Ngoh Hiang (Hokkien Fried Meat Roll)

Thursday and I went into the kitchen of my aunt's house to learn to make the most traditional of dishes - Ngoh Hiang. If you are a chinese, you can't not know what this dish is, for as I've found out, it is a must have at every big occasion.

So from scratch, this is the filling. A mixture of minced pork, water chestnut, onions, carrot, prawns, fish paste, 'hua jiao' powder, rice flour, plain flour, pepper, sugar, msg, salt,egg. Stirring it was an excellent form of exercise.

Then we wrap it up with bean curd sheet and steam it with vermicelli below to absorb the excess moisture. The vermicelli will then taste very sweet when cooked. It's actually genius.

And this is how it looks after steaming for 15 mins. It can be kept up to 3 weeks in the fridge.

When the occasion calls for it, simply deep fry the steamed ngoh hiang and then cut it up and serve. Maybe it was because I helped in making this, or maybe my aunt's just genius. In any case, even though it was pork (I try to avoid meat), I couldn't resist seconds.

It was a very nostalgic experience making this. For it is at such moments that I forget reality and remember. I remember the days when my grandma would spend her days in the kitchen, whipping up delicious food for the ones she loved. I remember when she always lamented the fact that there was no one to share her enthusiasm for cooking. I remember her love.

My grandma was a nyonya. She was smart and gifted, but in the old days, females were worthless. So she was sold off to a family and spent her youth holed up in their kitchen as a maid. It was there where she would peek and learn the going ons of the kitchen and from there commit to memory. At a marriageable age, she was immediately given to any man who would take her. He had the worst temper imaginable, and believed only in violence. Her life was tough, but she perservered; she cooked, sometimes I think to save her life.

Then years passed, I came to her. She loved me, doted on me and wished nothing but the best for me. I stayed with her for most of my childhood days, but the child in me didn't know love. And when she left, she took away all her skills and talent, but not her love. Never her love. Because up till today, I still feel it, and I think of her sometimes, it makes me smile to know that I've been lucky enough to come across forever love.

I regret not having enough time with her, I regret letting those skills go to waste and I regret not growing up fast enough to know her. She's my only regret, and I don't want anymore regrets. So I learn to cook, so I can cook. So that when my life needs to be saved, I'll be able to cook.

Today I shared this with some of the vballers, it tasted great.

Some people write, some people hurt themselves, some people cry. For me, I like to put everything into a cake, and shit it all out later.

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