Tuesday, October 20, 2009

edogawabashi kitchen

Now that Imm has already returned to Malaysia, albeit reluctantly, that leaves only Aishah in the Edogawabashi house. But she's not really alone, as 2 other grrls moved in almost immediately after we left. I used to joke about how the place should be called the Malaysian House instead.

My first 2 housemates were guys, one from America, the other from China. They hardly cooked, so I was quite happy to have the kitchen to myself. When Adam left, a Spanish-Japanese grrl moved in. Being on a tight budget, she too cooked rather often. It has been really interesting watching other people cook and learning a thing or two from them, especially if they are from different continents.

I especially enjoyed the time in Niigata when there was only a single shared kitchen in each dormitory. The kitchen was where everyone gathered for a break in between classes, catch up on gossips (not surprising since the community consisted only of us graduate students), bragged about whose workload was more/grades were higher, and more interestingly, where we swapped recipes and tips on how to cook.

When Imm and Aishah moved in, little did I know that we would spend half, if not more, of our time in the kitchen. Us being Malaysians, that meant our pastime was eating. We cooked all sorts of Malaysian dishes all the time. Or rather, our own interpretation of Malaysian food since authentic ingredients were hard to come by.

The availability of certain foodstuff sold on online shops gave us the ability to be creative and make do with what we have. Like the JPY350 pandan leaves, JPY250 shallots, or the 1kg coconut powder found on Baticrom that we treasured so much just because they were so pricey!

Here are some of the food from the Edogawabashi kitchen that I managed to take pics of :

Braised mushroom with cucumber. Attempted to finish up remaining ingredients which were otherwise too little on their own, to create an extra side dish.

Ever since Imm bought the little tray we have been able to steam food (as opposed to just stir fry, grill and bake). My first attempt at steamed white tofu with sliced carrots and mushroom in sauce.

Mashed potato and special gravy with what seems to be Imm's pork which was possibly cooked using the claypot. Can't remember, so long ago.

My version of tapas. Sometimes I get tired of just eating rice and noodles. Besides, the french loaf that they sell at the 99yen shop was not bad. Either make simple garlic bread to dip with soup, or top with different garnishing, or in this case leftovers :p Yes I'm creative that way.

Mihun is also quite hard to come by. I remember my first packet of mihun bought at the Ueno markets, cost me JPY300 for a normal packet! So mihun meals are somewhat like treats. Served with minced beef/pork balls and sauteed bok choy.

Classic spaghetti bolognaise. Except that the sauce was made using what Imm had left behind from another dish. She had initially made a sauce for her yong tau fu, but it turned out to be more ketchupy than expected, but it suited my pasta just fine!

I've progressed from the initial mihun tomyam soup to stir-fried mihun tomyam. It has a perfect blend of tangy saltiness, with tinges of bitter from the fried garlic on top.

Fried breaded chicken nuggets. Made this for one of our church's potluck lunch.

This is Imm's cucur udang. At the rate we were making Malaysian food, we even thought about opening our own gerai outside our house. Sell pisang goreng, ubi goreng, kentang goreng and all the afternoon tea food which we couldn't get in Tokyo.

Kung pao chicken, from Imm's little book of recipes. Should have at least cut or sliced upon the chillies for the flavour to come out. Those were the last of the remaining dried chillies passed on by Danny, the housemate from China.

Another steamed dish, this time steamed with ginger bits and soy sauce. Having that little silver tray really opened up so many possiblities, I didn't have to be content with just fried or grilled fish!

So. Anyways. I don't cook like that anymore.

In fact, I was just lamenting to Imm about how I've lost all motivation to cook since I came back. She, whom I regard as a better chef, have hardly cooked too after returning to Taiping. We have agreed that it must be due to the following :
1) Not used to the kitchen and utensils back home
2) No control over the ingredients since our mums are the ones doing the groceries. Not that there's lack of things in the fridge/kitchen, but it's just not the same.
2) Nobody to share the joy of cooking together. Very boring to have to prepare ingredients, cook, eat then wash everything alone. I tend to have more appetite when I eat with people who are as passionate about eating :D

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