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Green Tea Tempura Recipe

Green Tea Tempura Recipe

Sachiko Murata |


The shincha (first flush tea) season is here. It's the busiest season for tea farmers, picking young tea leaves and processing them for making tea. 

Only during this season can they have this special dish. It's tempura with freshly picked tea leaves! Tempura is a traditional Japanese dish made by coating ingredients in a light batter before deep-frying.

Fresh tea leaves on the left(on the left) and tea tempura (on the right)


It is only possible to have this dish if you have fresh flush tea leaves, which means you need to live near a tea grower but there is another way to enjoy the essential flavors in this dish.

Let’s use chagara from the first flush green tea and make tempura!


What is Chagara?

Chagara(茶殻) means leftover tea leaves after steeping. If you are a tea lover, you must empty it out of your teapot many times in a day. 

  chagara, leftover tea leaves after steeping


Some of you might think “Can we eat the leaves? or “Does it retain the flavor?”. The answer is Yes. You can eat it, and still enjoy the flavor of green tea. 

Also, one of the great things about eating chagara is that you get nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin E, dietary fiber, and chlorophyll from them.It is said that 70% of nutrients of tea leaves remain in chagara as these nutrients are fat-soluble nutrients, not water-soluble nutrients. 

On top of that, using chagara means we don’t waste anything. It’s good for the environment, and I assume tea farmers would be happy to hear it.

So, you will know there is no reason to try!


Simple Tempura  

The method and ingredients for tempura in this recipe are very simple. Ingredients are just tea leaves, wheat flour and water. You don’t need to make a batter before coating. In one bowl, put things together and deep-fry it. Tempura will be crunchy and the taste will be light with this method.

Make as much as you like, depending on the amount of used tea leaves you have. We usually put 5g-7g(0.17oz-0.24oz) of tea leaves into a teapot for 1 steeping. You can make 3-4 chunks of tempura with 1 steeping tea leaves.


How to Enjoy Green Tea Tempura

You can enjoy it simply with salt ,flavored salt or matcha salt (matcha:salt = 1:3). Mayonnaise or soy sauce is good, too. As well as a dish for lunch or dinner, you can enjoy it as a snack. It goes well with a glass of beer, too! 



Green Tea Tempura Recipe 


[  For 6 pieces of tempura ]

  • leftover green tea leaves 10g (2 steepings), cooled to room temperature 
  • wheat flour  5 tbsp 
  • cold water  4 tbsp


  1. Put the tea leaves in a bowl, sprinkle wheat flour on it and mix them together quickly. Add the cold water and mix quickly. *If you mix it too much or the water temperature is high, the batter develops gluten which makes the tempura not crunchy.
  2. Heat 1-2 cm of oil in a pan to 180 °C/350 °F. Scoop some batter with a spoon and place gently into the hot oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes, and 1 minute more after turning it over. Remove from the oil and transfer to a rack to drain. 



Enjoy the flavor of the green tea with tempura!



Today's Recommendations  

Green tea (This green tea is used for this recipe)

NaturaliTea #02: Hachijyuhachiya Sencha Green Tea, Spring Midori First Flush



Azuma Tea Garden: Cooking Matcha (Standard Culinary Grade)


Flavored salt 

Amabito no Moshio Gourmet Lemon Seaweed Salt by Kamagari Bussan




Tea Article and Recipes 

How to Reinvigorate Your Green Tea - Hojicha Roasting

Green Tea Salt Recipe

Hojicha Coffee Latte Recipe

Hojicha Roll Cake Recipe








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