Listing and writing down recipes… That is something I am yet to practice religiously. It’s not really because I don’t want to share or it’s just me being lazy (Err, this part is partly true. lol). It’s more because I have acquired the treasured and passed down tradition among Asian generations of “measuring it by eye.”😂
Now, before you call me weird and crazy, of course, this is not literal. What we mean by this is that we usually wing it when cooking and spice as we go. We taste the dish and add ingredients here and there, when necessary and/or appropriate. If you are an ‘Expert level: Asian Mum,’ you can even tell by smell sometimes (i.e. with vinegar). There would also often be moments of “hmmn, this dish is missing something,” which could lead to experimental instances like “what if I add lime” or “a splash of fish sauce would really lift this.”
We are unhindered by measurements and recipes, I tell you. In fact, when family and friends ask me how to cook something, my instructions would include spice quantities such as:
- up to you black pepper
- salt to your taste
- 2 tablespoons of sugar, more if you want it sweet
- not too much chilli!
- desired amount of cinnamon, A LOT if it’s up to me
- rosemary, add little by little
- little bit of ginger, a slice would do
- don’t go crazy on the garlic!
The template is “add *insert spice/herb name here* and taste it.” True story. Well, before you judge me, let me ask you… what do we really mean by “a pinch” anyway, eh?
Although it is great to have standard guides, there’s also joy in just being free in the kitchen. You do not have to be overly strict about methods or ingredients. Be practical! Take liberties! Improvise where needed. But for the love of god, please try not to burn it down. 😉