A Fishy Meal
In these lock down days, I get one trip out of the house (aside from exercise) a week. To the supermarket.
I approach such an event with salivating joy (need to get my napkin out sometimes). The anticipation is so great that days before my visit, at night I find myself dreaming of what I might find. My heart pines for the neatly stacked shelves of happiness and engagement face to face (but at least 3 metres away) with other human beings. In such a stimulating environment, I must be careful not to lose myself.
In any case, in my latest trip, I saw a few choice cuts of fish that looked particularly tantalising. They almost seemed to gently whisper to me “pick me, pick me, pick me…”. With such entreaties, I thought it would be criminal not to listen. This is how the idea of the below germinated.
Pan fried sea bass in soya sauce and sesame oil with minced ginger and garlic topped with spring onion. I have come to realise that minced ginger can add a very welcome dimension to cooking. I use to think that it was only garlic which was the bedrock of Cantonese cuisine but now I will add ginger to that list. This was succulent pan fried sea bass, with a topping of green onion/garlic/ginger on top. Fulsome taste on top of flaky clean flesh. It tasted almost as good as it looked. Most importantly, it was oh so very satisfying.
Egg omelette with spring onion, pepper and salt. Simple and with uncomplicated flavours, this is one dish that takes me back to my childhood. It is amazing what salt can do to a dish. Also less exciting what too much can do but let’s not go there.
Fried courgettes with soya sauce and mirin. To finish the trio of dishes, is some delectable courgettes fried simply with soya sauce and cooking wine. The interplay of salt, sweet and the courgettes themselves makes something rather good.
Jasmine rice. When people come by to visit me (in the pre-COVID days), some of the western ones would point and stare in curiosity at a big machine in my kitchen. I would explain that this is where the rice magic happens. They would reply that you could just pop it in the microwave or boil it in a bag! Over my dead body. After they took a bite of this, they would understood my ardour over this machine.
Altogether, my lunch. With gen mai cha on the side to complete the meal.
So the above gives you a glimpse of a Chinese seafood meal at my home. I comfort myself (here self talk helps rather than being a sign of a crazy person) that I am not really missing out that much in the world at large. Sure, there are great things to eat outside but are they really that much better than what you can get at home (don’t correct me by popping my bubble). Instead I console myself that if it can’t be at eateries, I am limited to the number of exterior excursions, I can do the next best thing. Have it at home.
What’s best is it gives me an excuse to go grocery shopping again. Who would have thought that so tedious a chore could bring so much joy. Now where did I put my vacuum cleaner…