Growing up, my mother handled almost all the cooking in our home. But there were a few times when my late father took charge of the cooking. This usually happened on the weekends, when he didn’t have to go to work. My father was not the type to follow a recipe when cooking. In fact, whenever he cooked, he liked to utilize the ingredients that were already have: in the refrigerator or the cupboard. He was also fond of making new dishes out of left-over food.
A few weeks ago, I started a new food porn series in my Instagram account. This started days after we celebrated the 60th birthday of my aunt, when I discovered we had a lot of left-over food from her birthday lunch. I didn’t want to reheat the Lumpiang Shanghai because the wrapper wasn’t crunchy anymore. Same with reheating roast chicken; it will end up dry. So I got a red onion and sliced it thinly. I sauteed it along with some corn kernels–left-overs from a dessert–then I made some oyster sauce-based gravy. I added the roast chicken and spring rolls and sprinkled some left-over spring onion before serving. It turned out well; my family enjoyed this un-named dish very much.
A few days after that I had left-over brown rice and Kimchi so I decided to make Kimchi Rice. For protein I fried one beaten egg and sliced it into thin ribbons. I also sliced a Chinese Chorizo thinly. I also found a bit of sliced button mushroom and corn kernels in the ref so I added these too. I first sauteed some garlic and red onions before adding the rest of the ingredients. Before serving, I added a few drops of sesame oil. This version of Kimchi Rice, while not really authentic, was very tasty. The flavors of the Kimchi blended well with that of the sausage and the vegetables. This is something I can do again in the future.
Believe it or not, food wastage happens even in poor countries. The more effective way to avoid it is of course, cooking only the exact portions for the family. In Cambodia, my housekeeper was an expert in portion-based cooking. We rarely had left-overs. But here in Manila, my mother likes to cook in big batches that we almost always have left-overs after every meal. Recycling, or up-cycling, food will prevent food wastage. But, I think, only as long as the resulting dishes are as delicious as the original dishes. Up-cycling food also reminds me of my late father, which to me is a good thing. I will share other dishes made of left-overs again, as I make them!