Oriental Fusion

Monday, June 30, 2008

Miracle (the name of the Asian Grocery Shop at the Rhodes Mall) always fascinated me. Rows and rows of strange sauces, pastes, ginseng tea, coloured tapioca pellets, dim sum steamers, all kinds of strange looking tree bark, mushrooms ,seeds and tablets that make up soup ingredients, and an astonishing variety of noodles of all shapes, colors and textures.

After a month at Sydney and trying exotic dishes like Afghan rotis, Tequila & Avocado Pasta, Baklava, and the not so exoticdeep frozen French fries, I decided that it’s high time to try some Chinese.

Its now a well known fact that the Chinese back home (India) is not really Chinese, but something that originated in the back streets of Kolkata’s China Town! Manchurian was not created in Manchuria, but was ginger-garlicked at Kolkata, and tomatoed at Lucknow! Ajinomoto (uggh can't stand the stuff) or Mono Sodium Glutamate has become synonymous with Chinese cuisine in India. Surprisingly, I found that most condiments in Miracle announced 'NO ADDED MSG' on the labels. Indo-chinese is has become a cuisine family in its own right!

After nearly an hour of browsing Miracle, and Harrison's Farm market, here is what my shopping turned out to be...

From Miracle:
Sakata - Japanese rice grain chips Made in Australia. These come in flavours, and I chose plain salted. These taste like papad.

Somen Noodles - fine wheat noodles again from Japan, but this time it was Made in Japan.

Dan Dan Noodle paste - The Asian Gourmet brand Made in Singapore. Ingredients mentioned sesame, sugar, pepper, salt and soy!

Something in Chinese script translating to sauce for Cantonese Stir Fry Coconut Curry Vegetables - This is a brand called Lee Kum Kee and made in Guadong China. The ingredients list looks like the above, but includes coconut powder, onion, garlic, coriander powder in addition!

Sweet Cake - A scary green coloured, delicious smelling rice cake. Looks like 4 small halwa pieces.

From Harris Farms

Bok Choy - This is also called Chinese Cabbage. Tastes good, raw or cooked!

Shii-take mushrooms - Probably the only mushroom that I like! These are good sautéed in butter with salt and pepper

Mung Sprouts - Crisp long delicious sprouts from Mung. Funnily its called 'mung' here and not green gram dal, as one would expect!

Brocolli and Cauliflower.

From Shorty's - This is courtesy Basu.
Sake - A genuine Japanese rice wine called Geikkeikan Sake, which had on the label something like 'honourably serving the Imperial Guests since ...' :-)
Shorty's had Australian Sake too, which, the owner kindly told us, was not as good as the original.
Oh - I too shopped at Shortys and got Australian made genuine English Apple Cider called Pipsqueak. This tasted a lot better than the genuine English Cider imported from London!

I had overdone the stir-fry of bokchoy and dan dan paste. It turned out soggy, but delicious all the same. The shii-take and sprouts saved the day with their crispness! The noodles cooked in 3 minutes. The Cantonese stir-fry with cauliflower and broccoli was good ..close to Kerala coconut curries, but with a twist! The sweet cake was funny. Was looking for a nice halwa texture, but found a pasty one instead! Undoubtedly though the big discovery was the Sake. Its texture and lightness reminded me of gripe water! Such a pleasant accompaniment to our oriental meal. One bottle was gone with one dinner!


YOSEE said...

Like Anthony Bourdain says : a gastronomic Indiana Jones !