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Friday, 17 June 2011

Inspirations from Ah Mah

A humble All in One Meal that has been around for ages. One which is most probably common among the Chinese community and one which many Chinese mothers would know how to whip up for their families. But for me, this is comfort food, one which I grew up here's the looking back story.

Ah Mah, meaning grandmother in our dialect introduced this to us, many many years ago. Our family had our own place but dinner was almost always (unless we couldn't make it) at Ah Mah's place every Saturday until Ah Mah left us a few years back. This weekly affair started when we were young and my parents held on to it after we grew up, left our hometown and had families of our own. Even then, whenever we went home, a trip to Ah Mah's place was a tradition we held on to; along the road, we brought in our hubbies and children.

Ah Mah would ask us to 'chiak peng' (meaning to have dinner) the moment we stepped into her house. The walk towards the kitchen came with a little excitement, wondering what Ah Mah had prepared for dinner that night.

Ah Mah had a long list of yummy dishes in her repertoire. No surprise because Ah Mah's place was her coffee shop too. She had paus (steamed buns), lo mai kais (glutinous chicken rice), yau char kwais (fried chinese crullers), changs (dumplings), or kuei (yam cake), chai tau kuei (carrot cake) etc, etc, etc.

This long bean rice is one dish that I personally like. Although it's a simple all in one meal, it's delicious and it remains in my memory till today. A savoury rice with fragrance from the dried shrimps, the crunchy long beans alternating between the sweetness from the chinese sausage with small chunks of lean meat and shitake mushrooms. I remember how we would gather around Ah Mah's big round dining table with a bowl of rice each, aunties, uncles, cousins and all. It was easy eating, allowing us to chat while we eat.

Today, I can make my own long bean rice but with some shortcuts thrown in. I use a rice cooker while Ah Mah made hers in a big black wok. I stir fry all the ingredients together with the uncooked rice, add some seasonings, then transfer everything to be cooked in a rice cooker. Although it may not be as nice as Ah Mah's, I am glad that I can make it and introduce it to my little one who loves it too. I hope with God's grace, I can continue to pass this on and tell them the story of their great great grandmother. If I not granted this opportunity, at least this post will do it on my behalf, assuming nothing happens to this blog :)

Ah Mah, thank you for making beautiful memories for us to cherish, thank you for passing on traditions, thank for feeding us, thank you for making us what we are today...thank you from the bottom of our hearts


oh yes love that bowl of rice right now.

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