Monday, December 29, 2008

What's for dinner, mom?

Dinner bell rings..

1. Stir Fried chicken in dark soy sauce with Chinese rice wine in olive oil and ginger sauce. (Cooking time: ready in 10 minutes)

2. Kangkung (Water Spinach) stir fried in Thai sauce.(Cooking time: ready in 7 minutes.)

Sometimes referred to as morning glory and properly known as water convolvus, it is a leafy green with hollow stems that can be found in most Asian markets. A marvellous dish, where it shows itself off against an aromatic backdrop of pounded chillies, dried shrimp paste (belacan) and garlic.

A somewhat humble dish which often reminded me of my childhood in our old government rented elongated house tucked away just by the sea in that old sleepy town where nothing ever changes when I was growing up.

The unbelievable amount of sauces, spices, mixes of all shapes and sizes, whether bottled, dried or in paste form fills most of the spaces in my Asian pantry and in this tiny nook.
As South East Asia is home to a rich cross cultural table with every country boasting a distinctive cuisine which nonetheless shares similiarities with its neighbours, the ingredients and spices used often highlights such culinary links.
The starting point of even putting together a Southeast Asian meal would require more than a score of herbs and spices.

I was most thrilled when I found this stone mortar and pestle in the heart of the busy streets in Indonesia. It is said to be handmade from genuine stones from the mountains. When I heard that, it was, "OK, say no more. I'm taking this baby home with me."

Will forever be grateful to my mom- for always reminding me that a wife who cooks with love will forever be loved by her husband.

For storing spices and condiments.
(handmade pieces from clay)