisine, it is unclear whether it originated in Japan or was brought to the country by Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century.

However, the real driving force behind the popularity of regular, Tokyo-style tempura were Edo-era street vendors in and around the fish market. Since then, a dish has grown into a sophisticated culinary technique in Japan, and chefs usually perfect their craft for years.

How to Make the Tempura Batter?

In order to make the perfect tempura batter, you need three simple ingredients available in every home – eggs, flour, and cold water. While you can buy a premade mix in some specialty stores, you can use the all-purpose flour you already have at home and achieve great results.

These basic ingredients are the only things you’ll need to achieve that puffy and light as air coating on the crab meat or any other type of food you want to tempura fry. Keep in mind that using ice water in the mix is imperative because it will keep the batter from becoming too dense.

Tempura Crab Ingredients

Although you can use different ingredients to make the best-tasting tempura batter, I will list the most basic ones in this recipe. Some recipes may list things like soda water, rice flour, potato starch, or cornstarch for enhancing the crispiness, or you can buy a gluten-free tempura mix in a specialized store. Here are the basics:

  • Two egg yolks,
  • 1 ½ cups of flour,
  • 1 ¾ cups of ice water,
  • 1 quart of vegetable oil,
  • ¾ teaspoons of the sea or kosher salt,
  • 8 dressed large soft-shell crabs.

Full Recipe in Simple Steps

Egg yolks and water should be thoroughly combined in a bowl. Add the flour, then whisk just until the mixture is only partially smooth. There should be some lumps in the batter. In a skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil until it is extremely hot but not burning – about 375° F.

Working in batches, dip each ingredient one at a time into the batter mix and drop them into the heated oil right away. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until the mixture is golden brown. Drain from oil and let dry on a plate lined with paper towels. Continue until every ingredient has been fried.

Mixing batter in a bowl

Different Kinds of Tempura Oil

Although I’ve stated that you should use vegetable oil for making tempura crab, not all oils are the same. Since some have very low smoking points, it would be good to avoid them. The table below lists the ideal oils for deep frying.

Type of oilQualitySmoking point
Sunflower oilRefined441°F
Corn oilRefined446-460 °F
Canola oilRefined428–446°F
Sesame oilSemi-refined450°F
Avocado oilRefined520°F

What to Use as an Overall Best Oil

The best oil for tempura is typically a light or neutral oil with a high smoke point. Canola and vegetable oils are all good choices. Avoid using olive oil or other strongly flavored oils, as they can dominate the taste of the tempura. If you are deep frying, use a thermometer to maintain the oil at 350-375° Fahrenheit.

Canola oil is generally regarded as one of the best oils for creating tempura. It can go nicely with your shrimp and batter because it is clear and flavorless. Additionally, it has a high smoking point, making it perfect for deep frying.

Additionally, canola has a few health advantages. For instance, it has minimal amounts of saturated fat and is high in omega-3. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t reuse the oil after frying because the continued heat exposure will inevitably make it more unstable. Of course, sesame oil is always a good choice if you’re trying to replicate the original flavor.

Three oil bottles

What to Serve Tempura Crab With?

There are a few things that go great with tempura crab. One is a dipping sauce, which can be anything from a simple soy sauce to a more complicated recipe. Another great option is to serve it over rice, either plain or with some vegetables mixed in. Finally, it goes well with other seafood dishes, so feel free to get creative and mix and match! If you’re looking for a delicious and easy seafood dish to make, look no further than tempura crab.