Yesterday afternoon when I sent brownies to Wee Leng, she casually pointed to me and said, "You don't eat your brownies ha?". The night before, Yeanti had remarked that I may have lost a few pounds. I had told Wee Leng, "I have 3 monsters to deal with everyday!", while to Yeanti I had said, "More veges..."
Well, both responses are true. One, yes, my 3 boys really do wear me down, EVERYDAY!!! Two, since darling husband was diagnosed as type 2 diabetic a couple of months back, we've both been on a diet that has low sugar and more greens, the bitter the better.
I'm no pro cook, nor am I diligent in the kitchen, and cheat I always do. But, I would very much like to share this ultra simple dish with you. If I, the stay at home mom who successfully perfects the art of M.A.S.A.K. (Jules' definition : M=Mommy, A=Always, S=Stops, A=At, K=Kedai to tapau; thanks Aini!) can do it, so can you :)
Jules' Fried Bitter Greens
My basic ingredients are petai (parkia, but I prefer sticking to petai, more character!), bitter gourd (peria katak), red onions, green leaves (my choice is baby kailan), and the Magic element, Torch Ginger or bunga kantan. And, as in all basic cooking, you'll want salt, pepper, chilly and seasonings, which are all based on individual preference. I use anchovy granules and chilly flakes.
So I heat a bit of vegetable oil in the pan and sautee the onions. I don't use garlic here coz I personally don't like it with my torch ginger. Okay, then I put in some anchovy granules, blend well. Once caramelised, I dump in the whole load of petai, bitter gourd and kailan. I let it cook and soften slightly, adding a bit of water to keep it moist, and a drizzle of chilly flakes for taste. Then lastly, I slide in the Magic ingredient, very thinly sliced torch ginger, which on its own adds voluminously to the flavour of this very simple dish. Let it sit for a few seconds and then turn off the heat. Voila! Sap sap soey huh? :)
I also regularly add torch ginger to my salads, the young ones are the best; they make a simple combo of butterhead, romaine and iceberg taste ultra flavourful, and you won't even need any fancy dressing, just a dash of olive oil and vinegar (I use date vinegar) will do. Or when I'm dead lazy, I simply boil some good old tofu, then sprinkle in finely sliced torch ginger. It's all in the Magic Torch... :)
Torch ginger, bitter gourd and petai are traditionally believed to prevent or counter diabetes and other illnesses like high blood pressure and kidney problems, amongst others. You can read more about their medicinal properties in Healing Herbs of Malaysia, published by Felda. But if you are ever uncertain of anything, you must always consult your doctor first.
So yes, I do eat my own brownies, and all the other sinful stuff, durians for one, never do I say no to durians! And then, I find elements that would help to balance out all my unholy indulgence. I also try to eat systematically, meaning, I combine my foods accordingly, and follow the correct process, for example, having fruits first, followed by carbs, then proteins, etc. And, apart from chasing monsters everyday, I try to work up some aeorobics regularly, about 20 minutes everyday, and the simplest way for me is going up and down the stairs. That's all :) Basically, past 40 especially, a lifestyle made up of a balanced diet and regular exercise, is seriously essential. At the end of the day, size 6 or size 14, you must feel good about yourself. What is life after all, if you can't enjoy the things you love? :)