Wednesday, October 31, 2012

If Grouch can cook, for heaven’s sake, so can you.

I borrowed the above catchphrase from celebrity chef Martin “The Highlander” Yan, who ends all of his TV shows saying, “If Yan can cook, so can you”. But he was being modest, while I am being terribly honest because if I can, by all means you can be better than me.

Aside: I gave Yan’s that middle name because he never goddam ages. I’ve been watching his shows since I was like nine years old (with my mom, both big fan), but look at him today!!! End of aside.

So, I am hoping to make this into a series so not only I get to share my bad cooking, but I keep track of various versions of tofu dish I make for my wife. Each time I come up with a new way of cooking it, only to forget it the next time when wife says, “remember that time when you made it…umm….”

Brief history of tofu in my life.

We never had any, except when forced onto us kids by mom, till I met my wife. She lives on it. During our courting days (when we broke up about 29 times, though tofu is not involved, or so it’s press secretary claimed), I’d send her back to her home after work, and she’d drop by the grocers to buy tofu. History of seeing her eating other sort of food is sketchy, but she bleeds tofu. Her mom, when my parents met hers, declared that considering her eating habit, she is “low maintenance”.

So, when I married her, I married tofu as well, and the last three years I’d been cooking so many types I didn’t keep track. The Tofu community should have awarded me Nobel Peace Prize for Tofu Massacre.
The thing is I don’t what so great about it. It taste of….okay, here’s what I want you to do. Stick your tongue out and don’t touch your lips, or do some intimate things with it. Now, leave it sticking out. Can you taste that? That’s what tofu taste like.

I suppose I was myself trying to make it interesting by trying new things with it each time.
Anyway, here we go, Grouch style cooking show and note that I’d include recipes for other stuff I kinda cooked up myself. Hah “cooked up”. You are lame, Grouch.
Simple Tofu Sambal.


Tofu (duh!) – Maybe 2, but if you are my wife, 4 pieces.
Dry Red Chilli Paste – Two table spoons, or more if you literally hate your ass.
Garlic – minced, pounded, I don’t care as long it’s there. How much? Well, about five clove if you are Asian, or about 367 if you are Italian.
Onion – one medium sized. Feggedaboutit if you are a Hindu/Bhuddist monk
Tomato – One (if large), two (if medium) more (if cherry tomato, in which case you might as well don’t bloody cook).

Cooking technique

So, what’s the first thing you do, kids. Yes, the tofu. Cut them into small sizes of your preference, you can use your old geometrical instrument if you want. You can fry them first, but today I am lazy.

Cut the onion to, erm, whatchamacallit… thin slices. After that, wipe your tears and if your wife appears say that you were thinking of your dead uncle, though the bastard probably ran away with his maid and faked his death.

Oh, the garlic, mince, pound, whatever.

The tomato, you gotta dice them. How? You cut the shit out of it, that’s how. You must have seen some cooking shows on how they slice every goddam way and voila! Dices. Have a band-aid standbye

Now, heat a bit of oil in your pan or pot, whichever your wife might not use as assault weapon if your cooking sucks. How much of oil? Well, how old are you? How suicidal?

When it heats up, it will splutter like shit because you forgot to heat up the pan to dry the water droplets, in which case some of the oil hit you on your face giving you permanent scare, throw the onion in.

Wait till it becomes golden brown. Don’t get excited, that’s not real gold. Or at least for colour blinds like me.

Throw in the garlic and stir them for awhile until you realise that smell is not your son’s poo, but garlic burning.

So, scoop two (or more) tablespoons of chili paste and fry them till you hear your wife and son sneezing their lungs away.

Add in the tomato, and make sure you didn’t include the fingertip you accidentally sliced just now.

Now, you got to keep stirring till the tomato melts away, add bit of water if you want. If you don’t, I didn’t force you. That’s a disclaimer for you.

When they are about watery, add in the cut tofu. Now, here’s a tip. Instead of using spatula or any other appliances, I suggest you use a spoon and turn the tofu gently so that you don’t break them. There’s a tip for you, now take the tontee five rupees.

Cheating part

I use fish sauce, mwahahahahaha!!!! If you are vegetarian, you can use vege stock because these are the one that’s going to give taste, not the tofu.


Now, wait till it dries up. And wait. Turn the tofu. Wait. Scratch your bum. Turn the tofu. Wait. Turn the tofu. Wait. And finally when it is done, call for pizza delivery.

Friday, October 05, 2012

James Bond OO7 into 50th year (the movie bugger I mean): Some thoughts.

Ian Fleiming's impression of how James Bond should look. Your guess is not as good as mine.

It’s one of the most successful film franchises ever(take that Star Trek!). It has some of the most iconic movie moments, dialogues, glamourous, beautiful, sexy girls (take that Star Trek), great exotic locations (take that National Geographic), great action sequences (take that Die Hard),great villains and henchmen (take that Take That) and a bunch of actors playing the same character heroically, with the first one actually getting away in six (seven) films with a wig. And he’s the best.

You know the name, and you know the number, but you can never figure out how the heck did the James Bond film series reached 50 years with billions of revenue, millions of fan, thousands of rip-offs, hundreds of wannabes, ten of those who haven’t watched any of them and all that would not have happened if not for one man that created James Bond.

Well, two, if you consider the fact that the character James Bond was named after an author of a book on West Indies Birds, because Ian Fleming wanted a dull name for his hero for that espionage thriller story he was going to write.

You see. Fleming was trying to recover from the shock that he was suddenly married at the age of forty with someone (else’s wife first, who later divorced her hubby) when he was a happy go lucky, ex-Navy commander, journalist, car enthusiast, chain-smoking alcoholic trying to carve a name for himself and try to overcome his jealousy of that goddam brother of his, Peter, who was a lot more famous figure in the literature circle as awesome travel writer of that time.

Aside: Two, owing to the fact that the owner of that dull name had mom and dad, remember? You got to give credit where it’s due. For the benefit of twitter readers: James Bond nmd aftr some birdguy.Fleming mst thx his parents. Lol: N-of-asside.

It would be difficult for the present day folks, those who are, well, not even born in 1953, much less those who were born couple years later, to understand the phenomena of James Bond books. Okay, considering that most of the readers of this blog are Asians, I think it would be safe to say that it was not until somewhere in the later part of 1960s onwards when Bond started permeating Asia. And I don’t mean it in dirty way.

As usual, Japan was one of the first to catch up…so much so that in 1967 the producers decided that You Only Live Twice should be shot in Japan because the Novel it is based on is based in Japan. Hah! Fabulous decision, eh?

Well, Fleming fans knows this. And we say it in most sincere manner, “Fuck you, producers…"wait, where are all those asterisks. Okay, “F*** you producers, You Only Live Twice novel takes place after On Her Majesties’ Secret Service novel where Bond’s wife dies????”. I exaggerated. Back in 60s they used fewer exclamation marks. It hurts the typewriter (they existed as a job function)’s little finger.

Anyway, it was so phenomenal that we Asians actually managed to, with some difficulty, to spell, “Phenomenal”. The 70s upped the ante with more action oriented, humour laced Bond films that so much so, in Asia, any action films were labelled “James Bond styled action films” unless martial arts were involved (India and Turkey especially will understand what I am talking about).  

This writer is confused as to remembering which was the first Bond film he saw. Was it Octopussy bootleg video he watched in a relatives house during a festive season. Or was it You Only Live Twice open air screening we (he, his brothers and dad) watched in their plantation (we had to sit on straw mat, till dad has to force us to walk back to our home to bed, I, 8 or 9 years old, cried).

It was after this that I (this writer, who were you thinking) started to wonder who the heck James Bond was. I believe many of the non-European and American kids were figuring out too at that time. And in 1986, they decided to get another guy as Bond and that was the time when the name Ian Fleming was bandied about broadly.

This, is because the actor who was chosen at that time insisted that the character should go back to the book. I was intrigued. I borrowed books of the author from the school library. In fact, I stole three of them.
I kept up with the paper clippings at that time. The new guy is serious following Ian Fleming’s work. This was the time when reboot means you kick your brother again with your boot. And the producers and this actor just did that, brought back Bond to what Fleming was thinking about.

Also, at that time, they started screening the older Bond movies on TV and I was hooked as fanatic Bond fan for life, unitl 1995, of course, where I declared that I am an ex-Bond fan.

The point is. At some point in someone’s life, James Bond OO7 (not 007) has impacted some or other useless buggers’ life, including mine. Even if I hated the 1995-2002 version, and feel the 2006-present version got the right guy and everything else wrong; I still wait in bated breath for the next installation. 50 fucking years, I mean, 50  f****** years. That’s one badass achievement. Tonight, wife requested for us to start indoctrinating my son. Dr. No, here we come.