Tempura, tempura! recipe for fried basil leaves!

Or maybe-“Batter’s up!” ?

I was reading a favorite blog , Chopinandmysaucepan,

and found the recipe for stuffed zucchini flowers the other day.

They looked really good, and I had at least a dozen flowers (with no

real hope for squash-just flowers) on my plants.  So I decided to make



I went out and picked my flowers and prepared them to stuff.

Apparently the stamen inside the flower is bitter and needs to be

removed.  (I hadn’t known this before- glad I read Chopin’s post!)


Take these out- I found it worked well to use a serrated butter knife.



Mix together:
1 TBS of ricotta cheese for each flower.

I used 12 TBS for my flowers.

The juice from  lemon or lime-depending on your preference.

I used half of a lemon and half a lime. Smile

a handful of flat parsley, chopped

a pinch of fine sea salt


I was going to show you the stuffing process, but I

couldn’t stuff and take a picture at the same time,

and Jordan wasn’t available

to be cameraman.  Open up the flower carefully and gently

stuff one tablespoon of mixture into the center.

Mold flower around the cheese and then give the tips of

the flower a twist and it will stay closed.


Next comes the tempura batter.

You can buy a mix.  I have done that in the past,

but it is just as easy to make.

Although there are a lot of recipes out there that are

very different from each other.

Flour, egg,and water…flour, cornstarch,water and soda…

flour, cornstarch, and seltzer water…?

I used a little of each:

1 egg separated

1 cup flour

1 heaping TBS cornstarch

1 cup ice water

Mix together flour and cornstarch, beat egg white until fluffy,

mix yolk and water together and stir into flour mix until all

incorporated and fold in egg white.


Heat up cooking oil (3/4 cup –1 cup in pan) until a drop of tempura

starts to sizzle and then dip each flower into batter and place in

pan so that they don’t touch.


Fry until lightly browned- turn over and fry other side.


Eat while still warm- these are truly delicious!

BUT- I still had a lot of batter left!


So I fried up chicken pieces for a salad topper.

AND then I still had a lot of batter.


I remembered hearing some where how good basil is fried in

tempura batter- so I fried up a leaf.


It was so very good !



That one wasn’t even close to enough!

The basil was fantastic.  The flavor burst with the frying- it was crisp

and fulsome in your mouth.  Really- it was better than the stuffed zucchini

blossoms.  I made up at least  2 dozen basil leaves and we ate them- every


Tempura batter and basil leaves- my newest obsession in appetizers.

Give it a try- you will like it!

18 thoughts on “Tempura, tempura! recipe for fried basil leaves!

    • I can’t remember where I heard about this, Brydie, but it is so good. The basil crisps up and is crunchy and it delivers such flavor that you are reaching for another one without even realizing it. Quite addictive, I think!

    • Hi,Jenny-
      It’s nice to hear from you! It sure beats out all of that fried stuff they have at the county fairs! Fried butter and twinkies have got nothing on fried basil!
      I like your blog’s perspective, btw! 🙂

    • Karen- I ended up making pesto, too!
      I’m still going to try to make my mint and sesame seed pesto- it is so light and fragrant that I almost like it better than basil and pinenut pesto.

  1. I enjoyed reading this, it felt like I was sharing your thought processes while you got creative in the kitchen. I love all those battered goodies, though I too have never heard of tempura basil leaves. It sounded heavenly and rather posh nosh ! Michelin star from me tonight xx

    • Thanks for the star, my friend!
      I feel like I already won a prize in the eating of the basil !
      I’m thinking of doing them up again this weekend. I still have a good crop of basil out there in the garden!

  2. Chopin!
    I had the happiest people in my kitchen eating the stuffed zucchini flowers!
    I have planned on making them but never actually had enough flowers all at the same time, before!
    Thanks for the inspiration and recipe.
    AND do try the basil leaves- they are fantastic!

  3. Oh my, my! How I wish I had a surplus of basil leaves right about now! I’m going to have to remember this one! Don’t you love when an experiment turns out better than your expectations?!

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