Thursday, November 6, 2008

Are you sitting down?

Okay, it's not a dream or nightmare, depending on how well you know me, but my sister Hong is doing what many have tried over the many years to do in my life. Yup, I'm learning to cook, the Chinese way with a little bit of a Malaysian theme.

One of the reasons that I'm doing this, is because cooking with the wok is delicious and very quick and according to Hong very easy. Clearly she hasn't seen me in a kitchen. By the way, the word wok is Cantonese and not Chinese. The Chinese word for wok is guo(1). Since she is moving back to Malaysia, I am picking her brains before she leaves us to embark on a new journey.

Yes, we will definitely miss her, but that's another blog for another day.

I can hear you already Nancy, "you know how many times I have tried to give you quick easy meals?'" Yes, I know, but somehow with more time on my hands and trying to immerse myself in the Chinese culture, it seems appropriate.

So over the course of the next few weeks, the quest is to teach me a few dishes, such as garlic prawns, sweet and sour pork, stir fried rice, steamed fish, and anything else drums up in that little mind of hers. She is a patient sort, I will give her that!

First thing Monday we made our way to the local market. Here we picked up the necessary vegetables and chicken needed for our dishes. Siew was very good with telling me which stalls to go for the various items. It was a zoo, much more so than usual. That's because everyone goes first thing in the morning, when produce is fresh and abundant. It's also more expensive.

We hit the stores to pick up the spices and then we went for coffee to discuss our plan of action and for me to take notes.

We made (or I should say Hong made) two dishes, one was a quick chicken stir fry, and the other was stir fry noodles. I was her little helper bee. She gave me the recipe step by step, but didn't give me the exact measurements. You just know, she says. Great, that's coming from someone who is a chef. I would like to actually make something that Mark can eat I protest. Don't worry she declares. Mark you are a trouper!

Okay, we chopped up lots of vegetables and garlic. Lots and lots of garlic. That should keep dracula or most of our friends away! We started marinating the chicken, prepared the wok, and then added all the ingredients. I asked, how much of this or that and the response? Oh, one or two drops of this, a little bit of that, a dab of this. Define a dab I. I don't know, she says. Okay, are we talking a teaspoon or tablespoon? Yea, maybe a teaspoon, no, maybe two. Don't worry just add until you like the flavour. Oh brother.

Second dish, stir fry noodles. Prepare the wok again, and then add your noodles and vegetables. Again, a big ol' guess as to how much of each ingredient you add. Add spice to taste and you are set. All done she declares! Mmm, are you going to let me try and cook this I ask? Next time, Apparently even the chef didn't trust me, so next week we shall attempt this on my own.

Mark was the lucky recipient of these dishes. I figured we had enough for two days. That was before Mark ate all of it. Somehow I think next week when it's my turn, there may be leftovers!


Anonymous said...

OK, I just finished reading your blog… Good thing I took your advice and sat down first! That is actual food you are dealing with! Not just bread and peanut butter! I think that’s great!!! You never know, you may learn to like it! I can just see it….when you come back to North America , you will open a Bed and Breakfast, and be the cook!! (Maybe not).

Margaret said...

I am running out to purchase a wok so you can cook for us when you are home over the holidays!!!!!

Tina said...

I wouldn't rush out so quickly to by that wok.

I have to practice on Mark first, and that might take years.

Margaret said...

I had a feeling you would tell me that! Although I think his Grandfather Poppie might have a wok tucked away at his house . . . . so if you feel the urge to cook while here, we can look for it! (Just kidding)

Mark said...

Sure, you can look for it - but I don't think that you'd be able to find it by Christmas.... I know how much of a pack rat he is and how cluttered the house is.