I absolutely love Japanese food and always have monthly cravings for it.  Haha.

But always going to the restaurants to get my fix is not going to be good for our pockets in the long run, so I am learning how to prepare them from my home.

For example, this meal below which serves four would cost us about US$40 – US$50 at a mid-range restaurant, but when we cook it ourselves, we can probably save two-thirds of what we would have spent.

For convenience, I have used pre-mix tempura flour that you can also get easily at supermarkets.  Other ingredients like furukake (Japanese rice seasoning) and bottled tempura sauce can also be bought readily.

Ingredients (Serves 4 adults):

  • Cooking oil (for deep-frying of tempura)
  • 4 cups of cooked Japanese short-grained rice
  • 4 large shitake mushrooms, trimmed of caps and cut into halves
  • 2-3 ladies’ fingers (okra), tail trimmed and cut slanted
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 15-20 tiger prawns, de-shelled and de-veined
  • 100 g tempura flour pre-mix
  • Cold water (1 cup should be more than enough)
  • 8 tablespoons tempura sauce
  • 4 tablespoons furukake seasoning

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1:  Place the tempura flour pre-mix in a mixing bowl.  Add cold water (it must be cold!) a little at a time, and mix batter lightly till a moderately thin consistency is achieved.

Step 2:  Heat up enough cooking oil for deep-frying in a saucepan or wok.

Step 3:  Pat dry the prawns and vegetables with a kitchen paper towel before frying.

Step 4:  Test whether the oil is hot enough by dripping a drop of tempura batter.  If the batter comes up to the surface immediately, the oil is ready for frying.

Step 5:  Dip the vegetables, one by one in the batter and put them gently in the hot oil.  It is best to use a pair of long chopsticks or tongs to flip them to protect yourself from oil splatters.  The tempura should float on the surface when frying, coated with a layer of batter.  If the batter does not stick well, add a bit more tempura flour to make the batter thicker.  After the vegetables are done, continue with the prawns.

Step 6:  When the coated layer turns golden brown, remove the tempura and place them on a kitchen paper towel or rack to absorb excess oil.  This picture below shows part of what I have made.  How does it look?

Step 7:  To make tempura don, scoop a cup of pre-cooked Japanese steamed rice into a bowl.  Drizzle two tablespoons of tempura sauce on the rice.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of furukake seasoning in the centre.  Place the tempura on the bowl and serve while the tempura is hot and crispy.  Repeat for another bowl.

I kept a lunch box portion for Hubby, where I separated the rice and the tempura into two boxes. I also added a coleslaw side created from the left-over wasabi mayonnaise I made the day before.  Wasabi flavoured coleslaw taste awesome by the way!

The challenge about this lunch box is the tempura will go soft if it is not eaten hot.  But as long as you or the person you make the lunchbox for don’t mind, making this tempura rice lunchbox is a nice change to the menu.  And it is not too difficult at all.

I am glad I tried it!  How about you?

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One Response to “LunchBox Recipe #9: Japanese Tempura Don (Rice)”


  1. I Am On A Japanese Food Fever! Part 2: Tempura Don (Rice) | myfortunekitty.com

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