Before we proceed, let me first tell you that my birthday this year has passed and that I do not want you to wish me Happy Birthday. Any comments that are wishing me Happy Birthday in nature, I will edit them into something else.
The fact is, I don’t really like celebrating my own birthdays. In fact, in recent years, I don’t even remember when my birthday is. I did have a couple of birthday dinners last week though, thanks to friends. Contrary to what I just said, I really appreciate you guys remembering my birthday on my behalf. I guess there really is no PC (politically correct) way of saying this.
No, it is not because I hate being reminded that I am a year older (I hardly even notice that), but more because I really dislike people making a fuss over me. I even turned off my birth date’s visibility to others on Facebook to avoid being spammed on the actual day. To me, real friends are people who will always be there for you, not just once a year upon Facebook’s reminder. If a person has zero interaction with me throughout the year, then I don’t need that person to interact with me on one specific day of the year. Shit, I think I just offended more people.
Another reason is that, by the way, do you know that according to the Chinese, your birthday is also known as 母难日mǔ nàn rì (Mom’s Suffering Day)? I’m sure you can connect the dots as to why it is called as such, right? I was taught this at a very young age, and it was kind of ingrained into my brain until now. It just felt wrong celebrating a day when your mom suffered great pains to bring you to the world, you know what I mean?
Anyway, enough of long winded story. So last week, when I was grocery shopping on a certain weekday, my mom called me to wish me an early Happy Birthday. She was dismayed when I told her that I have no plans to celebrate my birthday. Actually I did have a plan, I planned to celebrate my birthday by being cooped up at home.
I was making my way to the frozen fish section when I heard her say: “生日不可以不要庆祝的 自己要照顾好自己 去吃一点好的 知道吗？(You cannot refuse to celebrate your own birthday, you need to take good care of yourself, go get something nice to eat, know or not?)”
It was exactly at that moment when I spotted a slice of cod fish that looked super wonderful. The fresh ones, not the frozen ones. Maybe I was affected by my mom’s words, I immediately gestured to the fish guy (I’m hesitant to call him the fishmonger, because we’re in a supermarket and not a wet market) that I wanted that piece while replying to my mom: “啊！啊！啊！懂！懂！知道啦！知道啦！(Ya! Ya! Ya! Understand! Understand! Know lah! Know lah!)”
Two minutes and RM 26.50 later, I left the fish section with my fish. A few days later, I cooked my birthday dinner.
- 1 slice of cod fish
- 1 head of broccoli
- 1 piece of bihun (rice noodles)
- a few cloves of garlic
- salt, pepper and olive oil
- Rub the fish with salt and pepper, and let it rest.
- Soak rice noodles in warm water for a few minutes.
- Cut up and wash broccoli.
- Place fish and broccoli onto a plate, then place the plate on one layer of the steamer.
And then, let me backtrack a bit. Apart from the fish, I also bought this can of 豆豉 (fermented soy beans) because I saw it and spontaneously felt like buying it.
- Add two tablespoons of the 豆豉 into the rice noodles and mix em’ all up.
- Place the rice noodles onto another plate and place the plate on another layer of the steamer.
- Belatedly remember that when mom did steamed fish, she always fries the garlic oil first before steaming the fish.
- Set the steamer aside, chop up some garlic, and
sautefry the garlic in very hot oil until the garlic turn brown.
- Now place the steamer base back on the cooker, bring the water to boil, and them place the layers on top, and steam for 8 minutes.
- Plate up, and pour garlic oil all over the fish.
So, there you have it. My DIY birthday dinner for myself, made of spontaneously purchased ingredients. And I am heeding my mom’s advice of getting something nice (expensive) to eat. This has probably been my most expensive DIY meal, like, ever. There’s probably about RM 40 worth of ingredients in there!
Is it good? Is it delicious?
Of course it is! The fish was great!
When I rather spontaneously bought the 豆豉, I overlooked the words 辣椒 (chili) printed on the label. When I was adding it into the rice noodles, I still did not notice that two words. When did I notice that two goddamn words? I noticed after I took my first bite at the rice noodles and when “WOO HOOO HOOOO!!!!”
It was probably the hottest mouthful of food that I have ever eaten in my entire life. Of course, I quickly took drastic measures to tone down the heat, like blanching the rice noodles in some water. But my tongue remained anesthetized for the next two hours.
I still think this jar of fermented beans is great, but I need to remember to measure with teaspoon rather tablespoon when adding it to my food in the future.