Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Silken Tofu with Peas and Mushrooms...and the time I admitted to being homesick.

When I was growing up, my nanny spoilt me by feeding me rice that had been cooked with pandan. The first time I had rice that had been cooked without it, I immediately noticed the lack of that familiar perfume. Putting a knot of pandan leaves into the rice pot is a practice I have continued to this day, and boy was I relieved to find them sold in the Asian supermarket!

You know, I have a tiny bone to pick with the UK.
Yes, the entirety of the UK.
Ok no...just the people who advertise for Scottish universities.

Now, you take tropical international students like myself and feed us tales of highland bagpipes and kilts and how all the men look like James McAvoy (ok, maybe that lie I got from the media but let's not get nitpicky here). Sure, you tell us the winters are cold. We expect that. We're not stupid. In fact, because we don't know any better we welcome this foray into the winter because it gives us a chance to be like all those cool instagram people! All bundled up in their hipster reclaimed tartan blankets, and urban outfitter jumpers, clutching designer mugs of rainforest certified hot chocolate. Oh how we live for the chance to capture this aesthetic! Yes, the blankets will come from Oxfam and the jumper will probably be from Primark but we will be there. Living the pictures we see on the Christmas cards back home.

But you know what you don't tell us? You know what the ultimate deception is here? Winter may leave. Hell, it might even be summer. That doesn't mean a damn thing. You don't tell us it's COLD ALL YEAR ROUND.

Huh. St. Andrews. Sunniest place in Scotland. 
Well yeah buddy, that really doesn't say much for the rest of Scotland.

Ok ok. I will acknowledge that most of this rant can be attributed to homesickness (yes ma, I said it. No ma, I do not need to fly home).  Being here over the summer while amazing (like genuinely, I've had the best time), it has worn me down a tiny bit. I miss my family, my friends, my boyfriend, my dog, not having to put on a jacket whenever I step out of the house, having durian on demand, having dim sum on the cheap, not having to make biryani myself....

Ok maybe slightly more than a little homesick.

But that is ok!!! 
This is something I can deal with. Millions of students have dealt with this before me and I am NOT going to wimp out. I am the master of my own moods.
And you know what gets me in a good mood?
Oh please...I'm not even going to finish that for you.

This was so simple to make. And don't be fooled, it may look plain but it packs a punch of flavour. 

Silken tofu with peas and mushrooms
~ 2 tbsp veggie oil
~ 1/2 inch ginger (minced)
~ 2 cloves garlic (minced)
~ 5 chestnut mushrooms (stems separated from caps, sliced.)
~ 1 big red chilli (sliced)
~ 1 cup water
~ 1 tbsp soy sauce
~ 1 tbsp oyster sauce
~ 1 cap full Chinese rice wine
~ 1 tsp sesame oil
~ a pinch of sugar
~ 1/2 cup frozen peas
~ 300g silken tofu (cut into cubes)
~ 1 Knorr fish stock pot

OK, first thing you want to do is crank the heat all the way up on that wok. ALL the way up guys. All your ingredients have been prepped. Don't worry. I believe in you.

Pour the oil in along with the ginger and garlic. Keep tossing it around the wok until you have garlic and ginger perfuming the air. Add the sliced up mushroom stems and stir fry till slightly softened. Add the sliced caps and sliced red chilli and stir fry for about a minute. Add your water all in one go. It will sizzle. You will live. I promise. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and sugar. Stir to dissolve then add you peas and tofu. Stir, but be gentle. You just want to separate the tofu pieces, but silken tofu is fairly delicate and you run a risk of breaking the pieces. That will happen, no getting around that. But let's keep it to a minimum, shall we?
Add the stock pot ( I LOVE THESE. I keep a few of the veggie and chicken ones in my cupboard as well. They're so easy to use and are great for thickening sauces and soups), stir, then cover with a lid and let simmer for 3 minutes to warm up the tofu and peas. Serve hot over a bed of hot rice.

Best eaten whilst under a duvet and watching That 70s Show. 


  1. Being homesick is all part of the student experience! I've been well. Busy but well. Why no updates since March - basically havent done very much new and the new stuff I have done just hasnt been updated!! LOL! Take care and enjoy your Uni days!!

    1. Hahaha!! Must update Dharm! How is the rest of the internet supposed to see what fantastic things you're feeding the beautiful wife and kids if you don't?
      Thank you, and will do!