In the Pursuit of Cooking

Growing up, I never ate asparagus. Asparagus to me is a foreign vegetable, one that is not native to Malaysia (at least to my knowledge). I’m more familiar with vegetables such as Kangkung (water spinach), Pucuk Paku (wild fern shoots), Kacang Botol, Daun Pegaga (Pennywort), Bok Choy and the common ones like spinach, carrots etc.

In fact, to this day, I’m still not sure how to cook some vegetables commonly sold in grocery stores here in the United States. My Malaysian taste buds are pretty strong and I prefer the simple stir-fried Asian vegetables consisting of Bok Choy, Nappa Cabbage, and Kangkung (Ong Choy).

Yesterday however, I decided to experiment with the asparagus I had grabbed when we shopped at Whole Foods, just because I wanted to vary our ‘green consumption’. Before, I had sliced it and stir-fried it with chicken, but yesterday, I was moved to try and roast it.

Well, it involved googling, because I didn’t know how long it takes to cook asparagus, and while bustling in the kitchen, I hollered to the kids in the living room,

“Kids, please google ‘asparagus roast’!”

They have been googling stuff for me lately, and so they did.

“500 degrees and ten to 12 minutes!” they hollered back.

I intended to broil or bake it along with the Bake cum Broiled Marsala Chicken that was sizzling in the oven, but we ran out of aluminum foil, so I switched to sauteing them in a pan on the stove instead. Since I had some leftover Marsala marinade, I sauteed that in oil and then tossed in the asparagus, resulting in a very nice looking picture above.

The end result became an improvised dish: Baked cum Broiled Chicken Marsala with Asparagus. Yesterday was my first fast in Sha’aban, and boy was it hard! I spent 4 hours in the kitchen cooking (mostly impromptu thus the length of time it took) and prepping for Ramadan by making Satay spice paste and Ayam Rica Rica spice paste.

On top of being exhausted and atacked my some pain, Baby Zoa decided to nurse at Maghrib time, and thus I spent my Iftar drinking green jelly cincau in a half lying position on my bed while nursing a half asleep toddler. It was only after I prayed Maghrib that I got to dig in the food I had whipped up.

Alhamdulillah. I was pretty worried about my milk supply this Ramadan, since the days are longer than the previous years, but inshaallah, if I watch my food and fluid intake when we can eat, and supplement myself with the nursing tea I just bought, I should be fine.

I thought I would be able to read while cooking yesterday but was I wrong. The impromptu Sambal Terung (Eggplant cooked in Chilli paste) I decided to make plus the experimental asparagus along with the last minute pre-Ramadan prep threw me off. But alhamdulillah, even though I still have to cook today so that we have food to last us the whole weekend, it felt very productive yesterday.

This weekend will be filled inshaallah with Torch Bearers, hence the reason why I have to cook now so I won’t have to worry about whipping up lunch and dinner this weekend. We will also be having extra company, which I’m very looking forward to, so I need to make extra food.

Meanwhile, I guess I’ll sneak in speed reading my stack of books and gain a better understanding of the different methods involved in putting an infant to sleep, and hopefully I can submit my two articles by early next week, inshaallah!


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