National Tempura Day

Tempura is a dish in Japanese cuisine that consists of vegetables, meat, and/or seafood that’s battered and fried. It’s different from other ways of deep-frying food mainly because of its batter. While foods in the West are usually coated in flour and bread crumbs before being fried, tempura uses a coating that’s made of flour, spices, egg, cold water, and some form of starch. This results in a coating that’s very light and very crisp. It’s a great way of cooking food, especially on National Tempura Day. This holiday falls on January 7th and encourages all of us to prepare a tempura dish (or dishes) of our choosing.

The History of Tempura

Before this form of frying food was adopted in Japan, the Japanese method of frying involved either frying without any coating whatsoever or frying in simple rice flour. Then, around the 16th century, Portuguese merchants and missionaries from the region of Alentejo brought this type of frying to Nagasaki. This method of cooking allowed people to observe the abstinence and fasting rules for the quarterly period of prayer known as Quattuor Tempora. It’s for this reason that it’s known as tempura.

Approximately 100 years later, food cart culture changed the preparation and ingredients used for tempura. To take advantage of the abundance of fresh seafood and to help keep it as fresh-tasting as possible, tempura began to be made using only flour, water, and eggs as ingredients. Because the batter was only lightly mixed with cold water, it didn’t develop the thick glutenous characteristic that Western deep-fried products obtained. Instead, it had a light, crispy texture. In 1671, the first modern tempura recipe was published in Japan.

Amazing Tempura Facts

Now that we understand the history of tempura a little bit better, we would like to turn our attention to giving all of our readers some facts about this type of cooking. Below are some tempura facts that we think everyone is going to appreciate learning about. Besides, the following bits of trivia are good to share with friends and family on National Tempura Day.

  • If breadcrumbs or panko are used, it’s not tempura. Instead, it’s known as furai.
  • People are now experimenting with making sweet tempura, such as deep-fried ice cream.
  • Tempura is traditionally only for cooking seafood and vegetables, but meat is increasingly being cooked using this method, especially in the West.

Observing National Tempura Day

National Tempura Day can be observed by making your favorite type of tempura. It doesn’t matter if you use various cuts of meat, seafood, or vegetables—just make something that suits your taste and your style. While you’re enjoying your tempura, be sure to use the hashtag #NationalTempuraDay to spread pictures of your creation online.

When is it?
This year (2024)
January 7 Sunday
Next year (2025)
January 7 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
January 7 Saturday
Food & Drinks