Tempura paired with Best's Riesling


Tempura’s origins are somewhat contentious, but it is widely believed to have been introduced to Japan by Portuguese missionaries during the 1600’s as an  alternative to eating meat during Lent. Initially, it was primarily used to cook fish and vegetables, and over time, it evolved into a celebrated dish in Japanese cuisine and served with a range of different vegetables, seafood and noodles.

Mixed tempura vegetables

The synergy between tempura and Riesling style wines is a culinary pairing that has gained popularity over recent years. The crisp acidity and fruity notes of Riesling serve as a perfect foil to the rich, fried elements of tempura, cutting through the oiliness and cleansing the palate between bites. Moreover, the slight sweetness in some Riesling wines can harmonise with the delicate sweetness of certain tempura ingredients like shrimp or sweet potato, enhancing the overall dining experience. Tempura is relatively simple to make, with a few basic ingredients required to make the batter. Plus in contrast to many other wheat flour based dishes, the batter actually presents better with less gluten rather than more, which makes it perfect for our gluten intolerant friends.

Tempura Batter


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ice-cold water
  • Optional: ice cubes for keeping the batter cold

Substitutions for Gluten Free Option

  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free)


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Whisk them together until well combined.
  2. Gradually pour the ice-cold water into the dry ingredients while whisking continuously. Whisk until the batter is smooth and has a slightly thick consistency. Be careful not to overmix the batter, as a few lumps are fine.
  3. If you have ice cubes, place a handful of them in a larger bowl or container. Place the bowl with the batter on top of the ice cubes to keep it chilled. This will help maintain the cold temperature of the batter and create a lighter, crispier tempura coating.
  4. Prepare your choice of vegetables, seafood, or other ingredients for dipping into the tempura batter. Make sure they are clean, dry, and cut into bite-sized pieces if necessary. Preheat oven to 100°C.
  5. In a deep saucepan, wok or deep-fryer, heat vegetable oil to a temperature of around 175°C The oil should be deep enough to fully submerge the ingredients.
  6. Dip the ingredients into the tempura batter, ensuring they are evenly coated. Allow any excess batter to drip off before carefully placing them into the hot oil.
  7. Fry the battered ingredients in small batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. This will help maintain the temperature of the oil and ensure even cooking. Cook each batch for about 2-3 minutes or until the tempura batter turns light golden brown and becomes crispy.
  8. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, carefully remove the fried tempura from the oil and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off any excess oil.
  9. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients until all are cooked. Put each batch in the oven to keep the tempura warm and crispy whilst cooking remaining batches. Use a cake cooling rack over an oven tray to keep it from sticking and getting soggy, and to prevent excess oil dripping in the oven.
  10. Serve the tempura immediately while it’s still hot and crispy. You can enjoy it as is or serve it with a dipping sauce such as soy sauce, tempura sauce, or a combination of soy sauce, mirin, and grated daikon radish.
  11. Enjoy your homemade tempura with its light, crispy texture and deliciously battered goodness paired with Best’s Great Western Riesling!

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