I’m looking forward to episode two of Top Chef Masters. While watching the first episode last week, I remembered judge James Oseland, editor of Saveur magazine, had once given me a copy of his cookbook, Cradle of Flavor.
I’m a little embarrassed to say I hadn’t tried cooking from it yet, so last weekend seemed like a good time to start. The book features recipes from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, so I stopped by my local Vietnamese market to stock up on some of the less-than-common ingredients in the book. I settled on a dish called Mee Goren Tauceo, or Stir-Fried Chinese Egg Noodles with Shrimp and Asian Greens. One thing I’ve learned about cooking Asian food is that you have to be a little bit flexible. Fortunately Oseland gives handy options, like substituting dried noodles for fresh, and a few choices of veggies.
I tweaked the portions a bit, because I really like shrimp — there they are above, cooking in peanut oil, garlic, and soybean paste. After you stir-fry the greens, you add a mixture of water, double-black soy sauce, and salt. I experimented a little bit at this stage with some great results. (I’d say, “Don’t tell Oseland,” but I think he’s stopped by my blog before.)
This is one of my new favorite recipes, but I have a funny feeling I’ll make it differently every time I try it. I’ve got most of the ingredients now to make the Char Kuey Teow next. For the record, this entire review is biased — James Oseland is a cool guy, and the fact that he gave me a copy of the book means you probably shouldn’t take my word for how good it is. But if you’re an adventurous cook, I’d highly recommend this one.