Curried Sardine Tempura

Crispy and light, curry-battered sardine tempura makes a great appetizer and goes well with any kind of drink!

Curried Sardine Tempura
Photographed by Hideo Sawai

Recipe by
Yoshiharu Doi







Calorie count is per serving.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 4 sardines (butterfly filleted) (100 g per fish)
  • [Batter]

    • 100 ml egg water

      *1 egg mixed with cold water.

    • 50 g flour (sifted)
    • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • Cabbage (shredded), as needed
  • Lemon wedges, as needed
  • Worcestershire sauce, as needed
  • Oil for deep-frying, as needed
  • Flour, as needed



Prepare the [Batter]. Beat the egg and mix with cold water. Add the flour and curry powder, stir a couple of times, then lightly whisk together.


The [Batter] doesn't need to be completely smooth. In order to make tempura that's crispy and light, you need to go easy on the mixing to avoid activating the gluten in the flour. The amount of water you add to the egg will determine how thick the batter will be. A relatively thick batter is recommended for this recipe.


Pour oil to a depth of 1 cm in a 26 cm frying pan and place over heat. Test the oil with chopsticks. The oil is ready when tiny bubbles start to form around the tips.


With deep-frying, it's important to heat the oil to the right temperature. The trick to making tempura at home with little oil is to make sure the oil is relatively hot before you fry your ingredients. You can adjust the temperature as needed as you go on.


Pat the sardines dry with paper towels. Dredge in flour and dust off the excess.


Hold the sardines by the tail and coat thoroughly in the [Batter], then lower into the oil.


Raise the temperature as soon as you add the sardines. If the oil starts to splatter, lower the heat. Continue adjusting the heat until the sardines are crispy and golden brown.


Sardines are an oily fish, but deep-frying them gets rid of excess oil, making them light and perfect for tempura.


Plate and garnish with shredded cabbage and lemon wedges. Serve with Worcestershire sauce.