Before I knew how to cook, my go-to meal was stir fry. My mom makes stir fry all the time, so that's what she sort of attempted to teach me in high school. I remember trying to cook for myself back when I was trying to get more fit and lose my freshman 40. I used Nerd Fitness and referenced their chicken stir fry blog post. I think people have this notion that stir fry is super easy. Whenever I look at stir fry recipes online, they give me cook and prep times of 15 minutes. What a fast meal!
...lies. They're all lies. Stir fry takes forever. I have to cut vegetables and meat. If you're new to cooking, you're probably new to chopping. You also should be stir frying food at high heat. High heat is not good for beginners. Also, what beginner cook has a giant wok available? If you use your standard 10 or 12 inch pan, your veggies are going to fly everywhere and hot things are going to smack you in the face.
But I guess I'm past being a beginner. I'm okay with using high heat again. I am still kind of slow at prep work though. I made this Chicken and Thai Basil Stir Fry about a week ago. I don't remember when I started prepping (maybe 8?), but it was 9:30pm when I finally had my meal ready. I know, I was just being slow.
It was good though! I always enjoy a good stir fry meal.
Last Sunday I made some fried rice.
I needed an easy, filling meal for a lazy Sunday and I figured this Chinese Sausage Fried Rice 腊肠炒饭 recipe would be good for this. In Teochew, I think I would tell my family I ate 炒饭合腊肠 (cha beung gat lat chiang).
There was a decent amount of prep work involved, so it took a while, but it was easy.
I think I may have had more rice than I needed. The recipe called for 5 cups of cooked rice, which is the most unhelpful measurement since I needed to cook the rice first and I have no idea what the ratio of "uncooked rice cooker cups" is to "cooked rice measuring cup cups". I used 3 cups of uncooked rice cooker cups, and I think I should have at least doubled the sauce.
But overall, this was a good meal that I would definitely make again. The best part of this was definitely the crunchy bits of rice at the bottom of the pan. If I have extra time, I'll reheat this again on the stove, which makes it even better.
Just like my mother, I had to add some sriracha to top this off. Well, not exactly like my mother. She would have had this swimming in hot sauce.
Today I cooked lunch for my dad. I'll be honest, this stressed me out. My aunt told me I should make something for him, but I had no idea what to cook. I honestly don't know what my dad likes to eat besides burgers, noodles, and coconut macaroons. Work has exhausted me and stressed me out, and I didn't want to think about making a meal. But I had to.
So I went through my food blog. My whole food blog. And I settled on a couple of stir fry dishes: Thai Basil Chicken and Sauteed Green Beans and Eggplant. I made a grocery list and we went to the Korean store. And you know what happened? They were completely out of basil and green beans! So I was freaking out, trying to think of a Plan B, but then my dad said we could stop at a different Asian grocery store.
Okay, so it's already past 1pm, and I'm starting to prep for lunch. I've gotta chop up green beans, eggplant, bell pepper, garlic, onion, ginger, and chicken. I'm really slow. I don't think I actually started cooking until after 2pm. But if my 大姑 (dua go) were here she'd say "Oh, it must be snowing!" because I never cook around my dad's family and they live in the south.
It's one thing to cook in your own kitchen. It's another thing to cook in a kitchen you're unfamiliar with. I know, it's my dad's kitchen. I should be more familiar with it. But neither his stove nor his oven have any numbers on them! I have no idea where "medium heat" is. I couldn't even really use measuring spoons.
But, I made it work. I'm happy. My dad liked the food.
In my quest to finish using up all of my cabbage, I decided to make some Singapore noodles. (Apparently I associate cabbage with Singapore noodles) I've made this a few times using a recipe on Budget Bytes, but I don't love the way she says to prep the noodles, so I decided to check out The Woks of Life. I settled on their Vegetarian Singapore Noodles recipe, since I've been lacking vegetables in my diet lately.
And there were a lot of veggies in this! So many veggies that I think it took me about 45 minutes to prep for this dish. I realized that I don't know how to julienne carrots. I was slicing them with a knife in probably the most inefficient way possible. I gotta watch a youtube video on this for next time.
I also realized that I had way more cabbage than I thought I did! And I already thought I had a lot of cabbage. The recipe calls for 6 oz, and I definitely had more than that. I also don't think I know the right strategy for cutting up Taiwanese cabbage either. Cabbage was flying everywhere as I was cutting it. As I was dumping all the veggies in my pan, I decided to only put half the cabbage in, so now I still have more cabbage that I need to use up.
All in all, it took me 1 hour, 20 minutes to make this, which is 20 more minutes than the actual recipe says. I blame at least ten of those minutes on the fact that this recipe calls for salt. That was weird. I never put straight salt in my Asian food. It's always some sort of sauce that gives it that saltiness. And as I was pouring my salt into a bowl, I realized that I was low on salt. So I look for the big container of salt, because of course I have more salt. I looked in every cabinet, and turns out, I'm COMPLETELY OUT OF SALT. How in the world did I run out of salt?!
(I'm having a deja vu moment. I'm pretty sure I suddenly ran out of salt when my sister was here earlier this year. How the heck do we use up so much salt? But I'm only out of normal salt. I still have garlic salt, seasoning salt, and that pink himalayan salt that everyone just happens to stock in their kitchen for some weird reason.)
In the end, I'd say these noodles were alright. 3/5. They're not bad, but I really should have used soy sauce instead of salt. There was actually a comment in the original recipe that questioned why this didn't have soy sauce. I should have listened more to that commenter.