Cooking Process: August (Weeks 37~40)

School started, but during August I tried cooking dinner several times a week. I will pick up dishes from each week which I would like to share here:

Week 37: I made qingjiaorousi for dinner on a weekday. This I found the recipe from the cooking magazine which I brought back from Japan. I chose it because it was a nice and quick dish to cook, all the vegetables easy to cut (I did not have much time that day…). I noticed that I cooked the pork too much that they ended up slightly hard, but nonetheless it was tasty and went perfect with rice!

Week 38: While I was in Japan, I went to a Japanese-Italian styled restaurant for lunch. The menu included many Japanese fusion pasta dishes, which inspired me to make some on my own. I often make Japanese-western or Japanese-chinese styled dishes, but I rarely cook pasta, so this was a new challenge for me. I decided to make tarako (cod roe) spaghetti, which is actually a very common and popular pasta dish in Japan. I also added okra and topped it with chopped nori and macrophyll for some color and texture. The spaghetti kept on sticking with each other, which was one thing I struggled while cooking. Other than that I had a fun time cooking and it turned out to be great. I would like to try making other Japanese styled pasta dishes, like the ones I found on the menu, but I would also love to come up with an original recipe!

Week 39: On the weeked. I prepared popiah for dinner with my mother. I love popiah and frequently have them at hawker centres, but it was my first time making one. The idea came up as we were shopping at the grocery store, when we found a pack of popiah paper. For the filling we cooked pork strips, lotus root, mushroom and green pepper with oyster sauce, adding starch powder for the thick and sticky texture (This is probably not authentic, as we came up by ourselves). Then we wrapped the filling with lettuce and that with the popiah skin. I realized that the method is very similar to the spring rolls I made during summer. Next time, I would like to research and try the traditional recipe!

Week 40: I made a miso stir-fry dish with pork, cabbage, capsicums and carrots for a quick dish for dinner. I also baked cake on the weeked using blueberries, jam and nuts to finish up the blueberries which were getting old. I forgot to take a photo, but this cake was very heavy and hearty, suitable for breakfast with some yogurt and fruits!

Looking back at the list of dishes I made during this month, I am very happy that I was able to try out a range of different cuisines! My biggest takeaway would be from the fusion dishes, such as the tarako spaghetti from above. It was very interesting to see how different ingredients and cooking styles work with each other, and made me want to explore and make my own fusion dish. I still have minor struggles with the fundamentals of cooking – quick ways of cutting vegetables, balancing out the right amounts of different seasonings, figuring out the right strength of fire and boiling pasta to list a few. I would like to carefully work on these and remember to regularly review the basics to consolidate my skills.

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