Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Sambal Series - Sambal stingray


I had a timid youth when it came to late night partying. The idea of going to a club always turned out to be more fun than the actual experience. The part of the evening I enjoyed best was the supper we would go to afterwards. Blurry-eyed and half-deaf from having 100 decibels drummed into our ears, it may take prata and teh tarik or Teochew porridge to recalibrate our senses. But eventually, we just dropped the disco beat and went straight to the late-night supper.

Oh, the options we had in Singapore for nocturnal makan.... At the top of my list are the sambal stingray and sambal kangkong from the seafood stall at Adam Road hawker center. As we discussed important issues of day - politics, gossip or matters of the heart, our fingers nimbly work the chopsticks into the white flesh of the fish. I made sure every picking include enough sambal so that I could taste the mingling of salty-sweet spice and fish with each mouthful. I remember the food better than the conversations. Perhaps we might accompany our meal with calamari or clams, but the stingray and the kangkong were a must. We ate with relish until we had to scrape the fish meat from its bones.

Sadly, since I moved to the Bay Area, I have been hard-pressed to find stingray in any of the supermarkets. But last week, while I was shopping for pomfrets at Ranch 99, I spotted these bottom feeders at the fresh seafood section. Or rather, I spotted the "wings" of the stingray. I was so excited, I wondered who I could call to share the news. Yes, that is my life now. So I bought one, went home and plotted my sambal.

My husband helped me peel off its rubbery skin while I prepared the sambal. I used some sambal belacan I had, added a little sugar and some tamarind juice and I was done. I put the fish on the oven and finished by broiling it. A spray of lime juice and it is ready. Sitting succulently on a banana leaf, it transported me back to those late night suppers. The fish was fresh and the spice level just right. I can't wait for the next stingray spotting.

Monday, June 29, 2009



I am enjoying this memoir, lent to me by Danielle.

I am studying Spanish at the local community college. But I am going to try livemocha too.

Smooth Criminal is one of my favorites - remember when he did that gravity-defying lean?

Love treasure hunts? What a cool job.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I was in college when Michael Jackson came to Singapore to perform. My brother was a long-time fan. Michael Jackson's Thriller album was the first cassette tape he owned. We had planned to go to the concert separately with our friends. Then I jokingly asked my mum if she wanted to come along. I never expected her to say yes - after all she is a conservative and traditional woman who does not even speak English. But this was Michael Jackson - whose music we had played frequently in our home and whose music videos kept my siblings and I mesmerized in front of the television. So in the end, my brother and I decided to take both my mother and our younger teenage sister to the concert. In her traditional Malay garb, she sat back and enjoyed the music while her children were dancing and screaming crazily. It was the only time she ever attended a pop concert - she had to - it was Michael Jackson. And she loved telling her friends all about it.

Monday, June 15, 2009


introducing dexter

What I am reading now.

How does language shape who we are?

A great way to spend a couple of hours. Side-stitch included.

Now I know my miso.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Korean pancakes for dinner


I made Korean pancakes for dinner with this recipe. I love this dish because you can use whatever you have in the kitchen - it's like fried rice, only with flour. I used a carrot and 3 asparagus for the first pancake. The second pancake was leftover chicken with scallion. We don't have a non-stick pan so I made one with an enameled pan and the other with a cast-iron pan. I like using the cast-iron one because it gave a pancake a nice brown crust.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Maximum returns" hike

That's how my husband described the hike we did at Tomales Bay Point - 6 miles, 3.5 hours.

Difficulty rating based on how tough: 1
Quality rating based on scenic beauty: 10!
(as rated by California Hiking)


the pacific ocean on the left and tomales bay on the right

the point where the ocean meets the bay


more elks

That's why this is so wrong.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Because everything starts with breakfast

breakfast1, originally uploaded by high over happy.

Don't we always start with a good breakfast?

I like stirring almond butter into my oatmeal. And lately, as a treat, I sometimes drip melted chocolate over my oatmeal too. A day that starts with chocolate promises to be a good day.