Fish Recipes

Japanese Yellowtail Tempura Served Over Rice


Japanese kakiage (ka-ka-ogee), or tempura, has become an American favorite. But did you know that besides the typical Japanese vegetable tempura, the Japanese love to create fish tempura or fish kakiage? Included also among their favorite fish tempuras is yellowtail. And it is often served over a rice bowl called Donburi.

Although it’s early summer, my fishing buddies have freezers full of yellowtail fillets. And they’re clamoring for some new Yellowtail recipes. So here it is, yellowtail tempura over a Japanese rice bowl, topped with a classic homemade tempura sauce.

Once you realize how easy this is to make with your fresh yellowtail, you’ll probably start using a variety of fish that’s stuffed inside your freezers…

If you’re interested in a vegetable tempura here’s my link to my Fishermen’s Veggie Tempura.

Yellowtail Kakiage Donburi

(4-6 servings)


  • 1 pound yellowtail cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 bundle of cilantro chopped

Japanese Rice

  • 2 ½ cups of Japanese rice (sushi rice)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. salt


  • 2 cups general all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 cup of ice-cold water
  • 8-10 cups of grapeseed oil (for frying)

Tempura Sauce

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 Package of bonito flakes (2.5 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp. of Mirin (Asian market)
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce


  1. First, start making Japanese rice. In a small pot, bring the water to a boil, and don’t forget to add a pinch of salt. Next, wash the sushi rice in a strainer until the water becomes clear. As soon as the water boils, start adding the rice, and reduce the heat to its lowest setting. And, let it simmer for 10 minutes while keeping the lid on the pot.
  2. After the rice has simmered for 10 minutes, remove it from the heat. Take the lid off and add a kitchen towel completely over the pot and replace the lid. This will absorb all the excess moisture from the rice as it cools.  Let this stand for at least 10 minutes. Finally, take the lid off and allow the rice to cool to room temperature.
  3. Next, start making the tempura sauce. Bring the water to a boil and then add the mirin and the soy sauce, followed by the bonito flakes. Stir and remove for the heat.  Now is the time to start heating your frying oil to approximately 370F. I use a deep cast iron pot for this. Place the cubed up yellowtail in a shallow pan and then dust with ¼ cup of flour. This dusting will allow the tempura batter to adhere to the yellowtail cubes better.
  4. Time to make the tempura batter. The key to a good tempura batter is to make it ice cold. Using a cold egg and ice cold water, beat the egg and mix in the ice-cold water. Now add the sifted flour and ONLY GENTLY STIR for a short period of time. Over mixing the tempura batter will develop the gluten in the flour and completely change the texture of the final tempura.
  5. Add ¼ of the yellowtail cubes into the batter and use a large spatula to gather a clump of all the cubes. Now slowly add that clump into the frying oil. Don’t break apart the clump. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Then place the yellowtail tempura on a paper towel-lined platter.
  6. Add the Japanese rice in a serving bowl, drizzle some of the tempura sauce on top. Now add one clump (¼ of the yellowtail) yellowtail tempura on top of the rice and then drizzle some tempura sauce on top of that. Finally, garnish with some chopped cilantro and serve. Enjoy!!

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Yanni Hassir
Fisherman's Belly is the brainchild of Yanni Hassir, a SoCal waterman whose passion extends from the ocean to his kitchen. offers ...