This is a special post, one that to me, celebrates friendship and proves you don't have to be in the same neighbourhood, town or even country to form meaningful bonds with someone. I first 'met' Biren in January 2010, when we were both fledgling bloggers. I had dived head first into the deep end of the blogging pool, wide eyed, unknowing and wretchedly challenged in the ways of blog administration and networking, trying my best to helm my first blog.
Biren was one of the first fellow bloggers who made the food blogosphere feel less bewildering and more welcoming. Think virus attacks, snooty established bloggers, one crushing rejection after another from photo submission titans Tastespotting and Foodgawker.
But perhaps, most heartbreaking of all, were zero comments and dismal site traffic, even after weeks of cooking, styling, photographing, writing your heart out and dedicated posting, had turned into months. If you're a blogger, you will undoubtedly understand. Like two new kids in the school playground who found each other, we almost immediately latched on. Me here in boiling Singapore and she, all the way over in frigid Minnesota.
In celebration of our friendship, Biren and I have decided to come together once a month to jointly feature a chosen dish, theme or cooking style. Our theme today is salads, and this is my inaugural post for our kitchen collaboration. May it be the first of many! To find out what treat Biren has prepared for today's joint post, please head over to her lovingly crafted and beautiful blog Roti N Rice. She has an army of followers, and if you read her blog, you will know why. Apart from the theme, neither of us knows beforehand what the other will be posting, so I am bursting with anticipation as I write this, and can't wait to check it out myself! Perhaps we should keep it this way Biren?
We enjoy numerous things in common and today's dish is something loved not only by us both, but also by many on either side of the Johor-Singapore Causeway that links Malaysia and Singapore. Both countries are bound together by history, culture, food and blood as many Singaporeans have close relatives in Malaysia and vice versa. In fact, once upon a time, we were one and the same country, so as is often the case with food, both sides will passionately claim this dish as their own ;)
Kerabu is a style of preparing vegetables raw, akin to a Western salad, but punchier, usually with myriad herbs, flavourings and spices, depending on the preference of the cook and availability of ingredients. The following list is certainly not exhaustive but very often, some or all of the following are featured : lime juice, chillies, raw or toasted grated coconut or coconut milk, dried or cooked fresh prawns, onions, zingy herbs like Vietnamese mint, Asian basil and turmeric leaf, vegetables like long beans, cucumbers or cabbage and even fruits like unripe mango and papaya.
Wowee Denise! I think the pictures are gorgeous! I love kacang botol and it is something I always request my mom to make when I visit. I have only managed to buy it once here at the Indian grocery store but have not seen it since.ReplyDelete
This is so exciting! I agree that we should keep it "secret" so that there is suspense on both sides ;) I don't know why we waited so long to do this. Thank you so much for all the kinds words and for your friendship. I look forward to seeing you again soon my friend. Hugs always xxx
Really surprised that you got it even that one time in MN! I was pretty sure you would like this, and I'm so happy you do :) Yes, yes, secret,secret!! lol I don't know why we didn't think of it sooner either - all that wasted time ;) Never mind, lots more time to make up for it. Till we meet again my dear!Delete
Hi Denise - I'm so happy to see you again. This is great - two of my favorite bloggers are doing twin posting. That's exciting! I've never had winged beans, but this salad looks beautiful and delicious!ReplyDelete
Hi Hyosun, it's great to see you too! Thanks for all the kind words, and yes, this is really yummy, especially if you like vegetables and spice.Delete
Kacang botol is one of many ulam for the Malays. Yet I haven't tried eating them raw though. haha.... I think I would love to try them eating this way. Looks really tempting and is a superb appetizer.ReplyDelete
Hope everything is well on your side.
Yes,the Malays and Nyonyas love this and ulam too. In Singapore kerabu and ulam are two separate things, but both are vegetable foods. I think in Malaysia ulam and kerabu are interchangeable terms. You should try raw kacang botol - so crunchy, juicy and sweet with a slight "kelat" (astringent) bite. But make sure you get young tender ones or else not so nice :PDelete
Hope to see you more often. Take care dear :)
Such a lovely idea! I also love your redesign and I have my eye on that tantalizing new book thumbnail that's teasing me from the sidelines. I'm heading over to take a closer look as soon as I've finished typing this! As for your salad, those winged beans are wicked-looking! They look like elaborate caterpillars - I just hope they taste better (totally have that ikky scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in my head now). I am also really grooving on your recipe placement over the image. One problem though - in some places it has rendered the text illegible. Maybe try using a drop shadow on the text layer to help it stand out? Just a thought. I think it's an ingenious way of combining recipe and image and, incidentally, watermarking your image in a sneaky way. Nicely done!ReplyDelete
Hey Ruby :) Sorry there are no further details on the title right now - I might give a peek here when my copy of the finished book comes in the mail soon. It will be out in late May or early June but hey, I told YOU first ;) haha That's the first I've heard of them being called caterpillars, but now that you mention it, I can't think of anything else :P I was worried the recipe wouldn't be completely readable but chanced it anyway. My bad! Thanks for calling it - I will make it better :)Delete
Definitely better! And sooo looking forward to the book. Yes you did tell me about it, but you failed to mention you had written it for me (clueless and lazy)!!! My kind of cookbook - finally!!! :-)Delete
Wow! This looks lovely! I have never seen winged beans before, but would love to try it!ReplyDelete
Hi Ambika, thank you for the kind words. You might not find them where you are, unless you have a well stocked Asian grocery shop or supermarket. But if you do find some, I urge you to give them a try. They really are delicious and very nutritious too.Delete
winged beans, oh I need to try these.. great combo. Love birenReplyDelete
Hey Chica! Miss you, miss you MISS YOU!!! Just seeing your name here is like sunshine coming in my window :)Delete
What a gorgeous salad! I will have to see if I can find those beans here...will hop over to Biren's next :)ReplyDelete
Roti n Rice brought me here! It's interesting to read abt both your friendship. I love kacang botol ( I called this four-angled beans). Can't find them here in Europe :-(
Am curious with your next battle...
Just back from shopping trip in Korea. Phew! I'm dead tired. It's nice to be greeted by a heart-warming post. What a wonderful collaboration from two of my fave bloggers! Biren told me about our lunch & I'm really looking fwd. Crossing both my fingers & toes, hoping I've no classes that day.ReplyDelete
I'm really ashamed that I've not heard of kerabu kacang botol :< Paiseh, paiseh. Looks like I've got a lot to learn from u ladies. Lots of blog hopping to catch up :) Gonna take it slow... Have a good week ahead!