Caitlin Denton, 128 YinD
“I loathe cooking.”
If you were to ask a room full of Thailand PCVs to choose which of their fellow volunteers said the above statement there is 100% chance they would not choose me. From the beginning of PST I made my love for cooking clear while bragging about the success of my rice-cooker pineapple upside-down cake (yes, that really happened). But there was once a time in my life, where I associated the word “cooking” with a 1950’s housewife being forced to meet the demands of society through labor intensive process (over a hot stove) just to provide a hot and delicious meal for her spouse, regardless of her desire to be a career woman and share the household responsibilities with her partner. This was the actual story I would tell myself.
Because of this, I refused to enjoy cooking. I chose to view it a tedious requirement in order to fuel my body. But it was hard to deny the joy it brought me. Through Crushing garlic, slicing vegetables, and sifting flour, the process of meal preparation became a therapeutic and creative expression. The good could be celebrated and the bad forgotten. When I was able to share that meal with another individual, my happiness meter shot off the charts.
Through the series “Cooking With Cait”, I am hoping to share in this process with you by providing recipes I’ve concocted in my spare time at site. So sharpen your knives and let’s get cookin’!
Sesame Garlic Soba
*all recipes are cooked using ingredients for 1 person
- 1/2 inch diameter bundle of buckwheat Soba (available at Big C, Soba can be replaced with MaMa)
- 1/4 large carrot halted and thinly sliced
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 6 large cloves of garlic (keeps the vamps away), skin off, crushed with the side of a knife then chopped, not minced
- 1/4 cup chopped sweet potato
- 1/2 Leafy Greens (I prefer Chinese Broccoli)
- 1 TBSP Black Sesame
- 2 TBSP cooking oil
- 2 Tsp. Soy sauce
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 Tsp. Sesame oil (optional)
*Add your protein of choice (chicken/pork/tofu/shrimp etc.)
In a small pot bring the noodles to a boil (5-8 min), then drain and set them in a bowl of ice/cold water on the side.
Heat an un-oiled fry pan/wok and toss in the sesame seeds to toast. Stir them constantly to avoid burning. This should take about 30 sec total. Pour them into a bowl and set to the side.
With the same pan on a medium heat add the cooking oil, when heated add sweet potatoes to brown. Then add garlic, onion, carrot, and greens to sauté with a splash of soy sauce and a pinch of salt.
Drain the chilled noodles completely and on low quickly mix in noodles with veggies then pour into a bowl. In that bowl mix in the toasted sesame seeds and sesame oil.
*Artwork by Pakou Khang, group 128.