Monday, December 06, 2010

Random Tidbits: Part 2 - Quick and Easy Meals

When you don’t have bread to make sandwiches, crackers to eat with the cheese in the fridge, and instant noodles other quick snack/meal options, what would you do – other than ordering pizza or going out to eat? The solution? Pancakes! Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are other answers but I was craving pancakes that day.

Lucy can whip up batches of pancakes in her sleep. She’s always been able to do it since we were kids. I, on the other hand, need a recipe to follow. I’m not sure where this recipe came from, but we’ve been using it for years!

Pancakes 2

I’ve met some people who, for some reason, can’t and don’t know how to make pancakes. Even when they use the pancake mixes and follow the instructions, they still don’t know how to cook it properly. I love my pancakes with a crispy crust (which is essentially fried in butter), so I always add a bit more butter than I need. On a medium-high heated griddle, cook it until bubbles start popping and the edges start cooking and no longer look like a liquid batter. You can check the bottoms of the pancakes to make sure you have the right heat. The pancakes should be ready to flip after about 5 minutes.

Pancakes 1

I made the pancakes for lunch and ate them with peanut butter, ripe bananas and a butter-flavoured syrup. I was too hungry to take a picture of the yummy mess. Chasing it down with milk or HK-style milk tea is a perfect ending to the quick meal. Pancakes make a really quick and cheap dinner, too!

Another cheap and quick meal option is a Cambodian dish called Loc Lac. Lucy wrote about this before. I’ve read that it’s actually a Vietnamese dish, but at this point, the origins of the dish are not important.

Loc Lac

This is a summer dish in our family, because that’s when vegetables are fresh and abundant. Loc lac (or lok lak) is usually made by stir frying slices of beef and onions in oyster sauce and a bit of dark soy sauce. It’s served with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, fried eggs, and a dipping sauce made of white vinegar and (black or white) pepper. For some reason, the beef was cubed this time. This dish can usually be made within 20 minutes. Nice and easy, right?

If you like seafood instead, try some fried fish in ginger sauce. My grandpa really likes this and often brings over fish for my parents to make for lunch. I think the fish we usually use is turbot.

Fried Fish with Ginger
Soy Sauce

Once defrosted, the fish was rinsed and then patted dry with a paper towel. It was then dunked in cornstarch or flour before being shallow fried. Once it the fish was nice and golden brown on both sides, my parents took the fish out and set it aside. Most of the oil was drained out before sliced ginger was briefly fried until aromatic. Then garlic is added along with a slurry of oyster sauce, sugar, water and cornstarch. At the end, green onion gets thrown into the sauce. The ginger and green onion sauce was hen added on top of the fried fish and is served with plain steamed rice. If you decide to make this, be warned that it makes the house smelly.

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