Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Today, I cooked one of my most elaborate dish I have ever cooked. With Sam as the kitchen hand, I reminisce my sister Grace and my good friend Manchala.
When I was in Singapore, Grace was more adventurous with food. This is partly because the water engineer who was then teaching at the University was the opposite of the Chan family in our discovery of food. Grace and I would walk past Little India and secretly salivate the Indian eating their reddish concoction of lamb shank.
I told Grace that I would try to cook that dish, and bought a lot of lamb shanks from Mustafa Halah store. I went to my friend Manchala, and together, we came up with a fusion of Indian-Chinese Dish which would mask the musky smell of the lamb that the water engineer was particular about.
Manchala gave me, cumin, cardimon, fenugreek, and I went to my garden and got some lemon grass. All in all, I added 16 spices to this dish, and braised it. My friends and Grace ate it and wanted more. I didn't care whether the water engineer liked it or not.
I am invited by a Flippino friend for a pot luck dinner. In passing, J. said the Filippinoes like lamb. In my freezer was a pack of lamb shank that I had bought to have a cook out competition with my other friend J. This session was cancelled because the water engineer went gallivanting so often to Oz.
Any way, Sam counted I had twenty ingredients to make up for the lack of lemon grass. I added mint ( a touch of European), vietnamese basil. here's the rest, ginger, oionion, garlic, freshly cracked Sarawak black pepper, white pepper, whole dried chillis, tumeric, cumin, feenugreek, cinnamom bark, tomato, tomato paste, sugar, salt, five spice powder, spring onion and curry.
The verdict is in the tasting. Oh yes, you may say why not saffron. This is an expensive spice which I am using for saffron rice.
***This pack of lamb was bought at a Pakistani Halah butcher shop in Sandringham. Their meat are more choice and leaner. When I asked if he was from Aghanistan like some of my students, he said, he was Pakistani. Then he asked where I was from, I said Sarawak, he didn't quite know, and I said, Malaysia. He said, Selamat hari. I replied, Assamalakum. He asked how I knew, I said, I have Muslim students. Now, the butcher is my boyfriend. He gives me the best cuts.****