It often happens that I don’t know what to cook for supper. It doesn’t help that the fridge, the pantry and the freezer are not shabbily stocked. Too much choice is never a good concept with me. I get frazzled with ideas and end up contemplating take out. Now, St. John’s isn’t a take out haven. After rounding up the few choices I have, I start all over again and stand in front of the pantry shelves for unaccounted minutes.
I hear that I am not alone in this ‘I never know what to cook for supper’ conundrum. I often call my mother in India around 1 PM Newfoundland time to ask what I shall cook for supper. She used to laugh at me thinking it was a joke; then she quickly learnt it wasn’t. I had inherited her trait. Ma never knew what to cook for supper most days either. She still doesn’t. Dependant upon what everyone wants to eat when no one knows what they really want.
A usual conversation around super ideas end up this way:
“Ma, I don’t know what to cook for supper tonight.”
“Yes, but cook what with chicken?”
“You like roast, why don’t you make that.”
“Naa, not in the mood.”
“Then don’t ask me.”
“Who else will I ask?”
“Ask Tony, he’s your husband. Cook what he likes to eat”
“Why would I always have to cook what he likes to eat? What about what I like to eat?”
“Then cook what you like to eat, and don’t ask me”
“Why does Tony get more attention than me? I am YOUR daughter!”
“Yes, but Tony is my jamai (son-in-law) and looking after my jamai is my first duty”
“That’s what I have leant and thats what our culture says. Are you forgetting your culture?”
“Don’t get me started on culture. I haven’t forgotten my culture. Now, why do you think that?”
“Because you are acting that way. Bideshe’e giye shob bhule gecho tumi. (you have forgotten everything since you went to a foreign land)”
“Does my culture say that a mother should prefer her son-in-law’s wishes more than her own daughter’s?”
“In a way yes. When you were here I took care of you and now Tony takes care of you. As your parents we are indebted to him.”
“I’m not a baby that Tony has to take care of me, Ma. I can take care of myself pretty well.”
“You are acting like one, right now” “Boddo jhamela korish (you cause too much fuss) and stop arguing with me.”
Eventually after I get over arguing with my mother, I call Tony on the phone and ask,”What do you want for supper tonight?”
“What kind of chicken?”
“How about a roast?”
(I am wondering if all this is planned!)
And so I succumb.
Roast Chicken – Asian Style
- Whole chicken for roast: About 2 1/2 – 3 lbs.
- Dark soya sauce: 1/4 cup
- Light soya sauce: 1/4 cup
- Oyster sauce: 2 tbsp
- Ginger: 2 inches diced
- Star anise: 3
- Cinnamon: 2 pieces 2 inches in size
- All spice: 1 tbsp mostly whole with a few slightly crushed
- Sesame oil: 1 tbsp
- Red pepper flakes: 2 tsp
- Sesame seeds: 1 tbsp toasted
- Brown sugar: 3 tbsp
- Scallions to garnish
- Marinate the chicken in a roaster with all of the ingredients except the brown sugar, the sesame oil and the sesame seed overnight for best results or at least for an hour or two if you can.
- Pe heat oven to 375 degrees F. Roast marinated chicken for 45 mins with cover. Baste the chicken with the marinade once or twice during this time. Then roast for another 30 mins without the cover.
- Take the roasted chicken out and place it on your serving platter. Add the brown sugar and sesame oil to the left over juices in the pan and bring to boil for a few minutes. At this point the gravy will turn slightly thick. Take off burner and spoon over roasted chicken.
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and diced scallions.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.