One of our favorite dishes in Singapore was Hainanese Chicken Rice. My friend Abby, who also was our tour guide when we were there, has been learning from her grandmother how to make this delectable and aromatic dish, so she came over to teach us.
She also taught us how to make chicken rice balls, and the girls loved getting in on the action. It looks like the simplest dish, but it is really so flavorful. It’s not really a colorful meal, but what it lacks in color, it makes up for it with the magic that happens in every bite. You eat the chicken with the rice, seriously the best rice ever, a little bit of chili sauce, ginger sauce, and dark soy sauce. It’s an amazing dish! Even as I type out this post, I’m craving it. Maybe I should change this week’s meal plan to include chicken rice.
Abby created a film about her grandmother and how to make chicken rice. The film is actually more than that; it also weaves the story of her grandmother’s making of chicken rice with Singapore’s language policies and its changes. I had the honor of being able to see Abby’s film and it was so beautifully done. You see this older woman passing a priceless gift to her granddaughter. Sure, she’s just teaching her how to cook, but there’s so much depth in it, she is passing down a part of her cultural heritage, part of her story. Now, Abby gets to take that story and mold it into her own. It made me want to go spend more time with my grandparents. In college, I recorded both of my grandparents telling me how they grew up and met, so I’m somewhat familiar with some of their stories, but I’m sure there is so much more I’m missing out on too. I need to find that cassette and keep it in a safe place, so my kids can listen to it one day.
In the film, Abby tells her grandmother, “You taught me how to cook chicken rice. This is my inheritance. This is an inheritance money cannot buy.” How precious is that inheritance indeed!
Easy Pozole. I used the recipe in Gwyneth Paltrow’s book (I shared about it here) and it is really delicious. Best of all, it’s so simple to make (and healthy!). It had been over a year since I made it last, but it was just as yummy as I remembered it. I made two batches, one for the spice lovers in the family (Ben, Brave, and me), and another much more milder batch too for the rest of them.
Woot woot! It’s my 100th official week of meal planning. When I look back in my archives, I made so many different dishes. I started this not really into cooking, not knowing much, and now I love it! Putting it out here has been great for accountability and challenging myself. I started back in March 2012 (see the first post here) and it has helped us be more intentional with our family dinners. I love serving my family in this way, but I do appreciate a break from time to time too. If you feel like cooking or meal planning is daunting, I’m living proof that it can be done. I’m not a natural chef, but I definitely think I have gotten much better with time and practice.
Ben and I went on a date on Friday night, since the girls slept over my mom and dad’s place. We have a restaurant that is our go-to place when we are in my mom and dad’s area, but I wasn’t feeling it on Friday, and wanted to try somewhere new. After yelp-ing a few things in the area, I narrowed it down to Korean sushi, ramen, or our go-to cajun seafood place. I consulted the BFF on what to do, since 1) she’s Korean and could help me figure out if we would like Korean sushi, and 2) she knows our palettes so well that she always has good recommendations. She said, “The sushi is daring, the ramen is safe, and our cajun seafood is super-safe.” Thus, we went with daring, so Dongbu Live Fish it is!
This was a small mom and pop restaurant, and I have to admit, we were a little apprehensive upon entering. It’s a small establishment, and there were these large tanks on one side, and tables on the other. The reviews on yelp were good, so we felt safe, but we had a feeling this was going to be interesting. We’ve tried a lot of Korean food, but we have never had Korean sashimi. The special thing about Korean sashimi is that it is about as fresh as it could be. I already knew what we wanted to order, so we got the small live sashimi combo to share (that was more than plenty for two people!).
The chef, I assume he was the chef, went to one of the large tanks on the other side of the room, and pulled out a live halibut. It was a moving and wriggling fish! He showed it to us, told us this was our fish (and asked if I wanted to take a picture, so I did), and then he went to the back to do his fancy slicing. In the meantime, they brought out us a salad, quail eggs, and lots of little Korean side dishes. Next, out came some soup, and the thinly sliced abalone, which they just picked fresh from the tank moments before, and some spicy buckwheat noodles. Then, our big plate of the thinly sliced halibut, and some lettuce. The BFF (and the chef) informed us, you take a slice of fish, put it in the lettuce, add some bean paste, garlic, and jalapeño, and eat it all in one bite. We were chowing down on all this deliciousness that we were both starting to get really full. As soon as I declared that I couldn’t eat anymore, they brought out rice and hot pot tofu soup. Okay, so I had a little bit of that, and proclaimed I was done. But wait! Then, they brought out grilled mackerel, and I went for a little bite to try it, but it was so good, I kept going. Next thing you know, Ben and I had devoured the mackerel and it was all gone. Ben continued eating what was left, and I was done for real. I wasn’t stuffed, but I felt good enough, and wanted to save room for dessert.
For dessert, we went to pick up some Honeymee, which was milk ice cream with pure honey drizzled all over (see here). I happily indulged in each spoonful of that cup full of joy until it was all gone. I can’t wait to introduce the girls to Honeymee, I know they’ll love it too! If you’re adventurous, I highly recommend trying Korean style sushi. It had a lot of the Korean flavors we were already used to in other dishes, so it ended up not being too new to us. What was new though, was that was the freshest fish we ever had. I mean it was alive, then 10-15 minutes later it was in our stomachs!
Wonton Soup. I made this a week or so ago when it was cold outside, and loosely followed this recipe. Doesn’t matter the weather though, I would gladly eat this soup anytime. Making wontons might appear fancy and extremely difficult, but it really isn’t. Give it a try and you’ll be surprised how easy it is!
Week of 3/16 – 3/20
Tuesday: Beans and rice
Thursday: Homemade pizza
My BFF made this for dinner with her husband, and I can’t wait to add it to our meal plan in the next couple weeks.
Soy Sauce Pan Fried Noodles. The girls devoured this dish. Next time, I want to add shrimp and more vegetables, but even without those things, this really was so yummy. Another plus, it’s easy to make too!
We have new friends coming over this week, so I think the chili is a safe dish to make. Do you have a go-to dish when you have first time guests coming over to your house?
8 cups oats
1 cup chopped nuts
4 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup canola oil (or any oil)
1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 300°F. Combine the oats, nuts, cinnamon, and salt in one bowl and mix together. Set aside. Next, combine the honey, vanilla, and canola oil together in a small bowl. Warm that bowl in the microwave for about 30 seconds (if you prefer, do it over the stovetop in a small pot). Warming it helps coat the oatmeal more, rather than the honey creating too many clumps. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and be sure to mix together well. Spread the mixture onto two baking sheets lined with foil or parchment paper, and lightly spray with cooking spray. If you like, drizzle some honey and sprinkle some brown sugar on top. Bake for about 10 minutes, then stir a bit, and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely; then, transfer to a container for storage.
I make big batches since I have a lot of mouths to feed, but if your family is smaller than ours, you might not need as much. Also, if you have nut allergies, this tastes just fine without nuts in it. In fact, I make two batches, one with nuts, and one without (for True).
The girls have been devouring it with milk every morning, and I like using it to top my plain yogurt with it (with berries!). The first time I made it, Ben kept having spoonfuls and I had to remind him to leave some for the girls. It’s mildly sweet, but if you need more sweetness, just add more honey. There’s so many other ways to change this recipe up. We want to get some sunflower seeds and put that in, or maybe even add raisins. If you’ve made granola, what other ingredients do you suggest putting in?