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National Tempura Day

National Tempura Day

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National Tempura Day 2018

Today is National Tempura Day. Tempura was made popular by the Japanese who took seafood or vegetables battered and deep fried them.


The cooking technique using flour and eggs as a batter was acquired (16th century) from Portuguese missionaries and merchants from the region of Alentejo, who resided in Nagasaki.

It came about as a way to fulfill abstinence and fasting requirements for Catholics surrounding the Ember Days thus creating the etymology of the word, tempura, meaning “times”, “time period”.


Food Cart Culture

Today in Japan the tempura recipes basically originated from “Tokyo style (Edo style)” tempura, which was invented at the food stalls along the riverside fish market from an abundance of seafood in the Tokyo Bay.

During those days, cooking oil was inexpensive and cooking indoors was prohibited because of fire hazards. Japanese housing was constructed of paper and wood which could catch fire easily from the tempura oil. For that reason, tempura gained popularity as fast food eaten outside at the food stall.


The first modern tempura recipe was published (1671) in the cookbook called “料理献立抄”.

After the Meiji period, tempura was developed as a high-class cuisine.

In Japan, restaurants specializing in tempura are called tenpura-ya.

Many restaurants offer tempura as part of a set meal or a bento (lunch box). It’s also popular for take-out at convenience stores.

There are many nontraditional and fusion uses of tempura.

Tempura dishes are on menus worldwide offering a variety of different batters and ingredients, including broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, and chuchu. Unusual ingredients like nori slices, dry fruit such as banana, and ice cream have also found popularity.

American restaurants are known to serve tempura in the form of various meats, particularly chicken, and cheeses, usually mozzarella.

Using panko in Japan would no longer qualify the dish as tempura. It would become something else called fry or pronounced in Japanese as furai.

Shrimp is the most popular seafood tempura.

Tempura generally does not use breadcrumbs (panko) in the coating. 

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