… a recipe handed down through voice, handwritten notes or inspired by your memories. The point of this month’s challenge is to step away from the internet and remember the meals cooked by our elders, family and friends.My late grandmother was a great cook, so when she passed on, my mother had big shoes to fill whenever my dad, or we all, wanted to savour one of Ah-ma's signature dishes again. Luckily, my mother always did well.
For this month's challenge, I got to thinking about dishes that made me nostalgic, turning to the digital photo album of the feast storm my mother whipped up when my parents visited us in Switzerland in Nov'08. (We moved over in May'08.)
Dare I say, I have not seen this anywhere else. It is sour and spicy, involving lardy pork, anchovies (ikan bilis, we call them), fresh green chillis, and many calamansi (small and green limes).
As a child, come dinner prep time, I used to idle away in the kitchen, just to be in the company of my grandmother and/or mother and/or visiting aunts. One of the tasks I remember doing was squeezing the halved little limes into a bowl. I never used the cleaver, though. Those giant chopping knives are scary.
Before I go farther off tangent, this was what I did to recreate this unique dish, with the curious assistance of certain furry beings.
I replaced pork with chicken, and to veggie-fy it, I added carrots.
With no calamansi, I used bottled lemon juice.
Just winging, I assumed it involved the usual stir fry suspects of garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
Feeling confident, I cooked it in 3 steps, creating a stew, almost, with lots and lots of lemon juice.
Come taste time, it was wrong. So very, very wrong.
Visually, it looked wrong too.
It still was edible, but just not the way I remembered it to be:
the chillies need to be crunchy and spicy, the sauce was sour and salty,
ikan bilis were smaller and less imposing to the taste...
And each ingredient should hold their own taste. Hmm.
Let's re-examine the photo of my mother's cooking again:
Rest assured I will remember this key ingredient for the next time.
These cooks must have had better luck than I did:
Lucent Imagery (cooking club founder) ¦ From River's Edge ¦ Bakery Bookery ¦ Down by the Sea ¦ Explody Full ¦ Under Lock & Key ¦ Christa to the Max ¦ Juanita Tortilla