Monday, January 18, 2010

happy place

I used to have a happy place when I was a child. You know, the happy place in your mind you go to when you're sad, bored or lonely. Mine was a spacecraft – built for one. It was egg shaped (think eerio aarnio-esque), had a blue furry seat which reclined fully in to a bed. And it had all sorts of buttons, levers and dials. There were windows which I would look out into space, and with me on my cosmic voyages, was timothy the teddy bear. All this was in my head of course, the spacecraft I tried to build in my bed wasn't egg shaped and it was constructed out of pillows, but trusty timothy was with me. I was fascinated by the space-travel volume of my Charlie Brown and Peanuts children's encyclopedia, and I would gaze endlessly at the pictures of astronauts in space. They had to eat sticky food due to the lack of gravity in orbit - and there were lots of pictures of them eating macaroni and cheese.

I was thinking about that happy place recently – I haven't gone there since I was 12. But as random thoughts go, I thought about what I'd eat if I were an astronaut. I don't care very much for those freeze dried packs of beef stew one finds in camping shops apparently developed for space travel. As sticky foods go, I love sticky rice. I love sticky rice with sweet ripe sliced mangoes. I love it cooked with coconut milk and pandan custard in kueh salat. I love it steamed in lotus leaves with bits of pork belly, chicken and water chestnuts at dim sum.
And as with many of my random thoughts lead to the kitchen, I found myself making these chicken rice balls. Minced chicken (or minced turkey works too), marinated with soy, a splash of rice wine, sesame oil, mixed with chopped scallions and bits of mushroom. The mince mix was rolled into little balls, then coated with glutinous rice which had been soaked overnight. The rice coated chicken balls were then steamed for 25 minutes and eaten with a chilli sauce.

p.s. I still have trusty timothy, though now he resides in my wardrobe beneath my row of suits rather than on the bed in our makebelieve spaceship – I rescued him from storage in my parent's house and flew him up to london with me a few years back because I couldn't bear (lol) the thought of him languishing alone in that dusty store-room.


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