Archive for December, 2010

Cooking Sayurlama

Well, this is kind of unusual but here I’m writing about cooking.  No…I’m not imitating Julie and Julia.  Or Julia and Julie. Lately I have been more inclined toward cooking for whatever reason.  And one of the Malaysian dishes that I like is Sayurlama.  Ling used to cook this and so I asked her to teach.  It means, vegetable with coconut milk.  It is delicious.  So my theory is, you first brown ikan bilis, malaysian word for anchovies.  Then you cut onion and garlic.  Blend everything in a blender with a bit of oil.  Once blended really well, you heat it until it smells really nice. Make sure you add chili paste.  I use gang dang (Thai red curry paste you can find in most oriental stores). Because I can’t really eat very spicy, I use only half a package.  Once they all mixed really well, add half a can of coconut milk.  Bring it to boil then add a can of water.  As you can tell I do not use any measurement.  I am bad with math.  But if you follow what is available at the grocery store, you will be doing just fine.  Bring it to boil and add the rest of the coconut milk.  This is when I add cabbage (cut into cubes) and bring it to boil.  Leave it simmering for a while and there you have it.  If you want to increase the flavor, try adding blachan (or in Thai we call krapi). It stinks but it tastes real good.  Add just a touch for flavor.  Let me know how it goes but if it is not turning out right, please do not blame me for it.

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So a friend told me about making physical transition from one location to another.  And in the midst of this transition the place called home is temporary suspended.  I asked what temporal homelessness feels like? And the response was some what unusual, “free.”  This makes me ponder what I’ve often discussed with my students in class about simplicity.  How free we are in a sense is all connected to how able we are at simplicity.  I suppose simplicity is not only judged at the material level.  Simplicity seems to also suggest a way of life, of being.  To be simple in what we expect of life, to be simple in what we expect of others, to be simple in where we expect ourselves to be.  Simplicity increases our threshold level, increases our immunity toward the unexpected, the random events in life.  Our ability to live with less makes us less vulnerable.  Our ability to adapt to the contour of life regardless of the ups and the downs provides stability.  When we can live with the highs (which isn’t too hard) and when we can live with the lows, we can sustain ourselves.  We can appreciate success and we can accommodate failures.  Simplicity as a state of being offers a sustenance to remain in the presence.  The problem is the practice of simplicity is not as simple as we think it is.


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