Bake Someone Happy !
This is without a doubt, an outlier of a blogpost.
The “bake” component has been largely absent lately as we three generations of bakeslaves have been battling a continuous vicious cycle of influenza, and no amount of chocolate disguised in a cake could pick me up (shocking revelation, I know. It’s those sedative antihistamines I tell you. Blunts everything.).
We’ve been nursing bowls and bowls of homemade chicken broth ad nauseum.
Not that I don’t like chicken broth (What’s in ours? Chook, carrots, celery, garlic, onion, old cucumber, tomatoes) – but honestly, keep a Malaysian away from anything hot and spicy for even a day, and it feels like a right full-on internal anarchy going on.
Nothing like a good whack of smoking-hot sambal to clear one’s head (and sinuses)! Having said that, I don’t think the offspring would appreciate an early education on the virtues of birds’ eye chillies and belacan.
Which brings me to this post; we’ve been subsisting on a mainly soft/liquid diet for the past week, so to break the monotony (and to educate the offspring about another diverse food offering), I picked up a lotus root from the grocer’s.
The ubiquitous lotus root is usually found locally in Chinese cuisine. It is crunchy and yet nuttier than jicama. Think of it as a perfect backup singer to a dish – it completes but doesn’t compete. Lotus roots are a nice foil to the usual carrots/celery combo. For my simple stir-fry, I had mangetout (snow peas) and carrots. A stir-fry is the easiest thing anyone with two left thumbs can do; just make sure you have a good sized pan (or better, a wok) so that the ingredients are not crowded, and that the oil is smoking hot before you start. (Learn more about stir-fry tips and get the book Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge by Grace Young)
Once I got the sunflower oil to smoking, I sauteed red onion and ginger (and once the onions were translucent, added in the garlic). The carrots were the first one in the pan, then the lotus roots. The stir-fry is all about eyeballing the ingredients in your pan. Depending on how hot your wok/pan is, you will be able to tell when it is “done”. Having said that, a quick sample of a crunchy nugget of lotus root will also work.
The mangetout were the last to be added, as these cook through very quickly. Season with salt and a dash of white pepper.
This, in its simplest form, is a straightforward stir-fry. You could jazz it up with a bit of lovely hoisin sauce, or salty black beans. Better still, smoking-hot sambal belacan!
Patting myself on my back for getting through this blogpost without a dribbly sneezing fit.
In spite of massive doses of chlorpheniramine. Hurrah for spellcheck!