Monday, 4 March 2013

Stir Fried Iceberg Lettuce


My grandma in general is not a fan of vegetables. She dislikes cabbage but loves kangkung a lot. Another vegetable that she is fond of is iceberg lettuce stir fried with garlic and salt. She loves it because the lettuce is very soft and easy on her palate when it is fried. When I was growing up, grandma used to fry lettuce quite often. Later on when I came to live in PJ, I noted that there is a similar vegetable dish - fried yau mak.

I decided to have a simple meatless meal after all the goodies I had during Chinese New Year. I thought stir fried lettuce and some taukwa (beancurds) would make a nice light meal. So, I fried a whole head of lettuce with one whole bulb of garlic and some salt. I love garlic and it may sound like a lot of lettuce but it cooks down considerably. I enjoyed the lettuce very much, it tasted very much like what my grandma used to cook.



Talking about childhood memories, I wouldn't be wrong to say that most of us (at least the over 40 age group) became interested in pop music when we were in our teens. At least that was how it was for me. My grandma's opposite neighbour's son was the source of my initial introduction to pop music. I never got to know the guy (never even set eyes on him, believe it or not) and he used to crank up his dad's hi-fi with songs from the late 70's and 80's. That was the era of Saturday Night Fever, you know the one where John Travolta strikes a pose while pointing his finger to the ceiling.



And I have a confession to make. At that time, I did enjoy sentimental songs. Looking back, some of them are quite sappy. One of the first songs that made an impression on me was All Out of Love by Air Supply. Not that I was in love or anything like that (I did have a crush on the late Andy Gibb, though) but I loved the melody. Up till today, I still go for melody and beat in a song. I don't really care what they sing about unless of course it's something really bad.

And that being the disco era, I liked upbeat (aka hot) songs like Funkytown by Lipps Inc (I still like it ***cringe***), Ring My Bell by Anita Ward (Riiiing my beeelll...eellll...eelll, ring my bell, ding dong, ding dong...) and of course Night Fever by The Bee Gees.



Kids these days start a lot earlier. I was quite taken aback when my little nephew was moo, moo, mooing away to Maroon 5's Moves Like Jagger. I guess parents are quiet liberal now and in the internet age, kids get a lot more exposure compared to kids during my time.

When my mum was growing up, my grandpa was very strict. They were only allowed to listen to classical music, you know, the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Vivaldi. Don't ever mention Elvis or The Beatles or you'll get a lecture from grandpa. And my aunt (the one who taught me cooking) was made to cycle to town immediately to return a record she bought. It was the song Witch Doctor by David Seville (1958) that got her into trouble!



Once, grandpa took me to town to buy cassettes when he noticed that I liked listening to music. I was hoping to get the latest disco hits. But grandpa asked the record shop owner "You have old hits?". Alamak.........what a spoiler. I went home with two cassettes. I still remember one of the songs in there. One way ticket, one way ticket to the blues..............That's how I felt lah when I ended up with the greatest old hits.

And how on earth did I get into hard rock and heavy metal? Well, that will come up in another post. Just to give you a sneak peak, it all started in Assunta, PJ. Yeah, lots of stuff happen in a convent. I hope Sister Enda Ryan is reading this. Hee...hee.....

Stir Fried Iceberg Lettuce
Recipe Source : Phong Hong's Grandma

Ingredients :
- 1 head of lettuce
- 1 small bulb of garlic
- salt to taste

Method :
- Wash and drain lettuce leaves.
- Tear leaves into smaller pieces.
- Peel garlic by smashing it a little and leave whole.
- Heat oil in wok.
- Add garlic and some salt.
- Fry the garlic until it is just slightly brown.
- Throw in the lettuce leaves and stir fry until wilted.
- Adjust seasoning and serve immediately.


46 comments:

  1. I guess both of us are around the same era but I know I am much older than you. I am crazy over Air Supply too. My fav are Here I Am, All out of love and Making love out of nothing at all. Such a 'lum' songs ha ha... I like having lettuce this way too but my husband think I am weird for stir-frying lettuce. He said it should be eaten raw. Mat Salleh, what do they know ha ha..

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    1. Hee..hee...I was crazy about Air Supply at one time. I guess Mat Salleh can't understand why we fry a salad vegetable. Your Carlos doesn't know what he is missing :)

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  2. Phong Hong, you have cooked my favourite dish today! I love to drizzle them with some light soy sauce & lots of sesame oil, hmmm, love it!

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    1. Jessie, then I must try and drizzle sesame oil too!

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  3. Hi Phong Hong, both iceberg lettuce or yau mak and beancurd are my favourites. I cooked them quite often but thought it was too simple to share. I add lots of garlic too and used fish sauce instead of salt. Saturday Night Fever and Night Fever are the songs played during our aerobic sessions. You get to sway with the music so naturally.

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    1. Kimmy, I thought it was too simple too. But since it is nice and some people might not know about it. Oh, yes the music is nice for exercise. Makes the workouts more fun.

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  4. Hi Phong Hong
    This is an easy dish to cook; which I usually prefer to "ching cau".

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    1. Mel, "ching cau" is the simplest and best way to cook vege.

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  5. I like this dish very much. The lettuce remains crunchy and delicious. Thanks for sharing your grandma's recipe.

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  6. I don't like cooking those. Would rather eat them raw.

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    1. Yah, I actually prefer it raw too but cooked it just to relive my childhood memories :)

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  7. put some tauju (fuyee) in it will be nice too... i bet 'wanler ticket' is the fehmes one during those years...

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    1. Yum, I like tauju! Hee..hee..."wanler tiket" and "oh Carol, I'm a blahdyfuuul...".

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  8. ni mmg diet betul2 ek.. makan sayur jer hehee

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    1. Ye lah, diet biar diet betul2 hee..hee...tapi tak kurus pun....

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  9. Never tried stir frying lettuce. perfect salad

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    1. Vimitha, bet you think it is strange :)

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  10. Oh yes, I love cooking my lettuce this way too! It's simple, but real yummy with the garlic!

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    1. Shirley, must have lots of garlic for the strong flavours!

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  11. Phong Hong this one of my favourite dish I use cook to this quite often you know who lah will tell me that it's not for frying.My God you still remember the Witch Doctor .A long time ago Mak Ee rang me up and she sang Witch Door I am so in love with you .E ah wo lah lah .I thought it was wrong number and told her You gilah kah I put down the phone .she then rang your mum what happen and she laughed.I had to wait untill kong- kong goes to work then I can play my Cliff Richard ,Bettles.But must be on guard when I see him I will quickly stop and hid all the records What a life!!

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    1. Hah! Hah! I will always remember that story! Very funny lah...

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  12. SIMPLY LOVELY!
    One of my favourite vegetable!

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    1. Francesca, I tried an Italian version with hot olive oil and vinegar. It is yum!

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  13. Hi PH! Just salt and garlic... simple but it will bring out the original sweetness and flavour of the vegetable. I like vegetable cooked this way.

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    1. Yes, Alvin, garlic and salt works wonders!

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  14. Hi Phong Hong,
    I love this veggie, and stir-fry most veggies this way too, without anything else except salt and lots of garlic!
    Ring my bell...I used to like that song, about 2 weeks ago, this song was played over the radio, my kids was in the car with me, and their response "Aiyah... what kind of song is this?" kakaka! I told them that it was one of my old favourite songs and was a big hit back then!
    Yeah, my favourites are the ever-green Cliff Richard, Everly Brothers, Elvis, Beatles....
    and I love country songs too!
    Looking forward to your hard rock and heavy metal "awakening" post!

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    1. Joyce, your kids comments really makes us feel "old" eh? Back when I was in my teens, I never liked the songs my parents loved. And they definitely don't appreciate heavy metal hah! hah! Now I understand lots of things, getting wiser by the years!

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  15. Replies
    1. Thanks, Jay! Frying a salad vege may sound strange but it is good!

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  16. I like this vege too, so simple so delicious!

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    1. Yes, simple and delicious and I can eat with no guilt!

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  17. I like this dish too but I usually just celur hot water. Then put some kicap, fried garlic n oil

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    1. That's a good way of preparing it too :)

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  18. Look like you also in my age group, hahaha..this is very homey cook of veggie!

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    1. Sonia, I think you are younger than me :) Homey vege is the best!

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  19. I loved reading your awesome stories of the seventies era, Phong Hong! I'm from the sixties generation, and as a young teenager I loved the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and all the English groups and singers...about the only song from the seventies that really stick in my mind and absolutely adore is: HOTEL CALIFORNIA by the Eagles and of course I adored the Bee Gees as well and all the disco. My two children were just toddlers in the seventies...so they are from the eighties generation. I love, love the eighties music and songs, and even now those eighties songs are still being featured in our radio stations just about every day for the 'eighties music' every Friday, all day long on a certain station!

    Your stir-fried lettuce is something that I have made, but Italian style...similar with the garlic, just adding Italian herbs to it. I sometimes prefer eating it this way, your way, or my way...instead of raw which does not always appeal to me! Love your story and your grandma's simple recipe! xo

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    1. Thank you so much, Elisabeth! I enjoyed writing my stories. Oh yes, Hotel California is a good song. I will have something on that in a future post. For me, the eighties music is evergreen and my heart lights up when it comes on the radio. Another Italian style that my mum did was to toss the lettuce in hot olive oil and vinegar. That one is really good too with pasta.

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  20. Hi Phong Hong,

    Like all the songs you like, I reckon this dish is always an old-time classic. Always refreshing too to eat with plain steamed rice and all different dishes.

    Who say that we are old? Appreciate good old music is not old :D

    Zoe

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    1. Zoe, we are still young at heart hah! hah! Forever sixteen **wink** **wink**

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  21. Hi Phong Hong, I love this vege but prefer raw. Very crunchy and nice to munch.

    I'm from the 60's, I think I'm much older than you. But we are all still very young and young at heart. But I think I'm still very childish... love to jokes and my crazy thoughts...hahaha

    Love those oldies from the 50's to the 80's, they are still the best and forever green. I do enjoy rock music but I'm more on the sentimental songs and Richard Clyderman music.

    Have a nice day, regards.

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    1. Amelia, it is good to stay young at heart! Always be happy and it is better for our health not to be so stressed up. I usually have lettuce raw but it is also nice to do it grandma's way. I still love songs from the 80's. It is evergreen to me :)

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  22. Phong Hong,
    My hubby love stir fried iceberg lettuce and yau mak too. It is really yummy to add fu yee other than salt and lots of garlic.
    I Iove old songs too. I guess we are around the same age group heehee!
    mui

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    1. mui mui, you must be younger than me :) Last night I had stir fried yau mak with garlic and salt. Some more eat with tomato sambal. Wah! So enjoy!

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