10 January 2007

Grandma & Mee Siam Part Deux

On 6 Jan 2007, I spent the first Saturday of the New Year with my grandmother, learning how to cook her meesiam. I went with her to the wet market at 6.30am and spent that morning learning how to manoeuvre the trolley that she uses. One thing about shopping with your grandmother is that people will defer to her (and therefore to you too!). They'll be like "Aunty, you go first!" Wet market preferential treatment ;) Not bad at all!

My Meesiam Morning
We plunged right into the work after we came back from breakfast and worked non-stop from 8:30am - 11:30am. Making meesiam is a lot of work @_@

My first job is to peel shallots. I just spent a lot of time peeling this 1.5 packet of shallots ~_~ My grandma said that at the rate I'm going, I can only start cooking after lunch time T_T

What became of a nice plump white onion and the shallots I painstakingly peeled =) My grandma blended the shallots with balachan and this white-nut thingey she called baccarat, though I'm not sure what it is. She also blended a handful of dried shrimps.

She added the blended shallots and white onion into this pot of simmering broth. There is 1 packet of chilli paste, 2 packets of asam paste, 50c worth of lemongrass, 1 packet of rock sugar and other things I'm sure I've forgotten simmering in there. She used the dried shrimps and some chilli paste to fry the beehoon. No photos of those, though!

Hard boiled eggs. See, I get all the important roles. I peel the shallots and peel the eggs. Notice how half of the egg-white came off with the shell! My grandma shook her head and tutted when she saw the eggs =(

Another important task done by yours truly: Peeling the prawns. Yummy stuff, prawns :D These are fresh ocean prawns that were briefly boiled. Notice the succulent, plump flesh.

After a morning of peeling, deshelling, blending and boiling, the varied ingredients miraculously transformed into a steaming, glorious bowl of meesiam. Note: It's not dry meesiam, the soup is under the ingredients with the beehoon, as the bowl is rather deep. Doesn't it look fabulous??

It tasted great, of course (since I hardly interfered with the cooking process) =) My grandma didn't think that 1 session with her was enough for me to graduate though. She saw the day as a warm-up session, since she was still showing me most of the things (how to peel the prawn without tearing off half the tail, how to peel shallots in a more efficient manner, what are the names of the ingredients...) I wrote down the ingredients and the recipe, will post it up once I get a better idea of what are the english names of the vegetables and spices that she used! I will also need to have a go at it by myself, according to my grandma (she said that this time, she'll just sit and watch :P). I sound like a culinary dunce =(

All that aside, it was a lovely morning spent with her as we chatted about family members, laughed together and shared anecdotes =) It's been a long time since I could leisurely spend a whole morning with my grandmother... The time spent together is precious. She's happy that there's someone she can pass all her cooking skills to (albeit v.e.r.y. s.l.o.w.l.y....) and she's already thinking about teaching me her laksa, asam prawns and salted veg duck soup :D

I think that even if I don't really master the dishes, the most important thing is that at the end of the day, I'd have grown to know my grandma just a little bit better and that we've had some fun times together =)


Ms Krong said...

What a heartwarming entry! What hearty looking mee siam too! Can introduce your grandma to me? Then I can get a chance to try all the yummy food she cooks too! hee! =P

mer said...

The pix are great. Very vivid.

K, the end product looks delicious. I can feel the sourness across my screen I'm slurping away now. Slllurrp.

Quirkz said...

yahz, her mee siam is really very delicious.. as is everything else that she cooks :D

well if and when i graduate from peeling shallots, eggs and prawns, i might be able to eventually replicate at least ONE of her dishes :P

Uryll said...

i believe what you're refering to are buah keras, a.k.a Candlenuts

- yellow - said...

WOW.the pics are REALLY AWESOME la!ur cam is pretty good!but i suppose it's the food itself that makes the pics look good.
when u finally move on from de-shelling,please inform me so i can be the 100th person in line to try ur food.
of coz-
tt's only if the 99 before me remain alive.=D
press on!
*waves pompoms*

Quirkz said...

i think you're right!! thanks for solving this mystery :D

hahaha.. thanks! i use Canon Powershot A710 IS =) it's a great cam!

when i move on from peeling n deshelling, yup, you'll get an invite ;) but since there won't be 99ppl Q-ing up for my food, i'm pleased to inform u that u can be my very first guinea pig ;) heeheehee...

Stephanie said...

Hey Kai, could you share the recipe if you are done writing it..really look good and wish to make for samuel.he loves mee siam..hahaha..then you shall make for me ! oops...glad you have a wonderful bonding with your grandma..your grandma really rocks...