This blog has seen more restaurant reviews in the last 6 months than in all the 8 years that I have been writing it. I think it is safe to say that I have lost my cooking / writing mojo. My blog always gave me joy. A space to document what I cook at home and save some of the recipes for posterity because I cook on impulse and rarely stick to a recipe. Increasingly I have come here, opened up a new post and closed it with a few unfinished sentences, buried as a draft.
I realise this has been happening a lot and try as I might I am unable to shake it off. Usually it is a week or a few days maximum and I can shake myself back into my “good moods”. This time I am unable to. I am unwilling to give up the blog or shut it down either.
I haven’t picked up my camera in months. I browse through the photographs on my phone and realise how boring they are, and yes I am brave enough to admit that. I wonder if I am turning into more of a social hermit. I do spend a large amount of time online, but increasingly have less patience with it or people.
Anyway. The only exciting aspect of my cooking / kitchen these days is my 6 month old black board. In april this year, when my brother’s family was visiting, my niece and I painted a wall in my tiny kitchen with blackboard paint. I use it to make shopping lists, to do lists and meal plans. I have been doing some sort of meal planning for the past few years. Since the beginning of the year, I hand wrote it on paper and put it on the fridge with magnets. It has simplified my cooking and helped me use ingredients more efficiently than I had imagined.
I graduated to the black board in April and cannot recommend it more. None of those fake black board apps for me. I am someone who needs something to be in my face to be able to take action! And yes we do eat a lot of Idli and dosa. My meal plans are pretty standard. K and I prefer south Indian breakfast, I grind a huge batch of idli/ dosa batter at the start of the week to last me 5-6 uses. For lunch it is mostly roti, with two vegetable dishes or one dal and one vegetable. This is except on the weekend when we eat at home and not carry our dabba and hence eat rice for the mid day meal. We try and eat a light dinner, usually soup, stir fries or sometimes again a breakfast item. I even have designated leftover days to clean up the fridge.
Anyways, I think I should do a post on meal planning and the black board soon (if I ever get down to it). It is a joke these days, for K to point out the board to anyone visiting us and tell them, “macha (term of endearment between two guy friends) check what’s for dinner da (term of endearment again), that’s all we’re going to get, no deviations from the daily meal planner”. When Amma is here, K and she will gang up and force me to write “order food” or “food truck” on it and break into peals of laughter.
Why am I writing this? I don’t know, but I feel like telling you the story.
But this is a recipe blog, and a recipe I shall give you. Khow Suey is a Burmese broth eaten with noodles. The broth is very accomodative and one can add any vegetables that are at hand. I’ve used sweet potatoes, yellow pumpkin, coloured peppers and usual vegetables one adds to a stir fry and loved it every time. I teach this same recipe in my Gourmet Soups and Salads class and the students love it.
Khow Suey (Serves 4)
Grind to a smooth paste the following:
2 inch stalk of lemongrass, crushed lightly or 2 teaspoons of dried Lemongrass
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 pods Garlic peeled
½ teaspoon Turmeric
½ medium Onion, sliced
For the Curry:
2 cups Vegetables of choice, cut into similar sizes (mushroom, carrot, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, yellow pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, bok choy etc)
2 cups Cooked noodles of choice (soba, glass, egg, rice noodles) – cooked according to the instructions on the pack
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
200 ml Coconut milk
1 teaspoon Sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 lime leaves, torn
1 cup water
1 tablespoon gram flour / besan
For the garnish: To be added while serving the soup
Basil, mint and coriander leaves – a few sprigs
1/4 cup Fried onion
roasted and coarsely powdered peanuts
fried garlic chips
Lemon Wedges to serve
red chilli flakes
Boiled eggs, cut into quarters
Steam the hard vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and beans for 3-4 minutes, drain and set aside.
In a pan, heat the oil and add the curry paste, cook stirring for 3-4 minutes till the raw smell disappears.
Add all the vegetables (including the steamed ones) except the spinach/ bok choy if using and the lime leaves and ½ cup water and cook for 4-5 minutes till the vegetables are tender but not overcooked.
Add the coconut milk, salt, pepper and sugar, stir and adjust any seasoning if needed.
Dissolve the gram flour in the remaining 1/2 cup of water and add to the curry. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes, add the bok choy / spinach at this point.
Adjust the thickness of the gravy, this will be your main soup so adjust as much as you prefer. Turn off the heat.
To serve the soup, spoon out some cooked noodles into a bowl, top with the curry sauce, garnish with fried onion, garlic, crushed peanuts, basil, mint, coriander leaves, boiled egg and a wedge of lemon.
The curry and the noodles should be refrigerated separately if storing. Assemble before serving. Keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge.
Note: you can add 1 cup of boiled chicken / prawns while cooking the vegetable curry for a non veg option.