I was introduced to kacang pool only very recently, near the end of our stay in Kuching. My friends, who grew up in West Malaysia, and who knew this dish well, wanted to introduce this dish to us. My friend JY told us that kacang pool (as it is called in Malaysia) was derived from the Middle Eastern dish known as foul medammas, which was made from fava beans.
It was served with a sunny side egg and a side of buttered toast. All of that was great to sop up the runny egg and sauce of this dish. That day, as I was eating it, I thought it reminded me very much of American chilli but with some slightly different spices perhaps.
I have always wanted to make a Fattoush salad ever since I was introduced to it many, many years ago in Michigan by a friend. The salad looked so simple and yet the tangy blend of spices caused my flavor receptors to just burst out singing. The basic Fattoush salad recipe starts with leftover pita bread that has been baked till they are crunchy, tossed with lettuce and other ingredients in a citrusy dressing. The a key ingredient in the tangy Fattoush salad dressing is a Middle Eastern spice called Sumac.
Recently, when I went looking at the International Food Bazaar for ingredients to make a simple tahini and date syrup dip (which a friend had introduced to me), I ended up also finding Sumac. I did not hesitate to grab the sumac I found and that very week, I made Fattoush salad.
Annie’s extended family on her father’s side is from George Town, Penang, and every timewe’ve goneto visit, we stayed with family. Usually, that meant staying with Annie’s godparents, her uncle and aunt. They are such hospitable and kind folks, and we always loved spending time with them.
Staying at their place is pretty cool because it’s in a relatively quiet neighborhood, but with quick access to some main roads if we want to go somewhere. We could be sitting at home, chatting (usually about where we want to go eat) and the next minute be on our way out for some assam laksa, char kway teow, or nasi kandar.
The neighborhood itself is very walkable. Many times I just take my camera and go wandering off in one direction, looking for neat stuff to snap. It was on one of these jaunts that I came upon a fence that was completely covered in this dense vine, bearing these incredibly blue flowers:
We’ve been back in San Jose for a few days now, and we are slowly getting over the jet lag (not easy when there’s a 16 hour time difference between here and Malaysia). It’s been pretty smooth so far, thanks in large part to our good friends who helped to ease us back in. I got a head cold the first day back, and experienced some troubling heart palpitations as well, but they couldn’t stop me from taking us out to our favorite Saturday morning destination: the farmer’s market at West Valley College in Saratoga, CA.