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Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Joy of Eating Porridge

When you are sick, do you eat chicken noodle soup? If you do, you are most likely not Chinese. Chinese people eat porridge when they are sick. This is our "comfort food." I'm not sure what Western porridge is made of, but Chinese porridge is just rice and water. You simmer one part rice to about five parts water and end up with this:

Tsohk = Porridge = Yum!

It's bland, sure, but that's the beauty of it. Now, porridge can be prepared with all sorts of stuff in it, like beef, seafood (teng tsai, which means "little boat"), roast duck with thousand year old egg*, anything you want! But, when little Chinese children (hereinafter, "Chinettes") are sick, their parents cook "white porridge" (bak tsohk) for them. That's just plain porridge with nothing in it. Okay, they'll add a little salt to give it some flavor. Okay, okay, you beat it out of me. They might add a little bit of ground beef and chopped onions, too. If the Chinettes are good.

Anyhow, that's what I like to eat when I'm sick. But, I like to eat tsohk even when I'm not sick! Surprised? Well, I like to eat bak tsohk when there are good accompaniments to be had. Now, look at what I packed for my lunch tomorrow to go with the bak tsohk that I bought for only $1 today:

Bamboo shoots with chili oil
Gluten with peanuts
咖哩鮑魚 trans: Curry Cha'i Pow Yu, a.k.a. Braised Gluten (Seitan Tidbits)**
四川腐乳 trans: Szechuan Brand Fermented Bean Curd (chunk) in Dressing with Chili***

But, here's the piece de resistance:
Wah Toh's Homemade Fried Silver Fish. I received this in the mail last week, along with two Ding Dong towels. I wanted to open that thing up and eat the whole jar. But, no, I showed some self restraint and made preparations. I visited the newly opened Chinese market**** and bought all that stuff listed above just so that I could have some accompaniments for this little slice of heaven. So, add a humungous apple from 3-fish, and I am all set for tomorrow!


*Okay, if you want the skinny on the thousand year old egg, then read this. Look at how beautiful it is! Yeah, the whites (that have now turned a transparent coffee color) has the texture of Jell-o, and the yolk has a creamy texture and tastes like fermented salt. Don't knock it till you try it.

**Good grief. Isn't that the most useless translation you've ever seen? Here's the real poop: It's fake abalone in curry sauce.

***HAHHAHAHAHAA!!! OMG, okay, whenever I buy this stuff, I only look at the Chinese. I never really looked at the English translation until now, and you know what? I never thought of the liquid inside the jar as a "dressing!" Not sure why, but that is just hilarious to me! I actually had some trouble trying to open that jar (I had to heat the lid and tap it and really add some elbow grease). But, I didn't ask Mr. Nonny Nu to help me open it because he would completely freak out if he saw what it was. Yeah, that's why I thought I'd just keep it to myself. *crinkles nose* *nods*

****Look what you can do with some instant noodles, romaine lettuce, Chinese beef balls, and a microwave at work. I got so many of my childhood favorites!

10 comments:

Freelance Midget said...

man, you're making me hungry. i forgot to stop by ranch 99 after hot pot on saturday to pick up foo jook and bamboo shoots with chili oil :(

Nonny Nu said...

OMG, I forgot so many things. I forgot to buy ham dans and I forgot to bring the fried gluten with peanuts to work! I left it on the kitchen counter. btw, it was a good idea not to ask Mr. Nonny Nu to help me open the fermented tofu because he saw the can of fgw/p and screamed.

Nonny Nu said...

I ate SOOOO MUCH hot pot on Saturday. I really felt like my stomach was going to bust open. I think that last glass of blended kiwi did me in. I couldn't eat again until 10pm! (We had spaghetti.)

Nonny Nu said...

Here's the finished product.

Anonymous said...

Well written article to introduce your western friends to the art of "jooking." However, I think those pix under poor light settings would have completely gross them out rather than enticing them to venture to try and thus mitigating your original intent. Oh well, why should it matter, as long as you enjoy your "jook." Sharpen up your pix taking skill - maybe :-) I must say you have turn the day-to-day boring lunches into quite a gourmet cuisine - unfortunately,some of us here in the midwest work with people who are less inclined to consider "foreign" looking "matters" as edible, let alone delicious food.

Oh, I didn't know that pussy-pooh (AKA freelance midget)eats bamboo shoots with the chili oil. Back home, only au-go wanted them. (If you want a GREAT fried foo jook recipe, call me) Still looking for a suitable box to mail your mask.

3-fish

Nonny Nu said...

I am all about realism! The photos are a realistic portrayal of the delicacies. You know what's funny? I just made a pot of jook/tsohk this evening for tomorrow's lunch (round 2). Now, I am in bed checking the blog and Midge just emailed me asking how long it takes to cook the jook/tsohk because she wanted to make some tonight! Funny. Too bad she doesn't have any silver fish to go with it. There's only 1/3 of the jar left and I'm not sharing. (Sorry, Midge.)

btw, the silver fish is actually something like anchovy. It's not the silver fish bug that crawls around the house. Cl. Panic thought that that was what it was, and I died laughing! Look, who is going to prowl around the house all day looking for bugs to stir fry?? Even Chinese people don't do that. No, these are real fish, people.

Freelance Midget said...

eww. i may have learned to eat bamboo shoots in chili oil, but silver fish? blech! you can keep 'em!

cl. panic said...

Mr. Nonny Nu - I was forced to help open a jar of silver fish today. Plz handle these sorts of duties so I don't have to. Kthxbye.

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