lemongrass Tag

TURMERIC BUTTER CHICKEN RICE

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WHEN YOU RELEASE THE CHICKEN-BAG WITH A SCISSOR OVER THE BED OF COCONUT RICE, ALMOST LIKE GOD-SENT, A STREAM OF PROMISED GOLDEN LIQUID WILL PERCOLATE FREELY INTO EVERY THIRSTY GRAIN OF HAPPINESS THAT YOU’LL ALMOST HEAR THEM PURR.

Hey, I own a shit load of cookbooks, I do.  And I’m not saying it isn’t a problem.  Especially when it’s become a very common first remark that people make when they visit our apartment, noticing from the ungoverned stacks that seem to occupy every flat surfaces of every able furnitures, evidently overrunning our shelving-space that is already working its double-layer capacity.  And my worst fear is that before long, Jason has to kindly ask Thomas Keller to scooch over before he can “relieve” himself, if you see what I mean.  So yeah, there is an issue there.  But you know, I guess it could be reasonably understood.  I mean, for someone like me and for what I sort of do, I guess, it makes sense.  What doesn’t make sense, at all, is that for someone who owns this many cookbooks, I have almost never cooked a recipe from any one of them.  And I mean never, except maybe once but not really, ok?  Because I can’t follow instructions.  Period.  Now this is really bizarre.  For one, I create recipes and expect people to follow them explicitly all the time.  But if you didn’t, don’t fret it, because guess what?  Ha!  I can’t follow a recipe for a damn either!  It’s really more of a severe birth-defect than anything else, like the other day when I absolutely made up my mind that for the first time ever in my cooking life, even if it kills me, I was going to execute a recipe like how the creator had intended, and yet, I still derailed.

The particular recipe that I owe my grave apology to, is the turmeric-rubbed chicken from Eat With Your Hands Cookbook.  Now I have to give myself some credit here.  At first try, I really did manage to change ONLY HALF of the recipe!  Instead of roasting the turmeric-rubbed chicken over lemongrass and coconut milk, I decided it was in both of our best interest to do it over a bed of lemongrass and coconut rice.  The urge of putting a “sponge” underneath a grease-dripping hot body overruled my determination to obey, so I’m sorry for that.  But for the other half of the recipe, including rubbing the chicken with turmeric butter and letting it sit for 24hours, I followed painstakingly.  But the thing is, have you ever tried rubbing butter over the skin of a chicken?  Try sticking a piece of lard on a teflon surface to get a feel of it.  It’s practically impossible!  They just don’t bond!  And even though the butter is sufficiently seasoned, the “emulsion” prevents the seasoning from seeping into the chicken, even after the whole 24 hours of it.  So at the second try, it became inevitable, that in spite of my best effort, I had to sabotage the recipe completely.

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HOW SWEET’S BB-SHOWER! MOM’N BABE SPICY SAMBAL SUB

 

IF THERE’S ANY SHOT AT PRE-DETERMINED HAPPINESS IN LIFE,

IT WOULD BE TO ACQUIRE A TASTE FOR SPICY FOODS… EARLY IN THE WOMBS

OH relax, it’s not for me.  This is for Jessica.

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Some 2.5 years ago, voluntarily jobless and air-dropped to a place where I found mostly disagreements, I fled into the universe of food-blogosphere shielded behind self-loathing, desperation, and above all, in an impenetrable armour of cynicism.  In the mist of not knowing what to expect, I kindly assured myself that there’d be absolutely nothing, not a cunning whiff of hope, don’t you dare, that could pull me out of the comfort of negativity.  I was going to cook, record, and wither anonymously into early menopause.

Some 2.5 years later, this universe has turned out to be more unpredictable than I thought.  Not fame, not money, not even a humble sense of accomplishment that came, but from this most unexpected of places, I found… a group of friends.

Friends whom I have never met, never actually talked to, whom I don’t know a lot or any personal details of, but more genuine, generous and sincere than most I’ve actually met in real life.  Stranger friends, like Jessica.

Jessica is, for the lack of better words, an odd number by normal standards.  Nowadays when the mere act of holding the door for the people behind you can feel troublesome, it takes more than cultivating social relationships to offer compliments or helps to total strangers.  But Jessica is kind of girl who, out of the mere kindness to inform, would write you an email, a full email, to offer encouragement and support.  This is for her and many other dear strangers, whom I would never have the pleasure to call friends, if I hadn’t started this url.

So when I was invited to join Jessica’s awesome cyber baby shower, it wasn’t excitement or party-fever that I felt.  Instead, I felt touched.  Touched, in an unconventional yet familiar kind of way, that I’m considered part of an awesome community.  More than an assignment, this is the first time actually, that I wanted to contribute to a party.

But enough about me.  Let’s trash up this party real good.

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DIRTY THAI FRIED RICE

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IF YOU DON’T DO IT, SOMEBODY WILL

EVEN though, for quite a while now, you and I have been sort of sitting inside a semi-private room, staring at each other and talking about what I ate yesterday… when it comes to predicting what you would actually like to eat, sadly, I’ve got very little clues.  As a matter of fact, for the sake of honesty and sanity, I spent a great deal of obsessive and compulsive effort not to think too much about that.  Instead I try to say, or at least most of the times, that hey look, if it hasn’t already, this is the kind of stuff that will make your world a much more exciting and tastier place.

I can’t say I’ve been completely frank… I was too afraid that this rom would look like a swimming pool inside a Pig’s soft parts, but on the other hand, striking the balance has proven to be tricky.  After all, convincing people to watch someone downing a tripe stew on TV, vs to make it themselves at home, is two completely different things.

But lately, I came across a recipe that, I believe, could be the great missing link.

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THAI HERBS AND PORK SALAD

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I’m determined to get a life during this Labour Day long weekend so let me quickly leave you with this.  Best.  Damn.  “Salad”.  You’ll.  Ever.  Have.  Period.  Period.

HOW COULD IT BE?  OH WAIT, IT’S THE PORK.

It’s a recipe I developed for Food52’s column “Half Way to Dinner“, and initially I didn’t write any measurements down because I wasn’t sure how open you guys would be towards a “ground pork salad”.  But it turned out, a few request for it came in and so I made it again the other night… and again… and again…

I was incandescently happy being lost in a sea of gushing green that I got confused for a moment.  How could be?  What’s happened to me?  The flavour between a few thinly sliced shallots, splashes of fish sauce and lime juice is practically addictive no matter what you mix it with, but still… am I a “salad” person now?  Oh wait… there’s the ground pork… lots of it.  Actually.  Well forget what I said then.

Best.  Damn.  “Meat salad”.  Ever.  Period.

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ANDY WRECKER GREEN CURRY MEATBALLS

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Let’s all be honest here.  Yes.  Including those of us who say we love to cook, and would ferociously defend the legitimacy of home-making Turkish kofta platter, Taiwanese gua bao, or even Italian duck prosciutto, once in a blue moon at least, let’s not kid ourselves.  In practicality, the song and dance of travelling to exotic and exhilarating corners of the world through a dialogue in our own kitchen is, most of the time, only romantic in theory.  At the end of the day, if you are any lucky, the flaming urge for such adventures mostly gets put out by a take-out menu amidst a stack of its own kind, that quietly settles in a kitchen drawer with can-openers and plumber-contacts.  Authentic, or not authentic.  Good, or no good.  Doesn’t matter.

That’s what normal people do.

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tummy yumyum tomato soup

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Who here shares a rooted enthusiasm for heads raise their hands (… what?).  To an undiscriminating extend on varieties, I love all types of heads (… what did I say?…), duck, fish, chicken, whatever.  Not that there’d be a fight but I seize it from the table at every encounter, nose-up thinking I am the only person in the party who knows what.  I’m a head-snob.  And on behave of myself, I’m filing a complaint towards America where under-informed citizens don’t appreciate heads, or serve enough of them (I think I hear agreement of some sort…).  I go quietly fury especially when I see shrimps heads being discarded on their plates, thinking they must be CRAZY passing that intense creamy foie-gras of-the-sea that’s just one loud sucking away.  Tsk tsk tsk… unworthy of a good head.

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Thai-style Green Pesto

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The demonic cold that has left me muted lingers…  In my thirty-some years of exceedingly LOUD life I was never able to prove that “silence isn’t louder than words” until yesterday when I tried to instruct the mailman on the phone to simply leave the package by the front door.  “…eeev….eeeh… by… eh… oore…”.  “Excuse me, miss?”.  “(regrouping my voice)… Leeeee… ehh by… UUH.. OOOORE…UH!”.  That went on for a few moments but I got the job done…  Even though my head feels like a loaf of stale bread brined in flaccid cola then baked in a 375ºF oven which will eventually turn into an inedible pudding…, a warm message from a D.ear reader gave me a shot of medical positivism and reminded me that, no matter how small and insignificant, I have a recipe to share.

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