Last Wednesday my Aunt celebrated her 60th birthday. We didn’t throw a big party because she doesn’t like parties. What she likes is good food so we decided to have a 6-course birthday lunch. I volunteered to do all the cooking to spare my mother the stress. The lunch spread was composed of the ‘old reliables’–meaning dishes I can cook with my eyes closed, and a couple of dishes that I made for the first time for the occasion. A risky move, I know. But I’m glad that these ‘new’ dishes turned out great.
The ‘old reliables’, (top) Chicken Inasal and Pork Embutido and the new dishes , (bottom) Beef with Broccoli and Steamed Fish. I marinated the chicken and made the Embutido the day before. On the morning I made the Pancit Bihon (pictured below) and the Beef with Broccoli while the Steamed Fish was prepared last, a few minutes before serving lunch.
I asked my mother to (finally) teach me how to make her signature dish of Kare-Kare (above) but we were pressed for time so she cooked it herself while I was preparing the other dishes. One of these days, I will plan a leisurely cooking session with her and we will make her Kare-Kare.
Beef with Broccoli is my aunt’s favorite dish. Whenever we ate at Chinese restaurants, this dish is always on the top of her list of food orders. I based my recipe on the Classic Savory’s version of this dish. As for the Steamed Fish, I wanted to do a special dish that didn’t require a lot of time to make. We rarely serve fish during celebratory lunches so I thought why not start a new habit? My version is based on a couple of things: the steamed fish that is served by Sam Doo, one of my favorite restaurants in Cambodia and another that a friend from graduate school prepared for us once.
I will share the recipes in another post.
One of my cousins brought a birthday cake so I didn’t prepare any dessert. It was a good lunch but even better were the left-overs that we ate for days after.