WITH FLAVOURS THAT WELD PERFECTLY INTO YOUR NEXT WEEK-NIGHT REGULARS
There are some women, whose problem is that they never believe they have what it takes to put together an IKEA coffee table. Then, there are those such as myself. Who hold unexplained and relentless faith in their own physical strength. Who ask, how hard can it be? Who practically built every single bed-bath-and-beyond in her apartment, with chapped unpolished nails and a can of diet coke. And who, sometimes, get cocky.
If you ask me now, I would tell you I have absolutely no idea whatsoever, on why on earth did I think I had the same skills as a professional large-scale furniture builder/wood carpenter, which must be how I felt when I bought 3 colossally humongous, solid wood, antique courtyard doors that I thought I could turn into a dinning table with nothing but a mini screwdriver? Why… why did this feel a bit different from those IKEA bookshelves with their friendly pre-drilled holes? Why? I kept asking myself the same question when I dragged this bone-crushingly heavy thing into the shower, scrubbing and rinsing off its ancient dirt that ran into the drain as black as the humour I found in all of this self-inflicted pain. Today, I can’t feel my neck.
This is the kind of day when I’m really grateful for awesome leftovers. I can only thank my foretelling self when I crawl to the fridge, dragging behind me a trail of defeat, and find a pure Macanese creation called “Portuguese sauce rice gratin”, a cheesy and bubbly seafood fried rice flooded with a light coconut milk curry and gruyere sauce then finished under the broiler, which I suspect, probably has nothing to do with Portugal. I came up with its recipe the other day, because I’ve long been curious of it. With its name being as confusing as its concept, this is one of those dishes that sounds weird but ultimately, defies all logics. It’s one of the classics on every menu of “tea restaurant” in Hong Kong, among with its peers that all came into existence under the great mashing of different cultures during colonial times. Without trying it before, you’d probably question… really? But yes. YES! The rice gratin stirs into kind of a cheesy, coconut-y, mildly curried risotto almost, and pleases all way from the taste buds down to a warmed tummy, and repeats. It is easily one of the most surprisingly delicious, can’t-stop-won’t-stop mess-on-a-plate I’ve cooked, with unlikely flavours that weld perfectly together into your next week-night regulars.
So I feed, heartily, staring into the wooden beasts with restored combativity. I will break you, I say, and sit a piping hot pan of Portuguese rice gratin on your face while I sip lemonade. You just watch…