I thought I was going to lay off cooking for a while, but as it turns out, I had picked the wrong time to do so as Eid was just around the corner. Apparently (as I've come to realize a few days ago), we, the Aal Hamzah, have somewhat established our biannual Eid Open Houses in the past years, such that when I didn't email the sisters about it for this Eid, I received questions. Not in email, but on the forums!
Here is some of the exchange:
"I'm also wondering, are we coming over yaa UmmSakinah?" asks my dear K.
"Why don't you girls just call if you can come over? I don't have anything prepared though...got really fed up with cooking," I respond.
"You don't have to cook UmmSakinah... we just like chillin' with you and the family on Eid though..." she replies back.
"Then you all are very welcome to come over, but call first just to make sure,"I write back.
And somehow, it all percolates into,
"Fantastic...the time sounds great..see you girls tomorrow inshaallah!!"
And here I am, with renewed vigor, after having cooked up a 13 x 9 oval casserole dish of stir- fried Farfalle, replete with accurate measurements (an effort to train myself to write proper recipes) and of course with photos (which I truly enjoyed taking).
After spending days of tension headaches and crazy mood swings, I really look forward to having some good company.
1 lb. box Farfalle (or any kind of pasta), cooked al dente
3 Tablespoons Canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 yellow onion, minced
1/2 Tablespoon chili paste*
3 Cups ground beef
1 Tablespoon oyster sauce (I used the Lee Kum Kee brand)
2 Tablespoons light salty soy sauce (I used the ABC brand)
5 Tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 Maggi cube
1 Cup sliced carrots
1 Cup bean sprouts
2 Cups thinly sliced bok choy/nappa cabbage/cabbage
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
You will have to:
1. Heat the canola oil in an open wok or wide saucepan, and toss in the minced onion and garlic
2. Saute for about 1 minute before dumping in the chilli paste. You can add more if you wish to kick up the spicometer
3. Saute for 1 minute more before adding the ground beef. Keep stirring.
4. Add in the oyster sauce, Maggi cube, tomato ketchup, soy sauce, and sliced carrots, and stir until carrots are soft and ground beef are cooked
5. Add the bean sprouts, bok choy, and Farfalle
6. Stir well, making sure to turn the mixture over several times such that the pasta are evenly coated in the ground beef sauce, and the bok choy and beansprouts are slightly cooked (not too cooked).
7. Sprinkle evenly with lemon juice and enjoy it with some good company.
Serves 8 - 10
- You can omit the chilli paste if you wish
- You can omit the beansprouts and substitute with other vegetables if you wish
- It's best to use a flat metal spatula to cook this with as it's easier to shovel the pasta and flip it over in the last step
- * You can make the chilli paste by soaking some dried chillies in hot water to rehydrate them, and then blending them with just enough water until they come together as a wet paste. Refer to this post.
- I mix the smaller dried chilli peppers with the larger sweet ones so as not to make a chilli paste that is too pungent. (Rule of thumb: the smaller the chilli pepper, the hotter it is)
- You can keep this in the fridge for other uses, though be careful not to let it sit in the fridge too long without using it, as it can get moldy. If you don't use it a lot, either keep it in the freezer, make only enough for the dish that you are going to cook (but it's more energy efficient to make a big batch).
- You can also buy the ready made chilli paste called Sambal Oelek at Asian grocery stores.
- More information about dried chilli peppers on Cook's Thesaurus.
And, mashaallah, such good company it was too! Having these sisters over for Eid really made my Eid extra special. Jazakillah khair K, for asking me,
"Are we coming over, yaa Ummsakinah?"