Allison Day
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Onion, Asparagus, and Imitation Crab Tempura

Vegetables. They’re the bane of every parent’s existence. How to get the picky child to eat them? I may not be a parent, but I was certainly a picky child who wouldn’t eat her veggies. My poor parents tried every method to get me to eat them. They would tell me I had to eat my vegetables before I could eat anything else for dinner; I couldn’t have dessert if I didn’t eat my veggies. Any adult that had to deal with me at mealtime knew that I wouldn’t touch vegetables.

Now that I’m older, I don’t have nearly the issue with veggies that I did when I was younger. In fact, my former Girl Scouts leader saw me eating a salad a few years ago and was astonished – she couldn’t believe picky little Allison was actually enjoying something green. Like most, my tastes have matured over the years to encompass a wide variety of foods (including vegetables). But I can’t help but wonder, what could my parents have done to get me to eat better when I was a child?

One thing I know I would have eaten is tempura vegetables. I’d had them a few times when I was younger, but my parents never made it at home. I can’t imagine why, because my mother tempura-frys all sorts of things now, and I recall loving them when I was younger. Sure, it’s a little less healthy than say, steamed vegetables. But I’d argue that fried vegetables are better than none at all! Another option for those picky kids is this macaroni and cheese. You can barely tell that there are vegetables in the dish, and certain parents who have tried it tell me their kids loved it.


  • assorted ingredients to tempura fry (shrimp, onion, carrot, broccoli, banana, etc.)
  • 1 cup ice cold water
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • cooking oil

Cooking Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the water and the egg.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking soda.
  3. Stir the flour mix into the egg mix. It’s okay if the batter is a little lumpy.
  4. Stick the batter in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients.
  5. If you are using shrimp, peel, de-vein, and wash it. Make some small cuts across the belly of the shrimp, to keep it from curling when you cook it.
  6. If you are using vegetables, clean them and cut them into your desired size. Try not to use very soft ingredients, as they will soften as they cook (softer ingredients tend to fall apart when you take them out of the oil).
  7. Heat the oil in a frying pan. The oil should be hot enough that when you drip batter in it, the drops come to the top immediately.
  8. Coat your ingredients in the batter. Place the coated ingredients in the hot oil, turning when the bottom side is browned.
  9. Place the fried ingredients on a paper towel to drain. Remove any skewers. Serve immediately.


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