I am having friends over and plan to make tempuras. Two of them don't like seafood in general so my choice of shrimps and squid might not please them so I was looking for a meat alternative for them and everyone to enjoy as well.

As I have never made meat tempura I am full of doubts about which type and which part of meat to chose for that. Nothing substential can be found on the internet (just recipes about using the batter to do something else, but nothing about puting something else with the rest that will be good in association).

Beef feels weird, chicken could work but the fast cooking of tempura might not suit poultry, pork is not as light as seafood. I am also totally open to something a bit unusual.

  • 1
    I think beef would be great. Cut in strips about 1/2inch would produce a nice mid-rare with tempura cooking.
    – Dan
    Sep 2, 2015 at 14:22
  • Do you want to use the exact same tempura batter? Because Tonkatsu is a somewhat comparable dish made from pork which might be something for you.
    – Erik
    Sep 2, 2015 at 15:09
  • @Erik Tonkatsu was something I considered but given that I have 8 guests and that I am alone to cook it might be too much work for one person to prepare.
    – AdrienNK
    Sep 2, 2015 at 15:22
  • I've been to Japanese restaurants here in the US and often you'll find Chicken Tempura on the menu. It's not traditional to in Japan itself, but is very common here. You just cut the breast meat in thin strips and it cooks up fine. Sep 2, 2015 at 15:54
  • Why not do something like country fried steak. I also like to do that with chicken and have plum sauce dip or something. Sep 3, 2015 at 6:21

5 Answers 5


AFAIK, meat is not really used for Tempura.

Do vegetables. (I assume you already do that).

If you want to do fried battered meats, I would suggest cutting them as small as possible.

Cut the meat into thin strips.

You could also use cheese, look for grilling cheese like Halloumi.

  • I already do vegetables (eggplants, paprikas, sweet potatoes). I think I'll go with really thin strips of meat like you and dan08 suggested. And thank you for the cheese, I was planning to try mozarella but your alternative seems better.
    – AdrienNK
    Sep 2, 2015 at 15:25
  • 1
    just to add, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms also tend to go over very well whenever i have veggie tempura :)
    – celeriko
    Sep 2, 2015 at 17:10
  • There used to be a (mostly) Thai restaurant near me that did vegetable tempura, and sometimes you'd get Brussels sprouts in there. Awesome. Sep 2, 2015 at 18:26
  • 1
    I'd be tempted to try a softer cheese than halloumi, like mozarella, feta, german smoked cheese maybe - bare in mind that tempura ice cream is a thing (and is amazing). Though I'm sure halloumi would also work. Halloumi in batter was popular in London pubs for a while (and very tasty), they called it "vegetarian fish & chips"... Sep 2, 2015 at 18:53

I've had chicken tempura at a couple different Japanese restaurants, and it was very tasty both times. As Max suggests in his answer, they cut breast meat into thin strips that I could pick up with my chopsticks.


Tempura bacon is a thing. Par-cook the bacon and then finish as tempura.

Tempura hot dogs are apparently also a thing. They have the advantage that they're fully cooked when you buy them. So you just need to worry about getting a crisp coating.

If you want to make something more refined, you could probably take any kind of sausage, par-cook it, and then finish it as tempura. If it's in link form, cut into bite-sized pieces. Otherwise, shape into meatballs.

  • As crazy as it sounds, tempura hot dogs makes a certain amount of sense... it's light, soft and with a mild distinctive flavour that would go well with the batter. Sep 2, 2015 at 18:51
  • Basically a tempura corn dog? Sep 3, 2015 at 16:57

Crab sticks, that's what they do in thailand, shitake mushrooms, carrots

  • Crab is not meat. Sep 2, 2015 at 18:32
  • 6
    I believe crab meat is meat, it's the meat of a crab... but it's also seafood, which the asker said they wanted to avoid. Sep 2, 2015 at 18:55

Cervelat or thuringer tempura (with some mustard or wasabi powder in the batter) it is a most excellent unorthodox tempura.

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