Spending our time untethering the mind, getting the fidgets out, exploring the in-between ideas, and learning kintsugi.

A cooking adventure this Lunar New Year

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A recent shipment from an online Asian grocery story. The jackfruit chips have already been explored and have been given A+ rating. We have a wonderful “east meets further east” idea for the Coconut Kaya, hold on to your hats for a few more weeks!

This Lunar New Year, we wanted to bring some Cantonese cuisine home. Many years ago, we were in Hong Kong and the memories of a breakfast congee is one we fondly recall often. We made plans to make turnip cakes (Lo Bak Go) and sticky rice lotus leaf wraps (Lo Ma Gai). Traditionally they are dim sum dish, but for novices like us, they were to be proper meals, one lunch and another dinner. It was all a little last minute and last minute plans to tend to go awry.

We identified the recipes we would follow, one was to be by Mandy Lee (No Steam Radish Cakes with XO Sauce) and another was to be by Lucas Sin (Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf). We gathered up the ingredient list to then ran into one single significant glitch – the lotus leaves (lack thereof). After some looking around, we located them at Umami Cart. We were excited!

And then, the shipment got delayed. It eventually arrived a few days after the New Year. So we had to scrap the plans of making Lo Ma Gai this Lunar New Year.

We unashamedly made substitutions while making the XO sauce. Mandy says that XO sauce is concept dish and we took that advice. We substituted the Cantonese sausages with wild boar sausage from our friendly neighborhood craft butcher, Gambrel and Co. We substituted the dried shrimps with fresh ones (previously frozen). For no other reason that sheer apprehension, we didn’t want to visit 99 Ranch Market to source Cantonese sausage and dried shrimps right before Lunar New Year. Going to 99 Ranch Market can best be described as standing at a busy Tokyo intersection. Even when there are no special occasions, the super market feels a little overwhelming with seemingly hundreds of colorful, cheerful and unfamiliar objects in every isle. Just think of our Umami Cart shipment 1000 times over.

To round out the meal, we made Vietnamese style pickled mung bean sprouts (Dua Gia) and the stir fried bok choy from Kenji’s The Wok Cookbook (Smoky Stir Fried Greens). The plate came together very nicely with a bottle of rosé and friend for company. For dessert, we stuck to some beautiful satsumas and mandarins from our neighborhood Sigona’s. The Lo Bak Go turned out heavenly, just like what Mandy had promised, crispy on the outside and melty inside.

The not to be Lo Ma Gai got substituted last minute by another gem from Mandy’s The Art of Escapism Cooking, French Quenelles Gone Mad. We have been cooking with her for a while and this otherwise complex dish became a fridge raid. Those of you who know Mandy are raising an eyebrow and giving us a look of disbelief. We also feel slightly weird even saying what we said but we did pick the recipe knowing what we had in the fridge, right?

Next year, we will enter Lunar New Year with a little more planning!

Written by locomotoring

January 27, 2023 at 7:17 pm

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