What is your favourite all time food? The type of dish that you would travel half way around the world to eat? The type that, if you’re in another city, and your parents ring up, and say ‘___, we’re having this food, be home by this day’ you immediately rush back home?
Whatever food that is, that is your favourite food, probably due to sentimental reasons. Maybe it’s not the tastiest food, but it is your favourite, as it resonates with you and brings about pleasant memories and nostalgia. Usually that’s the way our brain works- our favourite ___ is associated with a memory or fond experience we have had, and this week I will be talking about the dish I loved when I was younger, and still do, in this instalment of Food Fridays and Sentimental Saturdays!
Let me tell you my favourite food- it’s steamed mince egg, that Mum learned when she was younger when she was living in Malaysia. I’m not sure of the exact pleasant memory that I have associated with this scrumptious dish, however I do know that every time Mum makes the dish, I’m left finishing my firsts of the dish and starting my seconds even before everyone else is half finished. Maybe it’s because Mum has made this dish for me, my dad and my brother for the past 20 years or so, or maybe it’s because it was associated with a time when life was simpler and I didn’t need to worry about what tweets or facebook posts I missed out on when I went out for a walk or an outing of some sort. Whatever the case, this is the dish that gets me back to the table, without fail.
So what ingredients are in this dish that makes it worth the wait? While the dish is somewhat a secret, and is a family recipe (plus Mum and Dad may not appreciate me sharing my version of the step by step recipe online- they may want to keep it in the family…), what I will say is the general idea. There is mince (beef or pork) in it, and egg, with soy sauce, a bit of vinegar and fried onions as well, and possible salt and pepper to taste. You can probably add more adventurous meats and spices in, such as prawns, fish, carrots, capsicum, chilli, shallots, chicken etc, but I would advise you all to mince these ingredients first otherwise the consistency wouldn’t be right. You can also add red wine as well for that extra kick.
The dish, if you haven’t worked it out by now, is so similar to the filling for meat patties (without the breadcrumbs), and instead of frying the mixture with oil in a pan, you would steam the dish, by placing it in a casserole dish over a wok of boiling water. I’m not entirely sure how long you cook the food for (maybe 20-30 min? Or at least until it is cooked! I need to start learning if I want to keep the recipe alive for another generation!); but feel free to experiment if you want and let me know how it tastes like.
When Mum was younger, the dish she loved was char-siew-bough, a savory Chinese steamed bun with pork, as well as zongzi, a glutunous rice dish wrapped in banana leaves; and both these dishes she can now cook for myself and my brother. As for my Dad, he loves a German meal called Kassler that he grew up on- smoked pork lion cooked with beans and pears, red cabbage, and sauerkraut. While I hope to learn all of these dishes soon to pass down to my future kids someday; the reason why I’m telling you all of this is that everyone has a special dish that they love that reminds them of home, and my viewpoint is that people should cherish these dishes and learn to re-create them, in order to remember their past and heritage, where they come from, but also as a reminder and marker of how God has been faithful through the years.
What is your all-time favourite food, and what is the reason? Have you tried cooking steamed mince egg (sorry for the plain name, I haven’t formerly named it or anything!); how does it taste like? What does food mean to you and how has God spoken to you through memories associated with your favourite dishes?