It was on a Thursday that I notice a zucchini and a bunch of celery going to waste. The zucchini was alone in a pack of rotting cucumbers. The store employees were unaware that zucchini cannot be in the same package as cucumber. It hurt me to know that I wanted to eat something ‘new’ instead of meat. My mom and nephew love meat everyday. I don’t like eating meat everyday myself. I’m a part-time vegetarian. I gazed at those sad vegetables and the brown rice in the cupboard. It hit me like a rock. I could make tempura and rice. I asked my mom if she minded that I make tempura and rice.
My mom thought that tempura was ‘Chinese’. (Tempura was in fact ‘Japanese’.) Mom gave me her blessing green light.
I once made tempura before five years ago. I failed.
Given a second chance, I learned from my mistake. I grabbed my rice cooker, the two boil-in-the bag brown rice and set up shop. For the ‘Chinese trick’, I added a cup of snow-white rice to the brown rice. I’m the only person in my African-American family that eats brown rice. In order to get my family to eat brown rice I mix in a cup of white rice to make it look like ‘Oriental rice’. I added water to the rice, plug up the cooker and set the lid. With the ‘Oriental rice’ in the cooker, I prepared the tempura.
I grabbed the zucchini and celery from the fridge and set it down on my chopping plate. After washing the vegetables, I peeled and cut the veggies into bite-sized pieces.
Here’s the part where I make ‘batter’.
I used ‘biscuit mix’, water and salt. I mixed it all up in a small bowl and coated the vegetables.
With hot oil ready, I carefully ‘dropped’ the coated veggies in the pan. I got so caught up with company, my mom had to remind me that the tempura was burning.
After all of the hard work, it all came down to the tasting. Mom and I loved the tempura and rice. Mom said that the tempura reminded her of the ‘Chinese restaurant’s version’. It didn’t matter to me. For the first time in my life I made American-style tempura and rice. I did it by using the ingredients I’ve already had. Plus my imagination.
If ever I’m invited into your home, I might make some tempura for you.
Go for Broke!