Friday, October 03, 2008

How Do You Know When You Need A Chiropractor?...Lotus Root Soup and other little mumblings

Oh my back! My back! At times like these, I just wish I had a giant hot towel to lay over my back and un-knot all the twistie ties. Damn, it feels terrible and I'm miserable! Perhaps I need a chiropractor???

Nobody is working today and the roads were free as a jaybird (ooops, the saying is 'naked as a jaybird'?) Well, whatever. I'm just glad it was empty and I got to leave the house later and snatch a couple more zzzs.

So, more on my cooking adventures! On Monday night, I cooked my favourite thing in the whole wide world (among others hahahahah) - lotus root soup or 'leng ngau theng' as Hokkiens would call it. I rushed all the way to Tesco to buy the spare ribs and lean meat and then couldn't find anything else in the horde that was in Tesco (well, who asked me to go on Sunday…and just a few moments before Hari Raya right? Serves me right!) So I gave up on the lotus root and red dates and released my dream of beautiful soup…..But lo and behold, JH took me to the Taman Megah pasar malam (night market) on Sunday evening and I managed to find - miracle of miracles!!!! - lotus root! No red dates but I also got the 'ju hoo' ummmm….dried cuttlefish that was crucial to giving the soup its taste.

I actually called mum to check on whether the prices for the ingredients were about right since I've never really bought anything at a market before and wouldn't know how to bargain in Cantonese anyway! She chastised me for buying too much lotus root but then I knew I had a hunger for those things so wasn't fretting too much about it! And then on Monday night, I set about to making the soup - first I had to boil 2, read that, TWO pots of water because I didn't have a big enough pot for my abundant ingredients! (Mum was right, go figure!)

Then I had to wash my lotus root and clean the outer 'skin'/layer off - they were gorgeous with no mud in the little holes at all! And before I finished that, of course the water boiled so I took some and blanched my pork ribs and meat so that they wouldn't leak bloody water all into me soup! Urrghhh! That took some time and I had to boil some more water to refill the pot. I also quickly washed the cuttlefish and then boiled it with the meat. Finished slicing up my lotus root and then dumped it all in. I added some MSG (yalah, people cooking at home shouldn't be using MSG but what the heck) so then I let it boil a bit more before setting it to simmer.

Simmered and simmered for 1.5 hours while I kept getting up and walking to the kitchen to check on the flame - have to make sure it doesn’t go out and then have gas fumes knocking me unconscious! And after 1.5 hours, I couldn't take it anymore and stopped the boiling! Eeh, at first, without any salt - it was BAD - but then added salt and it was gooooodddd..

I had a bowl-ful myself that very first night - thought the cuttelfish was a bit strong - I put too many pieces in-lah…..but by the secnd night, yumyum yummmm!!!!! It was gorgeous - the flavours had fully come out and the whole soup was steeped in a robust smell and taste - well, basically it tasted, looked and smelled right - like Mum used to cook it - so I am happy!

I couldn't possibly finish it all on my own especially with the girls threatening to cut me off if I didn't go out to dinner with them on Tuesday night so I carted a whole potful over to JH's. It was a big HIT! Even the maid loved it!

So I'm getting better and am really happy! Still can't for the life of me cook stuff like 'pulut ikan' and 'asam laksa' or even a simple oriental chicken dish but it's a GIANT step in the right direction!!!!

Pat on MY back please!

Pork 11.00
Lotus Root 6.00
Dried Cuttlefish 2.80

(PS I tried to find some pics of the net to show everyone what lotus root looks like but the nice ones I found had copyrights - so I guess from now on, I shall just do what every self-respecting blogger does - take my own pics! Hhahhahahahah - Look out readers - Fujifilm Hell!!!!!!)

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