So when I moved to Australia, I made a commitment to eat healthier and live a little healthier than I used to. It helps that fast food in Australia is a bit different as there are healthier options conveniently available compared to Manila where vegetables with your burger goes as far as fries. A salad in a fastfood joint is a dream but not here in Australia. Still, eating out is a lot more expensive than cooking in which is ALWAYS much healthier and cheaper by my book.
Anyway, back to veggies. I’m the kind of person who enjoy the little veggie servings that come in a dish. In Japan, they have a wide array of tsukemono (pickles) or okazu (side dishes) that whet my appetite. I realise that in Korean cuisine this is the same. Outside of kimchi there’s one Korean side dish that excites me — namul. I first fell in love with mungbean sprout namul called sukjunamul or moyashi namul in Japanese. After having learned how to make this, I realise that I can literally turn any vegetable I want into a namul. Thus, I was inspired by a post from one of my Korean friends who shared a photo of their dinner which had some kind of mushroom stirfry. I thought, why not? Mushroom namul sounded like a great idea.
I feel silly giving this post this title but this was how my friend, Anne from Chic-pixel, sold me on this recipe.
I can’t remember exactly how and where we were discussing this but what I do remember was that I heard her talking about roasting chicken that weekend and when I was giving her praises on how amazing she was in making chicken roast, she told me how her recipe was not difficult at all. It was in fact easy-peasy and was good enough for her husband to enjoy (and request perpetually) and one that has even passed her mother-in-law’s tastes. Caveat: Anne’s family-in-law are Chinese Malaysians so when she told me about this I was all ears. Not that other roast chicken recipes don’t matter but I trust the flavor profile of Malaysians. This roast chicken recipe must be bloody good. And it truly is.
When I was a teenager, my family partly lived in Kuala Lumpur. My father was sent by his company to Malaysia and our family shuttled in and out of that country. Living for a time in Malaysia opened my world to a different world of flavor. Suddenly, my father and I were experimenting with new cooking techniques and spices. There are some dishes which I am yet to recreate but with Malaysia so far away and with Malaysian food in Wollongong limited, I can’t help but recreate some dishes at home.
A lot has happened in a year. I can’t believe that I’ve been here in Australia for almost two years although technically I’ve actually been shuttling around here and there for the past year. 2014 was a particularly busy year for me that there was hardly any time for me to sit down and write something that’s related to this blog.
Okay. I lied there for a bit. I did write a 30++k fanfic last year and it was crazy. Feels happened. Ships happened.
But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m living quite comfortably in a new place, this time with a roommate who has benefitted from my experiments with food over the last six months. She has asked me time and time to put up the recipe here and it always slips my mind until I realised a year has passed since I’ve written anything. Hence, here I am again, trying to start anew.
For the longest time, I had seen Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Mario Batali, and them likes fry up zucchini flowers like it was nothing. It was nice and orange but I never could imagine how it tasted. I hardly ate flowers. I see a rose petal on my soup from a wedding — I take it off.
That said, it took a trip to Italy two years ago to find out that there’s something nice and lovely about this zucchini flower dish. I fell in love with the balance of the herbs, the nice gooey cheesy ricotta, and the crunch of the flowers. As soon as I got home, I was wondering how can I do it… can I even do it?
Since then, I’ve been trying to chance upon some zucchini flowers but never really managed to find anything close to it until last week when my uncle cooked pinakbet with some squash (kalabasa) flowers. It looked like the zucchini flowers but I wasn’t quite sure it would work. So I gave it a shot today and the experiment was a success. I think I’m ready to be a chef!
Fried Kalabasa flowers ala Tuscano
I took after this recipe and modified it a little to my tastes. Rather than using ricotta cheese, I mixed parmesan and quickmelt cheese. Herb choices were slim in the market but they had lovely leeks which I just minced and put it in the cheese concoction. The flowers were also smaller so I had to use lesser batter.
We had no egg this morning but I figured that if I just make a tempura-consistency for my batter, it might just work. Mix cold water with the flour, season with some salt and pepper, and voila!
This dish turned out to be a really nice, even better and crispier treat compared to what I had in Tuscany. Blame it on the tempura batter or something but in the end, it was a sublime gooey snack. It wasn’t as laborious as I had imagine either. Needless to say, my first shot at localizing something I had abroad with supplementary local ingredients worked wonders.
I’ve always been fond of Tilapia. It’s not exactly the poor man’s fish but it is a versatile fish for dishes.
You can fry it crisp, grill it, cook it in coconut milk, and in this case, steam it.
Steaming tilapia was something we do in case we get tired of eating our fish fried. It is a healthier alternative and the flavor of the fish is heightened by the ingredients in it. I for one love cooking it like this because it’s nice to suck the juices out of the tilapia head. And the beans add a bit of biting saltiness that matches quite well with the rice. More to that, prep time and cooking time takes less than 20 minutes. Beat that Rachel Ray! >w<)v
Anyway, on to the recipe!
Hee hee hee!! I think the curiosity for cooking Korean Beef Stew at home was when a friend and I were driving home on a hungry night and I found myself drooling over the thought of eating a nice warm broth of Korean Beef Stew.
Now, I got one of these cookbooks compiled by Good Housekeeping and saw a recipe for Korean Beef Stew. I’m never a beef buyer because I can never seem to cook it right. I go as far as ground beef and sirloin or breakfast strips. More than that… nu. But today, the flavor of spicy broth on a sweltering afternoon compelled to get some beef shanks and cook at a nice slow pace while I read some Kundera.
See, there was this fast food stall in Landmark named Kimchi