Wednesday, 9 March 2011

My 三菜一汤 kitchen: Dinner at Grandma's

Over the past weekend, I visited my 85-year-old Grandma, together with my family, aunts and cousins. It was an impromptu visit. It started off that my Mom had bought all the ingredients to make Curry Fish Head and she had wanted to cook the dish for Grandma. So off we went to Grandma's house.
My 五菜一汤 dinner!
Then while at my Grandma's place, an aunt and I went to the nearby supermarket to buy some more stuff so that we can prepare more dishes. Hence we asked another aunt's family over to join us. There were 14 of us and here was a spread of 6 dishes, one big pot of Fish Head Curry as well as Chicken Corn soup. Actually it is no more 三菜一汤, but oh well! Yummy! Such an enjoyable dinner with my Grandma, mom, sis and family, aunts and cousins.

Chicken Corn Soup
My aunt cooked this yummy big pot of Chicken Corn soup, slightly different from our usual Pork Rib Corn Soup. Ingredients used:  Chicken chunks, corn, big onions, carrots, chinese mushrooms, wolfberries, ginger. It was very easy to cook and there was no need to boil the soup for hours. Chicken cooked easily, and the corn remained sweet.  I secretly added a little light soya sauce and salt, heheh, to make the soup more tasty. There was a distinctive taste in the soup as though there was a hint of liquor, which I guess it was from the whole combination of ingredients, and especially from the ginger and onions.  

Curry Fish Head cooking in the wok
Curry Fish Head is one of my mom's specialty. It can be the lemak version or the sour version. That day it was the lemak version, which I love to slurp up the gravy. I actually eat fish head curry taking just the gravy and brinjal and lady's fingers. Ingredients used:  Fish head, additional fish meat, lady's fingers, brinjal, curry leaves, onions, tomatoes and mom's secret spices and chilli.  

Here is the Curry Fish Head served. I think my Grandma loved it, she loves fish head, especially the eye part, the jelly part... she loves to chew and suck on the bones. I thought it was such a lovely thought from my mom to think of cooking this dish for Grandma. My Grandma is getting on in years, and nowadays she is not able to cook extensively for the whole family anymore. She is very thrifty and on normal days, she would cook just 2 dishes for dinner with an aunt and her 2 kids. And for lunch, she usually eat leftover food from the previous day. She refuses to let food go to waste. I wish my Grandma can come over and join my family for our 三菜一汤 dinners (almost) every night. 

Fried Eggs with Onions
This simple dish of Fried Eggs With Onions was meant for the kids actually. But I love eggs myself too. I would often think of different ways of preparing my eggs; Steamed eggs, herbal eggs, fried eggs with onions, fried eggs with long beans, fried eggs with cai por, sweet sour eggs etc... 

Mixed Vegetables Dish
My aunt did a quick stir fry of these huge chunks of vegetables; Broccoli, capsicum, mushroom, carrots.  It was so crunch. Broccoli is one of my favourite vegetable.

Stir-Fry Garlic Tiger Prawns 
I prepared this dish which was so simple and fast.  We had some tiger prawns, so I decided to just stir fry them with loads of garlic.  I used lots of chopped garlic. I sauteed the garlic till it was golden fragrant and added in the prawns.  I added a little salt, oyster sauce, and that was it! Very easy and fresh tasty prawns.   

Stir-Fry Puay Leng
My mom prepared this dish of Puay Leng (I am not sure what this vegetable is called in English), together with mushrooms, and prawns.  Another easy to prepare dish! Puay Leng is supposed to be slightly soft when cooked. 

Grandma and nephew in a relaxed moment
I wish we can have the opportunity to have regular meet ups to have a simple meal with Grandma, as she is getting on in years, and her memory is failing. She tends to forget many things nowadays. Recently, she cooked a bowl of chicken noodles for my cousin.  She did not realized the chicken meat had already turned bad. My cousin did not touch the meat and just finished the noodles.  My Grandma, upon seeing the untouched chicken, threw a few pieces of chicken out of the window. My cousin was appalled by Grandma's action and asked my Grandma why she threw the meat out of the window. Usually my Grandma would not do such a thing. My Grandma's reply: "So that the rats and cockroaches and ants don't go hungry."

I was equally shocked at my Grandma's act and her reply, and at the same time, comforted that despite her failing memory and forgetfulness, she does not forget the unfortunate beings like the animals and insects. She reminds me of my guru, Lama Zopa Rinpoche's devotion for the animals!  I have never seen or heard of Grandma being concerned about animals before! This was the first time. Ironically, it is at this time, a time when we think Grandma is no longer "in her right sound mind".  She does, however, still remember to chant "Namo Amituofo" every morning at 5am.  May my Grandma be in good health always, with no pain or no sickness. May all the Buddhas be with her at all times, and protect her always.


  1. I look at the 1st photo and the first dish that captured my eyes is the plate of Tiger Prawns, drooled~~

  2. puay leng or puey leng (in Thailand) is a variety of spinach.


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