Sunday, May 18, 2008

Guess what's for dinner, honey

In my modest family, my dad was the deft one in the kitchen. With a tendency to make things up as he went along, the end product was almost always mouthwatering. Although I still have my doubts as to whether the white vinegar that he once added into his fried rice really did anything for the dish.

My dad's expertise in the kitchen of course relegated mom to being the less celebrated chef. In all honestly, the subtle flavours of her milder Chinese specialties were mostly lost on her kids who grew up fishing out curry leaves out of their plates every makan time. Be it the humble sardine sambal to curry chicken or tumeric cabbage, the flavourful spices that is my dad's heritage permeated our senses and flavoured our childhood.

Nevertheless mom, to her credit and our enjoyment, did have a secret up her sleeve. One that was handed down to me when I was 15. It was for my Home Economics cooking exam and did I ace that one. And it is for posterity and as homage to my mom and all that is wholesome and nostalgic about growing up in a keen kitchen, I share this with the world.

Sambal Udang
200g medium prawns
3/4 cup coconut milk
Salt to taste
1/4 cup tamarind juice
3 table spoons cooking oil

To be pound to a paste
4 dried chillies
4 red chillies
8 shallots
1 lemon grass

Heat oil. Over a small flame, saute the pounded ingredients until fragrant. Add the santan, salt and tamarind juice and allow to boil. Add a little water if necessary.The add prawns and viola, comfort food at its simplest.

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