Monday, March 10, 2008

March Bento Days (2)

Hmmm... the time change yesterday might have not really set in with my body clock as I had to drag my feet to the ground this morning to fulfill my vows of making the Monday bentos. The sun was bright and yet I had the blinds down as it was really poking into my reluctant eyes and knowing that it robbed me of an extra hour of sleep, it ironically made me felt gloomy. Still, the day has to start regardless of my mood.

Never in my life have I imagine that I will be cooking 3 meals a day let alone making pack lunches. In Curry's view, my cooking is pretty good and the kids seem to agree as they haven't rejected anything that I labored myself to fry and broil. My cooking repertoire only started after marriage and with the eager beaver spirit, I took it up with gusto, grinding every spice from scratch, learning the art of the knife to understand what is "julienne"& "chunks" and being the No. 1 fan of the Food Network channel from day to night. My cookbooks were like my Bibles guiding my karma in cooking and I followed every instructions word by word. And the cooking magazines were the only section I was interested in my local Barnes and Nobles. Sometimes great dishes were on the table and at times, I just fed it all down the kitchen sink disposer hoping it will not leave a trace of my failed attempt in order to keep my good name of "the Good wife.

These days, I cook by my own instincts and adopted Rachael Ray's line of "I eyeball everything, no measuring. And a great meal is never more than 30 minutes away." And I found a good partner too... the ever ready sauces and gravy that comes in their enticing packagings. Personally, I love the ones from Malaysia and Singapore as they remind me of so many good food, easily available in those places and yet so scarce and precious over here.

For today's Bento, I made Hot & Spicy Fish (Assam Ikan) using a ready made spice paste. Just had to add something to make it 'homemade' and I opted for shallots and garlics. The magic words printed on the packet was "Ready in 15 minutes". Now, that beats Rachael Ray. As soon as I drop the paste into the hot pot, the aroma was simply evoking to my senses with the pungent red chillis sizzling away with the garlic and shallots to make the best marriage of ingredients. The color was beautiful with red and yellowish swirls and thank goodness for kimchi in revolutionizing my tastebuds, I can see myself slurping a big bowl of the sauce while it simultaneously burns and excites my mouth! The choice of fish were salmon and mackerel as they don't disperse into pieces like cod or halibut when cooked simmered. And the taste was authentic, at least to my level of spiciness with a tinge of sourness which makes the dish so good with plain rice.


crazymommy said...

Where you bought the mackerel from?? Looks really yummy...
Btw, i have finally cooked the Assam fish!! My DH gives a big thumbs up! ;) Thanks for the recipe!!

Lily Anette said...

Chinatown where else! Glad you like the Assam fish... never thought tamarind can be so good.