Monday, July 4, 2011

Asian Cooking: Can I even call it cooking? More like destroying.

For those of you who have followed my blog in the past, I have been back from my overseas adventure for 2 years, and those of you who have not, I was in China, Thailand, and Laos. Since I've been back, I have had a taste for authentic Asian food. I have tried many times to replicate the food experiences I had overseas. Some have succeeded and many have failed. Let's begin with the first failure: Di San Chen. (spelling I think is right). Roughly translated, three vegetable dish. It had egg plant, bell peppers and potatoes. I tried to make this on the more spicy side by using some local hot peppers I found at our Farmer's Market. I also found some Asian eggplant. I had the eggplant dried to what I believed was right and I had begun cooking some chicken, garlic and other spices together in a pan. I then added the hot peppers. Big mistake. Walking down the stairway toward a restaurant near my University in China, I was greeted with the pungent aroma of stinky tofu and something extremely spicy that took my breath away. My coworkers and I called it "Cancer Valley" because as we walked through this non ventilated death trap we felt suffocated with the pungency of the spice and rotten tofu. I never understood what made that spicy aroma that takes your breath away until I added the hot pepper to my scorching pan of chicken and spices. In a moments time, I was gasping for clean air and opening every window in the house. Now I got it. After this unfortunate step, I added the eggplant. Next time I will have to let them dry longer or something; I'm not very skilled or experienced in dealing with eggplant. After adding the eggplant and letting it cook for a little while, everything just got so soggy. I forget what else I added, but let's just say that this dish was finished... not to eat but to be thrown out.

After this mistake, I tried a few more times with eggplant, and I have surrendered to this mysteriously resistant vegetable.

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