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Sambal Cuttlefish / Sotong

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We went to the market and wanted to get some fresh fishes, somehow the fresh cuttlefish laying on the seafood ice counter looked so tempting that attracted us so much to get it. I picked up a whole nice and big cuttlefish. So it was for the dinner, Sambal Cuttlefish or so called  Sambal Sotong.

The Sambal Sotong is usually served with Nasi Lemak (Malay Style Coconut fragrant steamed rice) or Nasi Bungkus (Pre-packed Coconut Rice) you can find in any Malay stalls. As previously mentioned, Sambal is a chili based paste used widely in cooking for Malay cuisine. Sambal is prepared from scratch with dried chilies, fresh chilies, garlic, ginger, shallots and other ingredients, grounded into paste. One important cooking tip is to cook the chili paste with oil on low heat until the oil oozes from the paste, or separated from each others.  The chili will turn into deep red in color, add some seasoning to taste.

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Steamed Mussel with Fried Garlic

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I wanted some seafood but I was concerning about the recent seafood quality due to the Gulf oil spill. The BP oil spill incident  has been more than a month without great solution to stop it. It is now becoming the largest oil spill in the history.  I am not sure how much it has affects on the consumer’s seafood choices, but with up to 5 thousand gallons of oil spill a day this is seriously contaminating the ocean and killing the sea life.

During this time, I would highly recommend consumers to do some research and study before consuming seafood. The  high levels of mercury and PCB in mussels from the Gulf of Maine are a concern. So for safe I bought the easy frozen farm raised mussels over the fresh ones. Selecting the farm raised mussels is also an environmentally friendly seafood choice. Remember to eat healthy!

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Black Moss Seaweed with Dried Oyster (髮菜蠔豉/發財好市)

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This coming Sunday is the first day of Chinese New Year, here I have prepared the famous dish Black Moss Seaweed with Braised Dried Oyster (髮菜蠔豉). This Cantonese dish is famous to be served during the Chinese New Year because the combination of the ingredients of black moss (髮菜) and dried oysters (蠔豉) that has the similar pronunciation with fat choy hao shi (發財好市) in Chinese that signifies good wealth and a good market. Being in a low economy since last year, I sincerely wish everyone has a rich and prosperous Tiger Year.

Black moss seaweed or fat choy can be found in Asian or Chinese supermarkets in the dried food section. It doesn’t look delicious from the appearance as it is black in color and it looks like the human black hair. For that reason, it is named as “hair vegetable (髮菜)”.  But when it is cooked, it is actually tasted just like very fine vermicelli in texture except it is in black color. It is used widely in many Chinese New year dishes for good wealth and richness.

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Shrimp with Scallion and Ginger (姜葱炒虾)

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It has been raining cats and dogs since Monday until today and it will be raining tomorrow as well. Thank God for bringing us the rains due to the water crisis in California but sadly, the rain is way too much than what we long for and it flooded some areas in SoCal.

The indolent weather caused me so lazy and inconvenient to drop by the grocery store to pick up some meats after work. Thus my only meat choice to cook for tonight dinner was a pack of shrimps in the fridge. When I thought of peeling and deveining the shrimp, I felt so headache! Anyway, I had no choice but just dealt with the process. I’ve prepared the shrimps with scallion and ginger this time. Easy and delicious!

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Lama Kitchen is a food and cooking blog fills with savory food with great cooking recipes and ideas for those of you who love food and home cooked meals. Read more