One of the many things unique about Melbourne is the city’s multicultural diversity. Since the 1950s, Melbourne’s culture has has been shaped by the many immigrants who have made Melbourne their home.
As an immigrant myself, living in Melbourne has exposed me to foods and cuisines outside of my native Southeast Asian cuisine. Besides the usual Anglo-Saxon fare, other cuisines available in Melbourne’s many restaurants and cafes include Greek, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Indian and more.
In particular, the influence of Melbourne’s Greek community (one of the largest outside Greece) has made foods like souvláki as common and popular as fish and chips. My Greek friends and co-workers have also introduced me to other Greek foods, one of them being spanakópita.
Continue reading Spanakópita (Greek Spinach and Feta Pie)
I will forever associate spinach with Popeye the Sailor Man, thanks to the cartoons I used to watch as a little kid. Back then, I even thought that eating spinach would give me superhuman strength, just like Popeye. Yes, those were the days when my parents told me that Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck lived inside my steam inhaler- and I believed them.
“Where are they? I don’t see them!”
“Keep looking! And hold still and keep breathing.”
Ahh… childhood innocence.
These days I’m aware that spinach alone won’t help me with my bench press. But it’s an extremely nutritious vegetable, so I try to eat it every now and then.
Problem is, I hate washing spinach. I remember the hours (it seemed) I’d spend attempting to wash spinach under running water, wondering if there was an easier way.
As the saying goes, ask and ye shall receive.
Continue reading How To Wash Spinach
Like many Asian cooks, my mother never bothers with standard measuring cups and spoons. This made it incredibly challenging during my time as her apprentice when she was demonstrating a new dish.
“And then you add some salt and sugar….” she would say, as she quickly scooped some salt and sugar from their respective jars and added them to the sizzling wok.
“Hang on,” I would interrupt. “How much salt is that? One teaspoon?”
“Oh, I’m not too sure. Just agak-agak how much you need,” would come the vague reply. Oh… those were the days when I wanted to hit my head against the wall in frustration.
Agak-agak is a Malay phrase that means ‘estimate’. Or more accurately, ‘guesstimate’. When applied to cooking, the cook makes an educated guess as to how much of a particular ingredient is needed, tasting and adjusting as she goes. It’s a skill that takes plenty of experience.
Asian cooks from the older generations tend to be ambivalent towards cookbooks, because they learnt how to cook by watching others. Traditionally, recipes were passed down orally and consisted of a mere list of ingredients. There were no hard-and-fast measures, because the focus was on the taste of the dish.
Continue reading Cooking By Taste
Welcome to Kitchen Dojo!
Kitchen Dojo is a personal project that aims to explore the art and craft of cooking. My goal is to share my love for cooking and photography, as well as other lifestyle topics close to my heart. It’s a constantly evolving work in progress, so don’t be too surprised if things change a bit now and then.
A great place to start is the ‘About’ page and the category links in the sidebar. Browse around and enjoy.
Thanks for stopping by.