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.