Making do and getting it done

My previous post is about cookbooks and how I had found them ineffective where I’m concerned. Along the way, I also said I’m astounded at the wide popularity of Asian cookbooks, especially those by Singapore cooks.

Which reminds me of the occasional recipe I’ve put up in old blogs that have long bitten the dust.

I managed to locate one from the mist of cyberspace. In essence, the recipe reflects my approach to cooking.

I believe anyone can cook. Perhaps not like a 3-star Michelin chef but certainly good enough to produce dishes for oneself and/or for others.

Alas, most people don’t believe this and so rob themselves of a most delicious life experience, perhaps even closing off a lane to fame and fortune.

This recipe also shows that I’m a great believer in making do — that is, don’t fuss if you don’t have all the ingredients you need for a particular recipe. A philosophy I eat and live by: hence when life hands me a lemon, I make lemonade; if it’s an orange, I make orange juice and if it’s grape, I make wine or vinegar. The choice is MINE.

All right, after that preamble here is the recipe for a rice dish I rustled up one day.

I wanted to make salt fish rice. Mother said there’s no salt fish at home. But there is chicken breast. OK, I said, let’s make chicken breast rice then. She demurred.

I suggested she checked with the kedai lady downstairs. She doesn’t sell salt fish, my mother declared. Have you ever asked her? No? Well, ask her, OK?

Mum did and found that the kedai woman did sell salt fish, though not of the kind needed to cook salt fish rice.

I persuaded her it didn’t matter. Salt fish is salt fish. OK? Since we had the chicken breast as well, I decided we might as well make chicken breast salt fish rice.

for two. For more, increase, proportionally.
Uncooked rice, washed and allowed to dry.
50-80gm gm of salt fish, any kind will do. Wash and dry well. Slice thinly, if possible.
Half a chicken breast (more if you’re feeling greedy), slice thinly as well, if possible.
A knob of ginger, doesn’t matter if old or young. Cut into strips.
Sesame oil.

Heat a pan or pot. Some people would insist on a kwali or a frying pan, but I use whatever comes in handy, which is usually a Corningware dish. Put in sesame oil and ginger. Fry till ginger is giving out ginger fragrance. Add salt fish and chicken. Continue stirring and then add rice. This process should take no more than 10 minutes.

Transfer everything to the electric rice cooker. (That’s what I do, but you have the option of keeping everything in the pan, pot or whatever you’re using to do the stir frying in).

Add some hot water or better still some stock or some left over white wine that’s no longer good for drinking. Or a blend of all three. Cook till rice is soft and and fluffy and all the ingredients are well blended.

Serve (temperature) hot!


One thought on “Making do and getting it done

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