Sansai (Mountain Vegetable) Tempura with Matcha Salt

Sansai (Mountain Vegetables) Tempura with Matcha Salt

Tohru Minowa / a.RF Collection / Getty Images

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
414 Calories
20g Fat
52g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 414
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 47mg 16%
Sodium 1770mg 77%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 15mg 76%
Calcium 54mg 4%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 304mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Tempura, or lightly fried Japanese foods, is one of the most popular dishes in Japanese cuisine. It is also one of the most widely loved Japanese dishes in both Japan and the West and is often found on many restaurant menus. Tempura shrimp and assorted vegetables such as eggplant, Japanese pumpkin, and asparagus are quite popular in the West.

Perhaps not as common, however, is sansai tempura. Sansai is a broad Japanese term which refers to a wide number of vegetables and herbs which grow wild on the mountains of Japan. Sansai is seasonally abundant during the spring and especially in the month of April.

Sansai vegetables include vegetation such as taranomi, fuki, kogomi, and warabi. If sansai vegetables are difficult to find, try a variety of herbs and leafy vegetables as an alternative. For example, perilla leaves, baby kale, baby spinach, cilantro etc.

Tempura is typically served with a warm soy sauce and dashi based dipping sauce and grated daikon radish. Another popular seasoning is plain granulated or sea salt. Alternatively, try tempura seasoned with matcha (green tea) salt.


For the Matcha Salt:

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder

For the Tempura Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups rice flour, divided

  • 1 cup and 3 tablespoons ice-cold water

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 large egg

  • Sansai vegetables

  • Canola oil, for frying

Steps to Make It

  1. In a small bowl make the matcha salt by mixing together the sea salt and matcha powder. Set this aside to serve with the cooked tempura.

  2. In a small shallow dish, place a bit (1/2 cup or less) of rice flour. Set this aside.

  3. In a separate bowl, make the tempura batter. Combine 1 cup rice flour, egg, salt, and ice cold water.

  4. Heat oil until the temperature reaches 355 F or 180 C.

  5. Break the sansai into medium pieces, with stems intact.

  6. Dip the vegetables and herbs into the dry rice flour and coat.

  7. Next, dip the coated vegetables and herbs into the tempura batter and quickly fry in the hot oil. It should only take 30 to 40 seconds to fry each herb.

  8. Drain the sansai tempura on a wire rack over paper towels. 

  9. Serve immediately while hot.

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