All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Fuki no to no tempura / Japanese butterbur bud tempura

One of the most common ways to enjoy fuki no to. Leaving out the egg, a typical tempura batter ingredient, delivers the clean, straightforward taste of these early spring buds.


Handful fuki no to Japanese butterbur buds (8 buds in photo)

For tempura batter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tbsp potato starch
2 tbsp water

Oil (for deep-frying; not in photo)
Salt (for serving with tempura; not in photo)


Mix flour, potato starch and water.
Make sure to use cold water.


Remove discolored sepals, wash, dry, and remove discolored stem ends; cut stem ends of large fuki no to lengthwise.
Immediately put in batter and coat (especially the cut surface).


Heat oil.
When fine bubbles come up from tips of chopsticks immersed in oil, the oil is ready. It should be around 170-180 C (340-360 F).

Quietly put each fuki no to in oil. Raise heat somewhat.

Remove fuki no to, starting with the first or smallest piece you have added, while immersing one end in oil for a few seconds (to draw out oil from fuki no to and return it to pot), and place on paper towel on plate.

Each fuki no to takes only 10-20 seconds to cook.


Serve hot with salt.

  • In order to get crisp and light results, tempura batter should not be gooey. Mix ingredients for batter only lightly. Flour or starch does not have to be completely incorporated. Ice cold water is another key. Adding potato starch also prevents batter from becoming doughy.
  • Sesame oil is not added for this recipe because the flavor would be overpowering.
  • Cutting stem ends of larger fuki no to lengthwise helps to reduce the bitterness.
  • Salt is recommended rather than tentsuyu tempura dipping sauce to maximize the buds’ taste.
  • If you make a large amount, work in several batches when deep-frying. Controlling oil temperature is another key to light tempura. 


Cecilia said...

This was great. Thank you.
I am just curious, why does fuki-no-to (bagge in Akita) have no egg in the tempura batter?

neco said...

Hi Cecilia,
As you probably know, adding an egg (often yolk only) is more standard and it makes the tempura batter fluffier and richer. I often skip it when wanting to get the cleaner taste with the dish (as in the fukinoto tempura in this recipe), making only a small amount of tempura or when having no plan to use any remaining beaten eggs (because tempura batter for two persons does not require lots of eggs). For fukinoto in particular, yolks in tempura batter soften the bitterness of the vegetable to some degree, so I do add egg when serving it to someone who is not familiar with its taste or fukinoto is especially bitter.

Cecilia said...

Thank you! That's helpful. I hadn't considered the role of egg in softening the bitterness.
It's a great site. :)

Unknown said...

It’s rishun here today... I’m about to try your tempura Fuki no tou... appreciate your simplicity yet rich content

neco said...

Yes, the beginning of spring. My fuki no to are covered with snow again today. They seem to be trying to make it hard for me to harvest them!
I hope your tempura turns out great.