Squid, squid, squid. Every time I go to the market, I pass by the fish section, and whenever there is fresh squid there, they taunt me. “You are too chicken to try to cook us!” “Nyeah, nyeah, we know you’re not going to buy us—coward!”
Tray of Squid at Stutong Market
And truth be told, I walk away. Every. Single. Time. Without buying them. In the back of my mind, I think to myself. “C’mon, I can do this. Cooking squid isn’t that hard. What’s the big deal?” And then I think, “Oh man, the year is going to go by and I’m going to have to confess that I didn’t try cooking squid even though it was part of my resolution.”
So finally, one day, I stopped and taking a deep breath, I approached a fish vendor and bought half a kilo of his smallest squid. Because I didn’t know any better. And because small ones would cook faster and I would be less likely to botch it. See…I had my mind set on frying calamari. So I took home my half kilo and set to work. (more…)
This is one of those slap-dash dishes that turned out better than expected.
Pork with Leeks and Basil
This dish came about one day when I looked into my fridge and realized I had a little bit of this and a little bit of that left that needed to be used up. I had a couple leftover leeks from the leek and potato soup I made. And I also had some Thai basil and green onions left over from the last time I made larb. With all these random herbs and greens in my fridge (including some red chillies), I decided I would do something that would use it all up in one dish.
This sweet-savory and simple chicken dish is “die die must try!”
Marmite is one of those things that make people either wax lyrical or shudder in horror. This spread which is made from a concentrated yeast paste has a really strong smell and flavor. The Brits eat it with toast or bread. I have never eaten Marmite in that way. As a matter of fact, even though I’ve heard of Marmite and Bovril (another similar product) all my life, I have never eaten it until more recently.
And the only reason I’ve discovered it in the past few years is that it has become a common ingredient in Malaysian cooking. I remember having Marmite chicken the last time we were home in Malaysia about 4 years ago and then just recently, we ordered it again here in Kuching at a Chinese restaurant. Both times, the Marmite flavors were tempered with honey and other flavors to balance out the yeasty flavors. Somehow, the combination works in highlighting the chicken in a “cannot get enough of this” kind of way.
This healthy soup is so delicious, you’ll be begging for more!
We were having dinner in a Chinese restaurant the other day. Nate wasn’t feeling very good and so he wanted some herbal chicken soup. But the waitress said they only had two soups for that day—one was a black chicken soup and the other was this lotus root and black bean soup.
I remember that the Chinese believe that chicken is not good when you are coughing. Strange eh? I also remember another friend who had recommended black beans as a cure for coughs. So we agreed and ordered it. I told her that Nate’s throat wasn’t feeling very good and she immediately pointed to the black bean soup.
When the soup came, the whole family drank it up in no time at all. It was seriously good! The pork bones and the lotus roots were tender, the black beans were creamy and the soup was just comforting in flavor besides being very delicious. Esther actually wanted some more soup at the end when we were all done. We tried to get her to do an Oliver and go to the kitchen with her bowl and ask for more but she was too shy
We didn’t want to order another big bowl just for her so I told her I would try to make the lotus root soup for her the next day. Good thing this restaurant was next to a grocery store so I picked up some black beans and lotus roots. I already had pork bones at home so I was good to go.
Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.
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