美國版的不丹國餚: 起司辣椒加蘑菇

Staub and jalapeño version of mushroom emadatsi. I’ll just share my improvised recipe in Chinese so that Bhutanese can spare themselves from laughing at me 🙂

因為反響熱烈,把食譜分享給大家。

這是我的做法,不敢寫英文,怕被不丹人笑…
1. 蒜蓉爆香
2. 加入蘑菇或其他菌類(杏鮑菇也好,切大塊,要有口感的)
3. 加點鹽(其實對口味偏淡的我,不用加鹽單靠起司中的鹽分就夠了,撒點鹽主要是為了讓菌菇快點出水)
4. 菌菇類半熟時加去籽的辣椒段(因為我怕辣)
5. 蔬菜熟到自己想要的程度後,水也收乾到差不多時,加上起司,翻攪一下,讓起司均勻附在蔬菜上(起司切片會比較容易化開)
6. 然後就可以移到數個這種巴掌大的小瓦罐中,要吃的時候進烤箱烤一下就好。

(某人再三叮嚀我不要加水。我倒是偷加了點酒~)

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錫金的蘿蔔泡菜 Radish Pickle from Sikkim

前天在別人家喝茶的時候,他們家尼泊爾傭人正好在做泡菜,看著就覺得是很好吃的東西,而且材料普遍。

抱了一小桶上一批做好的泡菜回來,果然好吃。這兩天餐餐都吃,愈吃愈好吃。

趕緊把食譜寫下,免得忘記。下次回上海一定做一批跟好友分享。

The other day when we were having tea at someone’s place, it happened that their Nepalese maid was making radish pickle. We got a small jar of this super delicious pickle from the last batch. And the recipe seems simple enough that there is no reason not to try.

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1. 蘿蔔連皮切條,辣椒依自己喜好的量也切條,陰乾,去掉表面多餘水份。
Slice radish (without peeling) and chili, and dry the surface moisture

2. 白芝麻炒香後,磨成粉。(終於有一個食譜是能利用到果汁機附贈的那個磨粉機了)
Warm the white sesame seeds in a pan to bring the flavor and machine-grind them into powder

3. 蘿蔔和辣椒放進乾淨瓶中,加上芝麻粉、鹽 、芥子油拌勻,封住罐子,每隔幾天把罐子上下倒一下就好。
Put the radish and chili pepper inside a clean jar, mix evenly with the sesame powder, salt and mustard oil. Seal the jar, maybe shake the jar a bit every few days to ensure the ingredients get evenly seasoned and fermented, and just wait to enjoy your pickle in 10 days!

原來做泡菜這麽簡單,所以實在沒必要去買外面加了那麼多防腐劑和其他化學添加劑的罐頭泡菜。

It would be wonderful to have home-made pickles free from preservatives and artificial flavors! Can’t wait to make this when I go home.

***

P.S. Can also add garlic. Minimum marination for 10 days.

後記:可以加大蒜一起醃漬。至少醃個10天。

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2013/11 第一次試作,趕著離開上海,所以只醃了5天,但是已經很好吃了。加了薑絲、蒜頭、尖椒,还有一点花椒,用的是菜籽油。

First time making it. Didn’t have enough time so only marinated for 5 days but super delicious already! I also added fine shredded ginger and some Chinese peppers.

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Cooking Class: Steak Night 美國烹飪課

First cooking class in North America. This can be counted as one of my hobbies now.

I decided to take the steak class as I can probably do the rest by simply reading through the recipe and what else can represent US better!

閑來無事去上了一堂烹飪課。

看了一下課程內容,估計大部分東西我有食譜就會做,唯有烤牛排這種事情有點難度。首先,才剛被某人嘲笑我不會煎牛排(我不喜歡碰生肉,所以原本做法是隔著塑膠袋整塊丟進鍋裡煎到外面熟了後,再用筷子夾出切成大塊,再回鍋繼續煎和調味);其次,這種事情要現場看示範比較容易學會。於是報名了牛排課。

http://www.surlatable.com/sku/1358233/Steak-Night

The menu also includes appetizer and dessert, with my beloved cointreau!

這是課程內容,從前菜到甜點都有:

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The facility is great. They even serve cappuccino while you are cooking. That is sort of interesting. I never thought of sipping coffee while cooking. Wine, maybe, but cappuccino? That is such a morning thing for me.

很高級的場地。四個富貴的白人老太太,加一個來自伊索比亞、被收養的少女,加我,共五人。

廚子老師之外,還有這位小姐,會隨時給你弄檸檬水、卡布奇諾咖啡,東西一切完她就會拿去洗掉、清掉…….像是煮飯時有個傭人在旁邊一樣。不太像是烹飪課,有點像是貴婦聚餐。IMG_2410IMG_2385 And in addition to the chef-instructor, there was this very nice young lady. She would clean everything right after you use it and bring all the ingredients to you at the right time with the right portion! We never needed to measure anything. And can you imagine your knife and chopping board is always clean and fresh for the next task?! The only thing better than this is probably simply asking your maid to cook 🙂

因此,料理臺上隨時都很整潔。有食譜、名牌……連調料都是預先量好備好,“助手”會在合適時機拿出,基本上只要偶爾切個洋蔥、磨點橘皮做做樣子,其他時候就只是把杯裡的作料往碗裡倒,然後跟我同組的小女孩說“你來攪拌吧~”

We do have recipe handouts. Though I was probably the only one among the small group of five who actually flipped through it and took notes.

Some tips picked up during the class are indeed quite practical though.

For example, you can send the bacon to oven while doing other cooking instead of spending time frying it. And the result is as crispy as the traditional way.

竅門還是有學到一點的。比如說:

煎培根就不用費神煎了,早上可以把煎鍋拿來煎蛋,培根只要放在紙上拿去烤箱烤一下,一樣金黃香脆。(不過煎培根感覺像是上輩子的事情,這個訣竅不知何時用到?)

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The steak can be marinated in a ziplock bag in room temperature for an hour. For me who really hates touching raw meat, this is great.

腌牛排可以放在塑膠封口袋裡腌,重點是要在室溫下,至少一小時,隔夜也行(那就得放冰箱了吧)。這很適合我。我應該可以做到手不用碰到生肉。

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重點是很高興的發現可以直接在瓦斯爐上煎烤。烤到合適程度時可以拿出,拿錫箔紙蓋個10分鐘,溫度還可以高10度(華氏),這樣裡面繼續煮熟,外面又不至於太焦。

By covering the grilled steak with alu foil for ten minutes, you can still push the temp for another 10 degree off skillet.

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Extra herbs like rosemary or thyme can be tied into a bundle to serve as sauce brush. Indeed very Martha Stewart.

And voila, the tender and juicy steak!

調味的迷迭香等香草可以綁起來當燒烤時的調料刷子,是個賞心悅目的做法。

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看,烤的牛排鮮嫩多汁吧?專業的還是不一樣~

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Some finishing oil and salts are quite interesting.

One good tip is that when you sprinkle salt/pepper, raise your hand really high and do it really artistically, so that it would get sprinkled more evenly.

Of course, a maid to help clean up after the artistic way of cooking can be invaluable.

綠花菜就是翻炒後,進烤箱裡烤烤。拿出來後,撒上檸檬汁和碎起司。加檸檬汁這個做法我還挺喜歡的。

其他的竅門就是最後可以加上一些加味的橄欖油、鹽在沙拉和牛排上提味,像是加了檸檬的橄欖油、煙熏味的鹽,比較大粒的鹽花灑在烤好的牛排上也會比細鹽有口感。

還有個竅門蠻實用的,就是撒這些鹽、胡椒的時候,要把手舉得高高的、很有藝術家感覺的灑下,這樣就會灑得很均勻,不會一坨坨的。

當然,很帥的灑完後,最好有個傭人幫你收拾灑在外面的殘局……

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最後,一定要提一下我心愛的甜點。就衝著這個cointreau巧克力蛋糕,也是吸引我報名這堂課的原因之一。我自己做巧克力慕司、巧克力蛋糕、巧克力餅乾都很愛放cointreau橘子酒的。美國老大媽們竟然不知道cointreau是什麽,證明我還有點水平,歐洲沒有白混。

新鮮櫻桃拿來煮紅酒,這個在家實用性比較低。平常亞洲去哪裡找新鮮櫻桃呀,還要開瓶紅酒……

巧克力熔漿蛋糕單吃就很棒了。老師説,要烤到這樣中間有點凹陷才是剛好;剛出爐時中間鼓起來的,像是最下面一排右邊數來第二個,就表示烤過頭了。

The molten cake should have a den in the center when being out of oven. Like the second one from the right in the bottom row, with a bulging center, meaning it was over baked.

So here is our spinach salad with tomato, bacon and blue cheese sauce (love the blue cheese and apple cider vinegar combination!), New York steak, roasted broccoli and cake.

這是成品:菠菜蕃茄培根藍起司醤沙拉、烤花菜、牛排、巧克力蛋糕。

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正好店裡Le Creuset在特價,於是敗了這個烤盤,才55元,不買對不起自己的感覺。就算我不烤牛排,拿來烤鮭魚應該也不錯。真的很無聊的話,還可以來烤茄子。

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I also ended up with two Le Creuset pieces as they were on heavy discount. I think both colors got discontinued so  on clearance now.

The skinny grill was only $55 which I can use for salmon instead of steak. And a blue pot of $120 for Shanghai – just need to figure out how to carry it back.

The medium one like this is really the best size. The bigger one is too heavy while the smaller one can only do small portion cooking. The medium is versatile – you can still cook small amount of food with a medium cookware, plus it can also be used as a pan. Simply love the Staub I have been using recently.

雖然對我的Staub一點怨言也沒有,但是這個LC鑄鐵鍋才120元,不買好像又很對不起自己。好的鍋子真的很重要,而且這個東西應該可以用很久很久吧,性價比還是很好的。

而且我的心得是,買這種中型的最好。大的拿不動,中的煮什麽都很方便,一樣可以煮小鍋的份量——東西放少點就好;蓋子不蓋還可以當平底鍋、煎鍋用。

現在唯一在琢磨的是怎麽把這個鍋子扛回上海~ 這次回去預備只帶一個軟包,行李箱在溫哥華’機場被砸壞了,打包有難度。

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Actually I much prefer this grill from Staub. Their coating is definitely better than the LC one. Plus it has wall to prevent fire from catching on the steak directly as it can happen with the skinny grill. (We used both during the class.) I decided go for LC because the price is only half of this one and that I hardly grill anything!

其實煎盤我是很想買Staub的這個。老師也說這個比較好(我們上課時是各用了一個),因為比較深,Le Creuset那種平面的有時火會燒上來,直接燒到牛排,那樣不行,而且油容易濺得到處都是。Staub的表面塗層也比LC紮實,但是打完折還要100元,貴了快一倍,我又很少煮肉,於是忍痛割捨。但是現在看著圖片還是覺得很愛~

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Iron Cast Casserole 鑄鐵鍋 Le Staub

A typical shopping trip for me: setting out to get something and ending up with another thing which was not even in my mind scope at all.

3 3/4 qt. 2-in-1 PanA friend said Le Creuset is on sale at Sur La Table so I went all the way to get a Creuset at the South Coast Plaza, which is like 20 miles away from where I live.

友人在舊金山買了特價的綠色Le Creuset鑄鐵鍋,才150美金。於是我興沖沖地跑去離家二十哩的同一家店。但是我喜歡橘色的,稅前還是要170美金!

I love the orange color of the Creuset’s 2-in-1 3 3/4 qt pan, but the price at $169 before tax is still intimidating, plus I hardly fry anything anyway.

Set of 3 Mini CocottesThen I thought of getting those cute little mini cocottes. Three for $55. I can see myself making crème brûlée with these, or having my pasta lunch. But then, I thought of the cocotte I bought in China with only 5 RMB…any individual Chinese medicine cooking pot can do the trick as well, I think.

我審慎評估了一下,我反正不煎東西的,170元一個小鍋太貴了。

然後就看上了這組55元的迷你陶瓮。可以想像自己拿這個來做焦糖布丁、粵式奶油烤白菜、意大利麵……一人份的食物,單想就覺得很幸福。

但是又想到家裡那個5元人民幣在景德鎮買的砂鍋,其實都是一樣的東西,只是法國人做的比較可愛。想一想這個價差,不如下次回中國時,去找幾個可愛的煎藥罐子(若是有人看到這種東西,請幫我弄兩個)。

就在我的揮霍心和理智心爭戰不休的時候,經過了交談中的售貨員和顧客,她們正在對一個大盒子品頭論足。於是發現了這個超值組合:140美金有一個鑄鐵鍋,加4個小陶鍋,是另一個法國牌子Le Staub的。這個牌子和LC的主要不同處在於內裡是不粘鍋塗層,其實更適合我!鍋子的顔色又比LC的顔色典雅。於是試抱之後(主要障礙是不確定自己能不能扛著這箱寶貝、越過商場到車上。這時就會怨歎身邊還是有個男人好~),就當成運動,抱了回家。

Then I found this amazing deal which I simply cannot say no: $139 for a 4 qt iron casserole plus 4 mini ceramic cocottes. The color of mini cocottes is a bit too dark for serving on the table but I simply love the grenadine color of the big one. Not to mention that cute blue, white and red ribbon tied on it! La France, je t’aime!

The only debate I had with myself was where I can carry this box by myself to my car, as I parked the car at the other end of the mall. And I made it! So now I am happily living after with my cocottes.

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I first heated some left over pasta after this physical exercise. The mini cocotte worked just nicely. No dry-out issue as with microwave, and much faster than traditional pan. You need to stir from time to time with a traditional pan to ensure evenly cooked. With this, I didn’t stir at all as I was busy preparing the broccolis to try the big cocotte. 

抱回家後,馬上迫不及待地用小陶盆熱了點冰箱的意大利麵吃,用大鐵鍋煮了西蘭花和意大利節瓜。

也許是心理作用,兩樣都比之前的好吃。

意大利麵不會像放微波爐加熱一樣乾乾的,也不像放一般鍋子裡一樣要一直翻動,才能上下均勻受熱。我忙著切花菜,所以整個小鍋加熱時,一次都沒翻動,就從上到下都熱了。鍋底的麵邊緣有一點點小鍋粑,可以想見拿這個來煎鍋貼會很好吃。

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Then I tried to cook some broccoli and zucchini. Tested again on the 2nd day to ensure it was not just luck.

Now I am fully convinced the advantage of“evenly cooked”by an iron cast casserole. The broccolis stayed green and crunchy while all of them were cooked. I only opened the cover and stirred three times I think. And the veggies do taste more juicy with more flavors. Staub’s interior non-sticky enamel is another plus for a lazy cook like myself.

隔天中午又煮了一次西蘭花,兩次實驗確定了鑄鐵鍋真的很讃!鑄鐵鍋的特色是均勻受熱,所以雖然是蓋著蓋子“煮”西蘭花,期間只打開蓋子兩三次稍微上下翻一下,但是西蘭花每一朵都煮熟、翠綠、脆脆的。鑄鐵鍋號稱煮菜能鮮嫩多汁,也確實如此,神奇極了。而且鐵鍋保溫效果很好,再去盛菜或有家人晚點回來去吃時,菜都還是熱的。

IMG_2285And there is an collateral impulse purchase I made at the shop. I bought this red Josef Josef scoop earlier. Though I was a bit skeptical about all those plastic stuff, at that time I just badly needed a scoop as scalding vegetable is my primary way of cooking. And the shape of this scoop made it so easy to take out anything from the boiling water really quick – be it chopped vegetable or pasta.

So when I saw this tuner from the same line, I decided to buy it immediately. It would be great to turn the pancake, or even cut a fish fillet while frying it. Of course, the only question is I cannot remember when was the last time I made  pancake. And I am very sure I have never pan fried any fish in this life so far… and I pray that I will never do that in the future. So I am still puzzled what to do with this newly acquired turner.

Anyway, if anyone has good recipe for slow cooking, please kindly share.

這是附帶的衝動購物戰利品。紅色那隻是之前買的,因為我基本上都是白灼蔬菜為生,之前需要瀝水大勺時,買了這個Joseph Joseph的勺子,那個形狀非常順手,不管要從鍋裡撈什麽出來,都撈得又快有多。

這次在店裡看到這個煎東西的鏟子,立刻心動買下。想像它拿來翻pancake,或是煎魚時不但可以翻魚,還可以切魚(鏟邊有鋸齒紋)。不過,為什麼現在覺得是衝動購物呢?因為我這一輩子好像只有做過2次pancake,平常不吃早餐的人,哪可能去煎pancake呀!煎魚更是這輩子沒做過的事情,希望以後也不會做。阿彌陀佛!

總之,若是有人有適合砂鍋或鐵鍋的素菜食譜,請記得分享~

艶陽天摘桃子 Peach Picking

這次來美國,先是碰到家裡的枇杷豐收。

This time in US, I was first greeted by the loquats from the garden.  There are so many that I ended up using them to make smoothies.

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然後開始一段很奢侈的打果汁生活。想當初枇杷曾經是多昂貴的水果,這裡怕吃不完會壞掉,拿來打果昔。

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然後是神奇表嫂種的一樹黑莓。神奇表嫂種什麼都長得很好,她的黑莓樹,結著密密麻麻的果實。我説我打果汁不挑剔甜不甜,於是她辛苦採了一盒碩大黑色直接吃的莓兒,又給我一大缸較小、未熟透的莓兒,我把後面那類和買來的有機草莓一起打來喝,是好幾天的早餐~

Then a cousin offered many of her home grown blackberries so my breakfast switched to organic berry smoothies for a while.

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今天陪姑姑去幫神奇表嫂採桃子,也是一樹,有兩三百個桃子吧,有時一拉樹枝,熟透的桃子就掉到地上砸了,好可惜~隨

便採採,也摘了五大袋。雖然小,但即使青色的也都是脆甜 🙂 下週就是吃桃週了。

Today, I went to her place to pick peaches. Wow, there must be several hundreds of them. We got so many bags! Sweet and juicy, perfect for tomorrow’s tsog.

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最後要秀一下我鍾愛的梔子花。剛來時,已經快要咽氣的梔子花,枯到剩一根細細的樹枝,幾片焦黃的葉子,一個月後,雖然還是那麽一枝,卻長滿了花苞,真有知己的感覺。

一個花園中,有那麽一個知己已經讓人很快樂了,何況最近大家都長得欣欣向榮的,樂哉!

Last but not the least is the beautiful gardenia from our own garden. Animate or inanimate, they are all beautiful beings to me. May all enjoy this simple and pure happiness at all time.

Super Organic Lettuce 有機到不能再有機的蔬菜

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The host family has this huge space on the rooftop for flowers, laundry, brewing etc. It is also a wonderful place for a cup of tea and reading in the late afternoon with breezes.

In addition to the flowers, ama-la also plants some lettuce! Hence I’ve been having these truly organic lettuce as part of my diet here.

I don’t think they would add any fertilizer or pesticide. These greens simply grow naturally under sunshine and rain falls. Everything seems so effortless here. In many ways I feel Sikkim is indeed a sacred land.

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我的午餐隔三差五的就會出現這老太太在頂樓栽種的生菜。不加肥料,不打農藥,淋著雨水、照著太陽長大,有機到不能再有機了。

現摘現吃。只要撒點胡椒,淋點甘蔗醋,幾分鐘內就可以被我吃掉一盤。不太吃青菜的老太太說不定會以為我比較像牛羊,而不太像人。

今天的午餐還有我最愛的蕨菜炒起司(我這麼喜歡蕨菜,也可能之前是雷龍之類的素食恐龍)、蘿蔔番茄湯,還有紅油竹筍。

人生美好!

They are always picked right before the meal time. With a little peppers and vinegar made out of sugar cane juice, I can literally finish a full plate within a couple of minutes. My mom used to say that I eat vegetable like a cow. This is one of the few things that I have to agree with her.

The other dishes today are my favorite fern with cheese and radish soup. Can’t ask for more in life!

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Love these prayer banners in the wind. Mesmerizing to watch them moving and the sky.

在頂樓曬太陽、喝茶時,可以對這些在風中搖曳的經幡呆望許久。

密勒日巴和蕁麻湯 Milarepa and Nettle Soup

130403 Gangtok_001 一整天都在讀《密勒日巴十萬歌頌》中的道歌。

早茶時晃進廚房,敦祝在清理蕁麻葉,預備給我作湯。

蕁麻算是錫金特產,一年四季似乎都看得到,但只有在當地人家裡才吃的到,餐館裡沒有這道菜。

蕁麻的莖葉上都有細細的刺毛,被刺到的話會又紅又腫,痛得不行(台灣叫作“咬人貓”),所以摘菜時要很小心。敦祝是一手小心拿著莖,一手拿剪刀把嫩葉剪下;阿姨處理的話,還會帶上手套,以免不小心碰到刺。剪完後,一把菜其實能吃的部分沒有多少。

然後應該是把切碎的蒜頭加奶油爆香,再加入蕁麻葉和一小把米燉煮,葉子會自然化掉,米釋放出的酵素會讓湯變濃,最後成了一碗綠色濃湯。

I have been reading some songs from Mila Grubum these days.

Today when I stepped into the kitchen during tea time, Dondrup happened to be preparing the nettle  to cook for me.

These nettles are certainly local specialty in Sikkim. No matter which season I come, I can always spot them in the market, unlike the seasonal bamboo shoots and squash sprouts.  Nevertheless I have never seen any restaurants offering this special delicacy in the menu so this is more like a family cuisine that is not easy to get for tourists like myself.

Once got stun by these stinging nettles’ stems and leaves, it can be burning painful. Therefore, Dondrup carefully removed the young leaves with a scissor. As you can tell, the edible parts are not that much.

Then I think he fried some chopped garlic with butter, then added the nettle leaves and a small amount of rice to make a soup. The leaves would melt naturally and the yeast from the rice would make the soup thick and almost creamy. I don’t really know how he made it as the next time I saw the nettle, it had become a bowl of green soup for my lunch.

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中餐是炒萍菇、炒豆莢、蕁麻湯,還有昨天的甜菜根南瓜胡蘿蔔湯。

晚餐是奶豆腐蔬菜麵片,還有蕁麻湯。

讀了一天密勒日巴的道歌,也喝了一天他賴以維生的蕁麻湯。道歌的境界不是凡人所能覺受,蕁麻湯倒是能夠體驗,這算是我以食物跟大師結緣的特殊方式吧。

願一切眾生都能證得同密勒日巴一般的成就。

So my lunch was this nettle soup with rice, fried mushroom, beans and the beetroot pumpkin carrot soup from yesterday.

Dinner was veggie paneer thukpa and the nettle soup – I think I am the only one eating this in the family. Guess the boys are not very into these green things.

Thus I had a day of Milarepa’s songs and the nettles he used to have.

May all sentient beings attain Milarepa’s realization soon.

在錫金的中秋節:有機蔬食和隆德寺 Rumtek and Organic Veggie For the Mid-Autumn Festival in Sikkim

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Yesterday was the Mid-Autumn Festival for Chinese. Instead of moon cake and heavy feast, I had a feast with exotic organic vegetables, plus a visit to the Rumtek Monastery.

The day started with a 7am trip to the Sunday Farmers’ market in Gangtok where farmers in the neighboring areas would bring fresh produce to sell here.

因為星期天,附近農民都會帶菜過來賣,所以朋友早上7點就帶我去見識一下甘托克的農夫市集。
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圓圓紅紅的是錫金有名的“火球”辣椒,看著可愛,卻是世界上最辣的辣椒品種之一。

我是只要看到綠葉菜就很高興,所以錫金對我簡直就是天堂。印度其他地方往往只有小黃瓜、蕃茄、洋蔥、花菜、胡蘿蔔、菠菜、茄子,這裡從捲心菜、杭白菜、莧菜、香菜(芫荽)、西洋菜、白蘿蔔、南瓜、胡瓜……還有各式各樣不知名的野菜,看得我眼花繚亂的。

最重要的是,有我很愛的筍、蕨菜(大姐説共有五種)、龍須菜(現在知道了,其實就是瓜苗)和菌菇。

On top of the famous fireball chilies, there are all kinds of green vegetables, indeed a heaven for me! With my favorite bamboo shoots, ferns…(mushroom would only arrive after ~9am)

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好像是酒糟之類的東西,擁葉子包著販賣,看著就很討人喜歡。錫金是很注重環保的地方,這裡購物時給的袋子一律是紙袋或環保袋,沒有塑料袋。
Not sure what is this lady selling, but the packing looks nice and environmental friendly!

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朋友看到這個菜農剛擺出的小苦瓜很新鮮,所以來挑苦瓜。兩顆橢圓形橘綠色的果兒,也是苦瓜的一個品種~  右邊那個豆莢原來也是能吃的,我們挑苦瓜的時候,豆莢被甘托克蔬菜店老闆全部抱走了(這裡是批發市場),說是可以拿來生吃。

Two types of small bitter gourds. I have never seen that yellowish oval shape specie before. They looked more like fruits to me.

The giant bean pods are also edible. The lady purchasing them all (probably a local shop owner for retail) said people eat them raw.

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這個很像風信子的花兒是時令特產,朋友説是帶苦味的。買了一點回去,加了點洋蔥、姜、蕃茄炒給我吃,果然花的部份微苦,不過沒有苦瓜那麽苦, 花梗的部份倒是很香甜。
These Hyacinthus-like flowers are also edible. Stir-fried with onion, ginger and tomato, the flowers tasted a bit bitter while the stems juicy and refreshing like asparagus.

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這是蕁麻的葉子(左)和花(右)。因為是密勒日巴尊者在山上禪修時的唯一食物,所以我也弄了一把蕁麻葉回來,還沒吃到就是了。
Nettles leaves and flowers. A must-try for Milarepa admirers 🙂

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被拿來食用的花還很多,大黃花猛一看有點像金針花,不過我猜是某種瓜類的花。右邊那個乾乾的小花看來口感不會很好。左下紅色的是香蕉花。右下是筍,筍兒都是長條形的,非常鮮。

Some more flowers and fresh bamboo shoots. The red ones are banana flowers.

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去年在錫金吃到這個形狀的香蕉之後,覺得讚的不得了。我是從來不會主動買香蕉吃的人,但是這個形狀的香蕉有股誘人的芳香,平常那種黃色長年不壞的香蕉完全沒得比。

中間上面扁扁的蘋果看著很漂亮,竟然是福建來的。怪不得漂亮,亮晶晶的一層蠟吧。希望本地這些健康美味的有機農產品不會被進口的不自然大型農場產品取代掉。

最後是買了芭樂、木瓜和我的新歡——石榴。

Sikkim banana is very delicious with nice flavor, unlike the dull yellow ones we usually get in the ‘developed countries’ supermarkets. Pomegranate is my new love while the organic Bhutanese apples (even partially red inside) have been accompanying me since day one of this trip.

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這個是不丹來的有機蘋果,不是我們買的。從我來錫金的第一天晚上説好吃後,阿姨就放了一盆在我房間, 不時補上幾顆。每顆都長得不一樣,有的紅色果皮還會紅到果肉裡。不但甜,而且香氣距離一公尺都聞得到。

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最後離開市場時,看到有一車剛到的農民正要下貨(同一村的人會一起包車過來),於是搶到兩把之前沒有見過的白花。我在對街看見這花就衝了上前,到了花的面前,因為實在太完美了,一度悵然以為“原來是塑膠花”……但是再摸摸,真的是鮮花,有股野薑花家族的味道。

早起的鳥兒有蟲吃,雖然這個市集會持續一天,但是要買到新鮮蔬果或珍稀花卉,還是得趁早來,不然好東西很快就會被甘托克的商家給掃光。

Got these amazing white flowers after leaving the market. Freshly arrived with a jeep full of various products probably brought by people from the same village. We took most of them even before they reach the marketplace 🙂

***

吃完中飯後,去了對山的隆德寺。就是十六世大寶法王離開西藏後所建立的寺廟,土地是當年錫金國王供養的七畝地。

After lunch, we went to Rumtek Monastery. Local people said there was huge rain last night so much so that they were worried about their houses would get washed away! But it was sunny when we arrived.

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大殿入口上方的五隻雪獅很可愛,每一隻表情都不太一樣。
Cute snow lions, each with its own cute expression.
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朋友嘲笑我朝拜隆德寺具有特別業障,去年是沒帶護照,今年是帶了護照卻沒有帶上錫金通行證,還好他特別問了一聲,所以開到一半又折回去拿。晚點到的好處是正好碰到修護法的時間,所以瑪哈嘎拉護法室和多傑綽洛(忿怒蓮師相之一)室都在修法。還朝拜了度母室,以及最重要的:十六世大寶法王的舍利金塔 _/\_。

喇嘛很慈悲的讓我們進去隔間裡朝拜,可以直接頂禮舍利塔,還讓我碰了一條平常加持寶瓶會用的那種五色繩,一端是連在塔上的。前天讀貝瑪薩公主傳時,正好讀到她有一顆spiritual turqiose,還在尋思是什麽寶貝,十六世金塔上所鑲的青松石諸寶貝裡,就有一顆是赤松德贊王的命力石!旁邊一顆則是瑪爾巴夫人給密勒日巴去向瑪爾巴求法的那顆青松石~~哇,能親眼見到這些以前讀過的寶貝真的是很啓發道心!

We were a bit late than planned due to my stupidity of forgetting to bring the Sikkim entry permit and hence driving back again after we almost left Gangtok. The good thing is that, because of the delay, the monks were performing the daily Mahakala and Dorje Drolo rituals when we were there.

The highlight was the Golden Stupa containing the 16th Karmapa’s relics. Moreover, the stupa is decorated with many precious objects. So thrilled to see the life force turquoise of King Trisong Deutsen  and the turquoise that Marpa’s wife gave to Milarepa so that he could make some offering in order to receive teachings……to see these things only read on paper before is such a blessing!!

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120930 Gangtok food 005朝拜完後,去十六世大寶法王總管的兒子家喝茶吃餅乾。喝完一家後,又去了十六世大寶法王的姪女家喝茶。她家有六隻奶牛,所以奶茶和奶酪都好吃的不得了~~

Then we visited two families by the monastery.  Had super delicious tea and curd, made from the milk of their family cows 🙂

吃飽飽回家後,雖說是吃不下飯了,但是大姐做的起司餃子太好吃了,本來說吃兩個的,最後大概吃了十個吧,還有一大碗湯!人在異鄉的中秋節,還是飽餐了好幾頓!

Though completely full after the tea, cookies, curd……etc. it is still too hard to say no to the delicious home made paneer momo (dumpling). Initially I just wanted to taste two and probably ended up having ten momos plus a big bowl of paneer veggie soup. Even though being abroad, I was not deprived from the Mid-Autumn Festival feast at all!

***

Actually it has been one feast after another feast everyday since I came to Sikkim. Sample pictures of the amazing family cuisine I have been having in the past few days :-p

其實來了錫金後,沒有一天沒吃好的。朋友家餐餐好料,也許我應該開始寫一本素食食譜~
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煮茄子的新方法 New Way to Cook Eggplant

120911 India Eggplant dish 001以前煮茄子總是覺得沒有理想的方式。

用煎、炒的,必須要放很多油,很不健康。

用蒸、煮的,茄子又會變得黑黑爛爛的,很難看~

今天去薩迦中心廟裡小店晃盪時(他們的parantha很好吃),看到店主兒子竟然拿著兩隻圓滾滾的茄子在瓦斯爐明火上烘烤。

他說這是印度朋友教他的烹調方式。

This is a new way I learned at the Sakya Center’s grocery shop. (They also sell wonderful paranthas, aloo and rice, YY…)

Today when I was there, the shop owner’s son was having 2 eggplants roasted directly over the fire. The eggplants was not cut at all. He just picked from the stems. Looked really funny.

也真有趣,我以為烤完會乾乾的,因為整個外皮皺得像是小老頭一樣,沒想到切開來看,竟然是鮮嫩多汁。

重點應該是要整個茄子拿去烤火,不能切開,熱度裹在裡面就像是烤箱一樣吧。

When I saw the wrinkled eggplant skin, I though it might be really dry inside, but surprisingly it was tender and juicy. This is definitely much better than pan-fried, as a lot of oil would be needed otherwise.

然後就是很典型的印度菜做法:起油鍋,炒洋蔥、蕃茄,加一點蒜、調味料,然後把刮掉皮、剁碎的茄子加進去炒,1-2分鐘就可起鍋。完全不像平常炒茄子一樣要放很多的油。

Then it is very standard Indian way of cooking. Stir fry chopped onion and tomato, add garlic and masala seasoning, and lastly add the chopped eggplant (excl. skin) and cooked for 1-2 minutes.

茄子泥很爽口,特別是洋蔥沒有炒太軟,就著印度薄餅吃是絕配!
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Great dipping for chapati bread. I especially like it with not-over-cooked onion slices 🙂

Reunion in Phuket 普吉小聚

120114 Phuket 008春節前,去了一趟普吉島。

上一次我們三人同遊是在外蒙古,這回其中兩人結婚生子,於是成了家庭聯歡活動——不過得不時提防一家的弟弟去咬另一家的哥哥。

之前對普吉這種度假勝地沒啥好感,去過之後,不得不承認人家歷久不衰還是有道理的。

首先,住的很好。可租可買的海景公寓,設備很齊全,再花200泰銖租個小摩托車,騎10分鐘車就到Kata海邊。

I took this trip to Phuket, Thailand before the Chinese New Year. It is like a reunion of three of us going to Mongolia together a few years ago.

Now the other two friends both got married and each has a baby son. So it is like holidays for two families. On top of everything fun you do in holidays, we also need to watch out the kids to ensure the younger one does not bite the older one.  (that is how Enzo likes to show his affection)

120116 Phuket 002之後搬去朋友的豪宅,晉升到七星級待遇,還附贈一個小朋友可以玩 🙂

I first stayed at a nice condo by Kata Beach ( in order to go to the beach, I borrowed a scooter and had my first ride after so many years. It confirmed that there are some things  you never forget)

Then I moved to a friend’s  beautiful villa. That is a really WOW place.

***

(下面是 Kata Ocean View Condo 的房間隨拍。聽說明年已經幾乎訂滿了,現在主要是歐洲人和俄羅斯人在這裡。租房、購房請洽:www.oceanic-global.com/
Pictures of my room at the condo. It’s for sale or rent at www.oceanic-global.com. Mostly European tenants with emerging Russians coming to Phuket)
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***

Kata海邊人不致多到令人難忍。超級高興從寒冷的上海來到溫暖陽光下,而且終於有機會帶上一些買了很久卻還沒用過的東西:西班牙買的烏龜海灘包、日本的防水喇叭、印度的紗麗,加上德國的夾腳拖鞋和美國的太陽眼鏡,最近大概看了太多時尚雜誌,於是拍了這幅超級唯物的相片~
Kata Beach is nice as there were not too many people. I must have read way too many fashion magazines on iPad so cannot resist taking such a photo of materialism: my turtle bag from Madrid, water-proof speaker from Tokyo, sunglass from US, flip-flops from Munich, and the latest addition is saree from India which serves multi-purpose functions 🙂
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海邊雖有無數多餐廳,因為在曼谷狂吃了一圈,普吉第一餐決定吃路邊攤,就一份清爽的涼拌米線,然後買了山竹、芒果和龍眼回家吃。山竹吃到飽,呵呵。
Great salad for lunch and then fruits, fruits and more fruits for the rest of the day!
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躺在開冷氣的客廳裡,望著窗外不斷變化的海邊風景,從晴天到這個下午的海天層疊景色,大自然妙哉~
And one of my favorite parts is to watch the constantly changing view of the ocean while lying on the sofa. It changes from sunny blue sky to these elegant layers of colors from sea to sky!

***

時間不夠去Similan Islands潛水,所以在Kata Oceanic View的介紹下,訂了這個Phi Phi島的一日潛水。

上了一艘俄國船,配到一位意大利的潛導,我們竟然還都參加過澳洲同一家公司Taka Diving的船宿潛水。

船上除了滿是俄羅斯人以外,還有兩個亞裔美國女孩令我大長見識!她們可是擦著眼影潛水唷,我還仔細觀察了,真的很防水,上來後,比我化妝5小時後還不掉妝。想像有人穿著泳衣加上舞臺濃妝…無語。

I did not have enough time for a liveaboard diving tour to Similan Islands and ended up taking a day trip to Phi Phi Islands. It was a Russian boat and guess what? full of Russian divers and all sort of alcohols. Of course, alcohols is only allowed after the last dive.

Also one eye-opening takeaway of the trip is that, as demonstrated by two American born Asian girls, you can have full eye makeups while diving. Wow, the waterproof cosmetic is certainly beyond my expectation.
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上面就是里奧納多拍The Beach的地方。人很多,還是在附近找個屬於自己的一方水天玩玩,比較自在。水是真漂亮。
Above is “The Beach” where Leonardo Decaprio shoot the movie. It was previously a rather unknown site, and now, thanks to him, it is pretty packed. Still, plenty of good sites to enjoy the water around the beach.
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總覺得這個船對著大岩塊的場景很眼熟,它們像是在進行某種特別的對話。
It feels like the rock and the boat are having a very special dialogue.

也還好沒去參加那個數日的潛水之旅。因為在上海重病,肺還沒全好,昨天才吃完最後一天的抗生素,今天就下海。第二潛時就覺得肺有點疼,為了避免永久性損傷,放棄了第三淺。才有時間拍了上面那些Phi Phi 島的相片。
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Overall, the visibility for diving in Phuket is not that good. Plus my lungs feel heavy and congested in the 2nd dive so I gave up the 3rd dive due to fearing that I had not completely recovered from the bad cold caught in Shanghai. ( What was I thinking? I only stopped antibiotics the day before diving…  Good that I did not do the 4 days trip to Similan Islands. )

***

既然來了泰國,不按摩就太對不起自己。

第一天在海邊按摩店做泰式按摩,按摩員覺得我的背很僵硬,一直問我是幹嘛的,怎麽會把背弄成這樣?我都不好意思跟她説我是無業遊民。她可能以為我是窮學生,免費幫我做了運動按摩。

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朋友帶去的地方,環境就更好。附設Spa、蒸汽房和露天按摩池。

中國人也終於沒讓俄羅斯人完全霸佔普吉島,在這個按摩地兒,見到一團來自成都的大陸遊客。其中一位老先生,一進桑拿房,就“呸”的一口痰吐在地上!@#¥@《

我很努力的保持面不改色,內心一直祈禱高溫能把細菌都殺死,並且提醒自己千萬別踩到那個地方。最後,第一個憋不住跑出去的是他們自己人。

Spa and massage is of course on the must-do list. And I finally realized that the Bangkok airport massage price is several times of the prices in Bangkok downtown and Phuket!

***

泰國是佛教國家,我們又全是佛教徒,所以也得去看廟。

Thailand is a Buddhist country and we are all Buddhist so we naturally went visiting the local temple.

廟的某些建築元素老讓我想到巴黎聖母院。
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上面左邊是高僧舍利,右邊是之前住持的蠟像。蠟像做的活靈活現的,我一進那房間就覺得毛骨悚然(很尊敬的悚然),還想搞不好是肉身佛。
To the left is relics of some highly realized monk of this temple and to the right is a statue of one of the high monks who passed away already. The wax statue was so vivid that at first I thought it might be a real body (many highly realized beings left their bodies without any signs of decay after they passing away)
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***

最後一天去了珊瑚島,主要是浮潛。
The last day we went to the Coral Island. Great weather, sunny but not too hot.
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年輕就是本錢,青春無敵!她們平均年齡不知有沒有10歲……
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略深的地方有海膽,有朋友不小心踩到,腳跟密密麻麻的都是刺。海膽刺很易碎,拔不出來的,導遊拿檸檬把刺都弄斷,讓我們自己人撒了泡尿,踩到水雷的就只能把腳浸在尿裡,等著尿把體內的刺給泡軟、化掉。晚上回家繼續拿醋泡。我開玩笑説你很愛吃海膽唷?她以前還真的蠻喜歡吃海膽蒸蛋。於是朋友一家人發願,從今年起,全家再也不吃海膽。
The visibility for snorkeling here is great. Have to look out for sea urchins though. A friend of mine unfortunately stepped into one 😦  Their family have an interesting practice of quitting one kind of meat each year to gradually become completely vegetarian. Therefore, naturally, the meat selected for this year is sea urchin.
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很喜歡太陽透過波浪映在海底的光明紋路,常常看著恍神,都沒有在看魚。
Love this light web of wave reflection in the bottom of the sea. Watching its wavy motion can bring me to trance.

***

普吉吃的不錯,從泰國菜到意大利菜,都有好選擇。
A wide selection of good food, ranging from Thai to Italian. And we even found a jelly dessert same as something in Taiwan.

路邊攤還有賣跟台灣一樣的仙草,呵呵。
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很久沒喝酒了,最後一晚友人開了瓶紅酒,就因為我前晚説自己不喝白酒,這麽一來,不好意思又説不喝。果然一開始喝,就沒停的喝,連喝了四種酒,包括我愛極了的Limoncello。

副作用是一開始喝,就停不下來。回家後,把家裡各種酒類全部喝了一遍,當下感到“酒鬼大概就是這樣”。幸好過兩天就到了初一,再次斷除酒杯。

The last night in Phuket I started drinking again, from red wine, to Muscatel, to Mirto and the long-time-no-see Limoncello 🙂

The thirst lasted 2 days after I got back to the freezing Shanghai. I literally savored every single kind of alcohols at home except for vodka and finally quitting all again since the Chinese New Year.  Better stay away from anything that I may get addicted to.