I was never really taught how to cook. As a Hmong girl, they throw you in the kitchen at a young age and tell you to make dinner for the family. For me, that was when I was 13 years old. I had no idea what to do. I opened the fridge and saw nothing. I walked over to my dad and said… There is nothing to cook.
My dad took me back to the kitchen and opened the fridge. He said “there’s egg, tomatoes, ginger and spring onions”. I looked at him stunned… What am I meant to do with that? I thought to myself. Then my dad took some fish out of the top freezer and started cooking us dinner as I watched how he did it.
My dad had no recipes, he marinated the fish with ginger, tomatoes and spring onion. I’ve seen him make fish a hundred different ways and never with any measured quantities of ingredients. He was even fancy with his scrambled eggs using finely sliced spring onions mixed through for an oriental flavour. It was delicious. From that day onwards, I learnt how to cook like an Asian. Open your fridge and invent something from what you have.
Tonight I felt like some Thai spices, but not quiet a curry. It had been hot and humid the whole day so I didn’t want to commit to a rich curry soup so I decided to make a curry stir fry.
I looked in my fridge and I had chicken wings, potato, brocilli and zucchini. Perfect, I thought to myself.
First I chopped the chicken wings into 3 pieces, I then chopped those pieces in half, breaking the bone (the bone marrow helps to really marinade to sauce). I washed out any shattered bones in the process to make sure we didn’t chock on them later. I then chopped all my vegetables into bite size pieces and put them aside.
Cooking on the stove, I start with oil in a saucepan and once the oil was hot I threw in the chicken. The chicken was sizzling away so I added the curry paste ( Always use a paste, never a power. In this instance I am using a red Thai curry paste). I use about 2 tablespoons of the curry paste.
I cooked the chicken until it was a golden colour and the I add the potato slices. I find potato takes longer to cook through than other vegetables so I wanted to get this in first.
At this stage I waited until the chicken was half cooked and then added about 1/3 cup of water. I put the lid onto the saucepan and waited for the water to heat up and steam cook through the chicken and potatos.
Once the chicken was fully cooked I added some coconut milk (around 4 teaspoons). Sometimes I skip this step, depending on whether or not I feel like that cocunut after taste or if I just want spices.
Right after I added the coconut, it’s time to add the vegetables. Which I cooked until my desired texture. I like it pretty soft throughout, but some people like to have that crunch.
And there you have it, my quick Asian dinner. Cooked like a true Asian house wife. Mixing familiar flavours and spices in the household. I don’t use salt during the process but sometimes I add fish sauce and stir through to give it more salt if required.