Cooking Without a Recipe

I love cooking on Saturday morning. Saturday is usually the one day of the week I can do whatever I want, so they’re pretty laid back and slow.

One Saturday, I didn’t want to go out and I didn’t feel like cooking anything in particular so I wandered into the kitchen and took stock of my resources. As I have the habit of shopping either on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, so by Saturday morning, my resources for the week are usually at the minimum level.

So I put on my adventuring mode and try off-road with what I have in my kitchen. Improvising is really the most natural way to cook. That’s how I develop my skill in cooking without a recipe or to cook from what I have, rather than get what I need to cook.

Cooking without a recipe gives me a chance to experiment with new spices, flavors, aromas, and really make my cooking unique and original.

‘Things from my Kitchen’ Dishes

These dishes were cooked with whatever I have left in my kitchen on one Saturday morning!

What did I find?

In my fridge I found a small bunch of choysum, white cabbage, green onion, carrots and bird-eye chilies; a small bowl of  left-over beef rendang (Indonesian beef stew), around 300 grams of cold cooked rice ; 5 slices of bacon; some eggs and a bottle of oyster sauce.

Then I checked my kitchen cabinet and  found 1 pack of dry noodles (300 grams), all purpose flour, some cloves of garlic, onions, standard cooking stuffs like salt, pepper, brown sugar, beef powder, chicken powder, cooking oil and  a jar of ready-made fried shallots.

I even found a jar of Thai dry-chili-shrimp-paste which I got from my Thai friend (this is  one of my magic ingredients for cooking fried rice).

  

One common thing in my family is all of us love chili. Half of the family members are noodle lovers and the other half are rice lovers. That’s why as long as I have stock of noodles, rice and chili in my kitchen, I think we can survive.

Now, what should I cook for our breakfast on one Saturday morning with all these ingredients?

First of all, what should I do with the noodles.  The easiest way to cook noodles is fried noodle. OK, let’s make fried noodles.

My free style Fried Noodles

The ingredients are  dry noodles, finely chopped garlic, finely sliced green onion, finely cut bird eye chilies, choysum cut into 2 cm length, finely sliced white cabbage, sliced button mushroom, finely chopped bacon, meat balls, 1  egg, 2 – 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce and cooking oil.

This is the process of making the fried noodles:

  • Cook the noodles in boiling water for a few minutes until soft but still firm  (in cooking pasta it is called al dente).

  • Remove from the water and pour a little bit of cooking oil.
  • Stir fry the garlic in a wok on high heat until fragrant
  • Quickly add the chilies, white cabbage, mushroom and meat ball
  • Add the egg, stir until the egg is well cooked and dry
  • Add the noodle, then the choysum. Pour in the oyster sauce
  • Continue to stir fry for a few minutes until all the ingredients mix well with the noodles
  • Add the green onion and further stir fry for 30 seconds
  • Remove from heat. Serve it warm.

 

The look of the fried noodle may not be that appealing but the taste was yummy and that’s all the matter.

One dish is done but I still have one little problem. Since the ingredients for fried noodle like the bacon, meat ball and the veggies were only available in small amount, I could not fried all the 300 gram noodles so I still have around 100 gram of cooked noodles left.

What should I do with these cooked noodles?

Hey, I got an idea.

How about Free Style Noodle Fritters?

The ingredients are 100 grams cooked noodles, coarsely grated carrot, finely sliced white cabbage, finely chopped bacon, chicken powder, 2 eggs, 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour, salt and pepper, cooking oil.

This is the process of making the Noodle Fritters

  • Put the flour into a bowl. Add beaten eggs, beat the mix until smooth.
  • Add the noodles, carrot, white cabbage, green onion  and a little bit of sliced bacon
  • Add chicken powder, salt and pepper, stir to combine
  • Deep fry tablespoons of the mixtures in hot oil
  • Turn fritters and cook on the other side
  • Remove from heat and place on paper towel to absorb the excess oil
  • Serve warm as appetizer or snack

Now, for the rice lovers in my family, the easiest way is to cook them fried rice. But I did not have any meat or chicken or bacon left, even no more chilies. How should I cook the fried rice?

Well, I still have the left over beef rendang (spicy beef stew) and Thai dry-chili-shrimp-paste, onion, garlic and ready-made fried shallots.

Here comes My Free Style Fried Rice

The ingredients are the cold rice, left over beef rendang (spicy beef stew), cut up the meat into small pieces, 2 table-spoons of Thai dry-chili-shrimp-paste, 1 onion, chopped, 2 cloves of garlic chopped, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of ready-made fried shallots, cooking oil.

This is the process of making Free Style Fried Rice:

  • In a wok, stir fry the onion and garlic until fragrant
  • Add the Thai dry-chili-shrimp-paste
  • Add the beef rendang
  • Add the egg, stir until well cooked and dry
  • Add the rice, keep on stirring until mix well
  • Add salt and continue to fry for 10 minutes or so
  • Remove the fried rice from the wok and place in a bowl
  • Garnish with fried shallots

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