EATING LIKE IT'S SOME OTHER ERA
[皮蛋瘦肉粥 pei daan sau yiuk juk: rice porridge with preserved egg and lean pork. 鹹 haam: salty, savoury. When combined with 'moist' (濕 sap) it becomes "lascivious" in Cantonese colloquial speech. 炸芋頭角 jaa wu tau gok: deep fried dumpling with a taro mash crust, which is a traditional and delicious dimsum item.]
It's a question of priorities. I had purchased snackipoos before shopping for dinner, and ended up visiting six different shops ere I found bitter melon (苦瓜 'fu gwaa'). For which apparently this isn't the season.
But I had an unspeakable yen for bitter melon.
It's one of my favourite vegetables.
So good with fatty meat.
And hot sauce.
Bitter melon is alleged to be an extremely healthy foodstuff, but that may be putting the reputational cart before the horse. It tastes very crisp and bitter, therefore it just HAS to be good for you, right?
The main reason to eat it is that it tastes good.
Provided you aren't from a place where all vegetables are boiled to death. In which case it may give you the willies.
Because I am a single man, I do not have to worry about my cooking scaring people. It's just me for dinner, and I'm not easily scared.
炒肥肉凉瓜 CHAU FEI YIUK LEUNG GWAA
Sliced bitter melon, salted briefly, squeezed, rinsed, and drained.
Fatty meat, sliced and sprinkled with cornflour and sherry.
Garlic. Ginger. Fresh green chili.
Touch of shrimp paste.
Add items to the pan in the stages you are familiar with, when the bitter melon is nearly cooked, flame with a generous splash of sherry and decant to a serving plate. Squeeze the lime over.
Serve with steamed rice, and a dish of chilipaste.
And, if you are me, an egg barely hardboiled. Which is good for dipping in the remaining chilipaste after you've dumped much of it on your plate.
If that is a healthy repast, so be it.
The other vegetable I bought was long bean (豆角 'dau gok'), which is good just blanched, lightly salted, and dipped in a greasy hot sauce. Again, with rice. Some people simply stew them a bit with dry sausage (臘腸 'laap cheung'), or a piece of cured pork (臘肉 'laap yiuk').
They're also good with sliced chicken and fried dry chilies.
I have a nasty suspicion that my food preferences will ensure singularity ("bachelordom") for the rest of my life. Finding a woman who is actually able to stomach real food is probably quite impossible.
Especially here in the SF Bay Area, where the very rabbity population would rather eat rabbit food than consume the rabbits.
I do a nice rabbit curry, by the way.
One fine fat rabbit, sectioned.
One large onion, chopped.
One beefsteak tomato, skinned and seeded.
Three to five cloves garlic, minced.
A thumblength ginger, minced.
Two Tsp. ground coriander.
One Tsp. each: cumin, cayenne.
Half a Tsp. turmeric.
Four or five green chilies, chopped.
Three or four green cardamom pods.
Two or three whole cloves.
About a dozen whole peppercorns.
One or two bay leaves.
One stick cinnamon.
Juice of two limes.
Sauté the onion with the whole spices and plenty of oil till nicely browned. Add the garlic and ginger, gild a bit, add the ground spices and rabbit pieces, and cook, stirring, till the fragrance rises. Put in everything else plus water to cover, squeeze the lime over, simmer for forty minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and garnish with cilantro.
Serve with a heap of steamed rice.
And some chilipaste.
['Add more cayenne already.']
Whether you call the beastie khargosh, arnab, kunil, kundelu, lapin, kutjing belanda, paashaas, kaninchen, knyn, cunny, tou-ji (兔子), gaa-lei tou-ji (咖喱兔子), jeng hou-mei heung-heung laat-laat ge yan-dou gaa-lei tou-ji (正好味香香辣辣嘅印度咖喱兔子), krolik, kanin, konyntje, kuneli, заек, trusis, kinigil, kuneho, зајакот, furball, or thumper, your family will be sure to appreciate this emmes tasty guest at the dinner table.
Trust me; I'm a carnivore, I can say these things.
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.