Eggplant and Sesame Sauce 2 Ways, Dumplings and My Neighbourhood

Thought I’d entice you with dinner first, but I do have to apologise for my lack of photography skills. I just cannot seem to take nice photos. Maybe it’s the lighting (taken at night with low light), maybe it’s the presentation, maybe it’s just my lack of skill. But it’s all raw photography, amateur, rough-as-rats raw photography and I have to admit, it’s taken on my Samsung phone! It’s convenient, it’s small, it’s quick and it does the job. I know, I know, if I’m serious about this blog business, I should take more time and put in more effort right? Hey, maybe someone could send me a professional camera!! Out of the goodness of your heart? So that I can take better photographs? ;P Yes? No? Any good Samaritans out there?

Anyway, back to it, Baked Aubergine Two Ways (en papillote and out naked) and while I had the oven going, I baked some dumplings and cabbage and soybean sprout en papillote. In the oven for 30 min under a 180 degC heat.

And the magic topping… This idea came together through the most unusual manner. My husband sent me an email of a newspaper clipping about osteoporosis and the lack of it in our system, making it one of the highest diseases out there. I decided to make up a sesame sauce with brown miso with chilli and red bean paste just to add some calcium into our meal and what a lovely sauce it was.

Roasted sesame sprinkles

Red and Brown Bean Pastes

Hot Water

Mix and stir well.

That’s it. The sauces were used as dipping and topping for our dinner last night, it was most enjoyable.

Yesterday, after a nice chat with mom, we talked about soy bean puffs (tofu pok) and having been here in the land of the morning calm, I haven’t yet seen soy bean puff in the normal supermarkets. Maybe I haven’t been looking hard enough or in the right place but I went browsing nearby my neighbourhood, I walked into a lovely outdoor market as well as Lotte Department Store Supermarket and Hansalim Organic Store. I simply love browsing on food products and see what’s available and what I can concoct up and cook at home to share my new finds. I can’t wait to bring back old memories or create new ones as I get so excited to share and talk about them with my husband.

There’s basically everything here from banchans, veges, fruits, meat, sweets, sours but my favourite was the tofu stall find. You can tell that it’s home made because of the raw state the tofu’s in. Rough edges, big thick blocks as well as other soy products nearby in simple packagings. Oh how I wish I could just dig in there and then with my hands. They were so fresh, white and creamy looking. Supermarket tofu cannot beat fresh home made tofu like that from the roadside markets! This is one part of this new land that I absolutely love. But I was disappointed not to find soy bean puff!!! So off hunting I go.

Lotte Department Store Supermarket was my next stop being just next door where I took my time browsing and found some gorgeous products in the frozen section. Durian being one of them, mangosteen, papaya AND YES, tofu puffs! YAY! They weren’t like the ones I normally know, these were flat but still tofu puffs none the less and so I got 2 packets. My stash from Lotte included tofu puffs, roasted almonds, cherry tomatoes, aloe gel, kiwifruit, konnyaku and a pack of wafers. They were all on sale. I was so so happy to find aloe gel as I have been looking for them for ages. You’d think that being in the land of health freaks, they would have aloe gel (in a bottle) but having been hunting them for 5months now, I finally found them – only accidentally – and bought 3 bottles there and then without hesitation. I am currently taking aloe in pill form which I don’t quite like as the benefits of taken fresh aloe is much better than pill form. I was going to take a browse in my local Emart for fresh aloe but was glad I found this instead. Thank you Jeju Aloe! Now I can ease my discomfort when I have meals.

Actually going back to it, I’m out on the hunt for edamame, vegan meat, seitan and soy protein. Had a browse through Lotte and Hansalim but didn’t find any although there were some packs that didn’t have English to them but looked like vegan meat. But I wasn’t about to buy them without knowing what they were for the quoted price, so I think my best bet is to head to a vegan restaurant-cum-shop to get them. Loving Hut was recommended by my fellow Veggie Groupies so that’ll be my visit for next month. Can’t wait!

I had to take a picture of my nearby local grocer. That is my favourite store, which sells cheaper groceries compared to the chain convenient supermarkets, also nearby. The prices in comparison are an eye opener and also the produce is much fresher I reckon. We don’t know the name of this grocer so we call it The Spillout Mart (because the groceries spill out on the footpath!) It’s funny how we give nicknames to these places and it’s all by visual appearance, it’s great!

This was for breakfast, a cup of Teh Tarik (pulled tea) from Malaysia. It’s a traditional tea drank in Malaysia, I think it’s either got a Malay or Indian history to it but it’s yummy. And with that a big bowl of soaked roasted almonds and goji berries, topped with banana, persimmon and grape yoghurt and for a little buttery goodness, two sticks of Scotch Fingers! A little treat for the tastebuds in the morning. Oh yeah a huh a huh, I like it, a huh a huh!