Sunday, November 28, 2010

to coif or to cook

As I stood there rinsing the rice, I can't help but think how lucky Japanese housewives are. They don't have to contend with all the nitty gritty of "cooking" like most of us, or at least those of us from this side of the world.

Cooking was such a pleasure, an activity which I learnt to enjoy and improve while in Japan. I'm not very good at many dishes, but I do have some trademark ones which I like to share with friends once in awhile. All thanks to the conveniences of clean and safe ingredients.

Saves so much time, just toss everything into the rice cooker

For example, this attempt of a nasi lemak which thrilled Masami, a half-Malaysian living in Japan with her American-born Japanese hubby. I have not even attempted the real nasi lemak after I came back, all because it's so much less hassle to just buy them off the streets.

May not be perfect, but this was the best I could do with whatever little ingredients I had

I don't remember having to rinse the rice, or wash poultry and fish before cooking. But I make sure I clean vege and fruits, because of wax and pesticides.

The anchovies had to be cleaned beforehand - they're from Malaysia!

I just scoop the amount of rice I need and fill it up with the necessary amount of water when I cook my meals. The same goes for meat; they are all cut to pieces, cleaned and packed neatly in the supermarket. I just need to unwrap them, marinade them with the flavouring/marinade and straight into the pot/pan/oven they go.

Since I couldn't make rendang, curry chicken was the closest substitute

But of course, you can opt to have those which are a bit more "raw", where you can remove the insides yourself; these will be cheaper than those pre-packed to go. The only time I've seen someone do it in Japan was when Imm bought those fish sold in containers of water, as opposed to that in styrofoam and clingwrap.

Humble attempt of our favourite Malaysian dish

No wonder I cook less back here. I have to clean and wash every single item that goes into the pot, not just once but at least two to three times!

Dessert of snow fungus & red dates to finish off the meal

No wonder too that Japanese housewives can look so immacutely coiffed all the time - they don't waste so much time in the kitchen slaving away, neither do they have to deal with the mess of cleaning up!

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