If you frequent my blog, you might have noticed the change in culinary focus. We’ve been on an Asian diet for a couple of weeks now. For starters, I’ve started to feel like the Leftovers Queen, whipping up dishes with what’s available. It’s practical, I know, but I also get this urge to learn something new. Asian cooking is a vast, vast arena and I only know a fraction of it. I want to learn about ingredients, new combinations and techniques, new ways of appreciating food… so there.
Secondly, I have this theory about diets. The obesity and heart ailment epidemics haven’t hit Asia — yet — because we are still eating REAL food. That might not be for long considering the onslaught of fast food, imported canned goods, just-drop-in-hot-water food and frozen processed food in the local market but, for now, we’re still eating fresh fish, meat and vegetables. I figured if I stick with REAL food, and that will necessarily include Speedy and the girls unless they want to cook their own meals, we’d be better off.
Ever since we built a new kitchen and Speedy bought a convection oven, I’ve always dreamed of escaping the fried fish culture. I hate, hate, hate the mentality that fish is only good when deep fried and crisp. To begin with, I hate frying because it’s messy. Secondly, there are so many ways of cooking fish and I just felt that we were missing out on so much because Speedy grew up with crisp fried fish and he has taught his daughters that tilapia and hito are no good unless fried to a crisp. They can do the frying if they continue to insist. I bought an electric grill.
Time was when grilling was a weekend activity and something I didn’t do unless Speedy agreed and was willing to stand in front of the charcoal grill, under the sun, fanning the live coals with old newspaper, etcetera. We’ve stayed away from electric grills because of the horrible way they consume electricity and I’ve been searching and searching for a good stovetop grill. But the ones available are either too small, too expensive or the quality is just terrible.
A couple of days ago, I saw this grill at the supermarket, P1.045.00, runs on electricity but can also be used with live coals. How cool is that, huh? It fits on the kitchen counter, can accommodate 10 skewers at a time, is practically smokeless (water is added in a small tank underneath) and cleaning is a breeze. Use it as an electric grill during rainy days; use it with charcoal on sunny days and when Speedy isn’t grumpy.