There are some dishes that vegetarians and meat-eaters can agree on, and tempura is one of them.
This Japanese dish of battered and fried vegetables is not only delicious but also pretty healthy too.
While you can find tempura served as an appetizer or main dish, it’s often eaten as part of a rice bowl meal or noodle soup.
No matter how you eat it, tempura always tastes best when served with a flavorful dipping sauce and some steamed rice on the side.
If you’re looking for more inspiration on what to serve with tempura vegetables, here are seven of the best side dishes.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Tempura Vegetables?
Tempura vegetables have got it all – they’re crispy, delicious, and packed with flavor.
But like all good things, you can elevate your tempura veggies by serving it with sides.
Think of it this way – the tempura is the star of the show, but the side dishes are there to support it and make the meal more complete.
The suitable side dish will not only complement the tempura flavor but will also add some much-needed variety to the dish.
After all, fried food can be heavy and greasy, so it’s always nice to have something light and refreshing on the side.
What to Serve with Tempura Vegetables? 7 BEST Side Dishes
You can enjoy tempura vegetables with numerous items like the following.
1 – Fried Rice
Can there be a better pairing than rice and battered crispy veggies? Imagine combining the two, and you have a mouth watering meal.
Fried rice is a popular part of East Asian, Southeast Asian and certain South Asian cuisines but every region in the world has a recipe.
To pair with tempura vegetables, you can make Asian-flavored fried rice so that the combo tastes even better.
Asian-style fried rice usually contains soy sauce, onions, shallots, edamame, scallions, white or black pepper, eggs, leftover rice, garlic and ham, bacon, and char siu.
For frying, you can use sesame or vegetable oil.
2 – Tsuyu
Tempura vegetables usually have a sauce as an accompaniment, and Tsuyu or Mentsuyu is one of the most popular condiments served with tempura vegetables.
These two pair up so well that you can eat many tempura vegetables without realizing it.
The typical ingredients in Tsuyu include soy sauce, rice wine (mirin), kombu (dried kelp), katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), and sake.
The soy sauce and bonito flakes give the condiment a savory and umami flavor.
Hence, it blends with the crispy and light texture of the tempura.
3 – Boiled Soba Noodles
Soba is Japanese for buckwheat, and it’s healthy and gluten-free.
If you’re looking for a nutrient-filled option for noodles, then it’s a good choice.
Boiled soba noodles are pretty simple to make but delicious.
When you pair it with the tempura vegetables, the two dishes click perfectly.
You don’t have to add salt when boiling the noodles, as soba is different from regular pasta.
Cook the noodles al dente and submerge them in cold water so that the noodles don’t stick to each other.
Drizzle a little sesame oil and mix, and serve alongside tempura vegetables.
4 – Ramen Noodles with Sesame Seeds
Yes, it’s one more noodle dish, but it tastes too good with tempura vegetables, so we couldn’t leave it out.
Ramen noodles with sesame seeds and tempura make a perfect combo.
You get sweet, sour, and spicy flavors when you serve the two dishes together.
What makes the dish more interesting is that you don’t need to spend much time on it.
With these noodles also, it’s best not to add salt to the water because ramen already has salt in it.
You can complete the dish in just 15-25 minutes and enjoy them with tempura.
5 – Grated Daikon
Daikon is a winter radish that’s native to East Asia.
It has a sweet and spicy flavor which tones down when cooked.
Grated daikon is a regular feature of Japanese cuisine and is often served with various dishes.
You can find most daikon in white, but purple, green, and red varieties are also available.
You don’t need any other ingredient except the radish and a suitable grater to make the dish.
Grate the veggie, transform it into daikon oroshi (Japanese) and serve with tempura.
6 – Steamed Vegetables
Tempura vegetables are a fried dish, so they can be a bit greasy.
Pairing the dish with steamed vegetables can be an excellent way to cleanse your palate.
Steaming the veggies also retains the fiber, color, texture and flavor of the ingredients.
Hence, you’ll have a lovely-looking dish without losing essential nutrients.
You also have several choices when making this dish because all veggies taste good and contain multiple nutrients.
Tomatoes, broccoli, onions, carrots, and bell pepper can make a great combination.
Add butter, salt, parsley, and some pepper, and you’ll have a lovely dish.
7 – Japanese Curried Rice
It’s the last dish on the list but certainly not the least.
You can also serve Japanese curried rice with tempura vegetables.
Japanese curried rice is curry served with rice.
There are other variants that go with noodles and the other with pastry.
The curry is one of the most popular dishes in Japan and made with sauce, various veggies, and meat.
The typical ingredients include potatoes, carrots, onions, chicken, and pork.
You can get readymade sauce mix in an Asian or Japanese grocery store, so you don’t have to work on it.
Now, you have the seven best dishes to enjoy with tempura.
You can serve them along with the crispy veggies and see how everyone rushes to eat them.
You can make most of the items in large batches so they can be suitable side dishes for big crowds.
Serve two or three side dishes so that everyone has a sufficient amount.
You can also make rice pilaf, noodle soup, sweet and sour sauce, fried vegetables, and chicken yakitori.
All these are great pairings with tempura vegetables.