I recently heard a lady say “I don’t cook. Hardly step into the kitchen, i don’t even know how to fry an egg!” Perhaps some women see cooking as a demeaning domestic act of submission but I see cooking in a more wholesome light.
I’m not saying everyone has to be a gourmet chef but to me, cooking stems from a natural desire to nourish yourself and a way to show love to your family & friends, a way of bringing people together. Almost everyone would have fond memories of your favourite dish and very often made by your mother or grandma. For me, growing up with a nonya grandma, food & cooking was a way of life. She brought up her children by selling home-made curry powder which she would painstakingly grind/blend from scratch. My fondest childhood memory was helping her seal the curry powder packets by melting it gently over a candle flame. It would be just us, sitting on the kitchen floor, doing just that. Life was so simple then.
I grew to love & respect food, not just from restaurants but more so the food lovingly prepared by love ones. When a mother cooks for a child, it originates from the very basic maternal instinct to nourish. A mother cooking for her child, a wife making dinner for her husband, a grandma making chicken porridge for her sick grandchild, preparing a meal is like saying “i love you” on a daily basis and that is, to me, the essence of cooking.
The comfort food of my childhood was Chicken Curry. I regret not have learnt how to make them from my poh poh (who was famous for her curries!) so I’ve to make do with finding one on the net. The recipe below looks pretty decent and would give it a go if I can find the ingredients here in Sydney.
Photo & recipe from http://rasamalaysia.com/chicken-curry-recipe/
Chicken Curry Recipe
1 1/2 lb boneless chicken thigh and/or breast (cut into small cubes/pieces)
2 lemon grass (cut into 4-inch lengths, use only the white part, pounded)
6-8 pieces kaffir lime leaves
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt to taste
1 1/2 inch galangal
1/2 lb fresh red chili (seeded and sliced)
5 shallots (sliced)
1 inch ginger
6 candlenuts (soaked in warm water)
1/2 inch fresh turmeric
1/4 teaspoon belacan (fermented shrimp paste)
- Blend all spice paste ingredients to a very fine paste.
- Heat up some cooking oil in a work and stir-fry paste until aromatic or a thin layer of oil rises to the top.
- Add chicken and continue stirring until it’s almost cooked.
- Add the coconut milk and continue to simmer for another 15-20 minutes, over low heat.
- Add salt to taste and serve hot.
Eat it with loads of french loaves warmed slightly in the oven. Heaven!