Tempura Sushi Rolls


In the South, we have an affinity for most things fried – chicken, catfish, okra, pickles, green tomatoes and even sushi. There’s no denying the pleasure of a sushi roll that is coated in crispy tempura bits or one that contains a perfectly fried piece. Entire sushi rolls can be also be dipped in tempura batter then fried for an overall delightful crunch.


The basis of any tempura sushi roll is a good tempura batter. The tempura recipe that I use for sushi rolls is classic and very simple. Many Americanized tempura batters incorporate baking soda, cornstarch and seltzer water to change the would be thin batter to one that yields a puffy, more evenly distributed batter. This recipe uses a classic ratio of 1:1:1 of just three ingredients –egg, flour, ice water. This uncomplicated recipe yields tempura that is delicate and lacy. Because the batter contains ice, it is essential to prepare the batter just minutes before use to ensure that it doesn’t become too watery.


Classic Tempura Batter

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup flour

1 cup ice water + a few ice cubes


Just before use, Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until just incorporated. Chopsticks are quite good for this purpose. A few lumps are okay.


Tempura Tips

       Fry vegetable tempura items at 340 degrees F.  For seafood tempura items and entire sushi rolls, increase temperature to 350 degrees F.

       Prepare items for frying by lightly dredging in potato or rice starch before dipping in tempura batter. Flour also works for this purpose.

       Fry tempura in small batches in a pan rather than using a deep fryer for optimal crispiness.

       Serve tempura items immediately.


Tempura for Crunchy Rolls

To make tenkasu, the crispy tempura flakes that coat the outside of crunchy sushi rolls, heat about 1/2 inch of oil suitable for frying in a heavy bottomed pan to 340 degrees F. Drizzle prepared tempura batter over the tines of a fork, being careful not to drop ice cubes in hot oil. Stir the batter as it fries a couple of times with chopsticks or a spoon. Allow to fry until lightly golden, about 2 – 2 1/2 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon or mesh fryer screen and drain on paper towels. Cool completely before coating the outsides of sushi rolls. One recipe of tempura batter makes enough tenkasu (tempura crispies) to coat the outsides of 6-8 sushi rolls.


Tempura Sushi Rolls (Entire roll fried)

For best results, use thin sushi rolls. Prepare thin rolls and cut in half, rather than cutting into 6 pieces. Allow rolls to set in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes. Dredge pieces in potato or rice starch before dipping in tempura batter. Fry the rolls in about 1 inch oil heated to 350 degrees F until coating is crispy and golden, about 3 minutes. If necessary, turn rolls so that they fry evenly.  Remove rolls from oil and cut each into 3-4 pieces. Serve immediately.


Tempura Sushi Rolls to Try:

Vegan Eggplant Tempura Rolls

Crunchy Shrimp with Corn and Avocado

Crunchy Shrimp Rolls

Tempura Crab Rangoon Maki

Soft Shell Crab Futomaki (Spider Roll)

Spicy Tofu Maki

Salmon and Curried Cream Cheese Maki








This entry was posted on Sunday, April 5th, 2009 and is filed under Featured, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


3 Responses to “Tempura Sushi Rolls”

  1. Gillian on October 3rd, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Thanks a ton! I found this website on pure chance and it’s helped me more than any of the others!

  2. Naomi on May 25th, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Hello! Great site!! Really excited to try this as I now live in Eastern Europe and they don’t put tempura bits into the sushi here! Please can you tell me, if I make a large batch of tempura buts, how long can I keep them for and how can I store them? Also, what is the best knife for cutting the sushi at the end??- This is where I butcher mine every time!!

  3. admin on May 25th, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Hi Naomi! You can make a batch of tempura bits and store. Wrap them well in plastic wrap and keep a day at room temperature. They can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Simply refresh them in a warm oven before using.

    As for knives, remember to place your rolls seam side down before cutting and to use a swift but thorough sawing motion. Keeping thos tips in mind, any sharp chefs knife will do. And in a pinch, a serrated knife helps to reinforce the sawing method needed to cut sushi rolls.

    What are some of the favorite sushi fillings there?

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