Monday, August 07, 2006

Cooking at Kirk's

Yesterday we had a cooking class at Kirk's landlord's place. We decided to walk there because taking a taxi that far just didn't seem to make a lot of sense. The walk seemed a lot shorter than the first few times we did it--I think because we know the city better, it just seemed closer. Kirk's house is at the top of a huge hill. When you look at it, it looks more like a wall than a hill. It isn't too bad going up but we all were huffing and puffing a little.

Kirk's house is like a castle compared to our house. His landlord's house is even better! The kitchen was so Americanized! It was really clean and beautiful. They had security cameras and everything! And it was huge! We all fit nicely into their kitchen ready to have our first, and likely only, cooking lesson.

Interestingly enough, what we made we won't be able to make in America. The main ingredient is a plant that has no known name in English - ملوخية or mulukhiya in Arabic. To me that means that it most likely isn't grown, used, or sold in the States. So, although the dish was good, we won't be able to make it at home. I think that we could replace spinach or grape leaves for whatever plant it was...although I'm not sure how well it would work.

PS - Andrew just did some intense Google searching and found that the plant we used last night is corchorus olitorius, or just corchorus in English. Maybe we'll have to find some mulukhiya seeds to grow back in the states.

It was relatively easy to make though. You just put some cut up garlic in a pot with some salt, pepper, and oil (she said "a little" oil which translates to being a whole lot of oil in English) and then fry it for a few minutes until the garlic smells done. Then you put in the chicken and cook that in the oil while you cut up the leaves. You then put the leaves in the pot and add some water. Boil it until it looks done.

It was really an interesting dish and tasted really good. It was kind of slimy, like when you leave a flower in a vase too long and the water gets all gross. We ate it with rice. It was really filling. I was full after I had almost finished my bowl. But they serve up here like they do in Russia... Or anywhere in the world if you happen to be a missionary. Just when I was almost done the landlady came and dumped another spoonful in my bowl. I was already full so I was kind of sad about this because now I was obligated to eat at least some of it. At least here it is good manners to leave food in your bowl. That means that the host was so rich and food was so plentiful that it was not possible for you to eat everything. Phew! So I didn't quite finish all of my second bowl--I don't think I would have been able to! I think she wasn't offended. In any other culture the host might have been, but here, it's a pretty safe bet that she was flattered that I couldn't finish.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

umm by the way... you can get mulkhyia in the states...I have a whole bag that I bought from texas. And you can't use spinash or grape leaves because it does not have the same taste. It's different!