Home is where the kitchen is. Are you with me on this? It’s not just any kitchen, it’s your kitchen, where fancified ramen cups and leftover takeouts exist peacefully with elaborate dinner plans, filled by organic grass-fed beef and leafy greens, without judgment.
And with that I welcome you to my new home.
Dear reader, after living in Singapore for ten years, I finally made the move to Toronto. For the first time, I’ve got my own kitchen. Still, it’s a rented unit, but no longer do I have to care about landlords watching my every move or housemates who burn my cookware. That is liberating, and mind you, a whole new world of responsibilities. I channel my inner Monica, eating cookies over the sink, while reveling in the cleaning supplies line-up I have.
One of the very first dishes I cooked was this loaded omelet, frittata-ish, a recipe inherited from my aunt. It’s part of a full meal with soup and stirred-fried greens served over rice. The ingredients are simple and ubiquitous: ground pork and prawn (about 100 grams of each), a few stalks of spring onion and shallots (essentially this versatile meatball recipe for soups, but instead of forming the paste into balls, I fluffed it up to make it spread evenly as the eggs cook.) When you feel a little bit extra, add in wood-ear mushrooms and vermicelli for more texture. But for now, these basic ingredients are perfect, as I navigate around a new city, beginning my quest for a new favorite local grocer, while building up my pantry again. Combine the meat mixture with 3 eggs, top it up with about 2 tablespoons of finely diced spring onion and some freshly-ground pepper, you’re good to go.
Speaking of which, you’ll need a good non-stick pan to give this omelet the seamless beauty it deserves. Well, and steady hands also. After the surface partially sets, my aunt flips the pan upside down, catching the egg mixture with a flat lid and then sliding it back inside. She never fails, but I do, maybe too many times. In both her kitchen in Vietnam and my own, I end up with countless numbers of cracked or broken omelets. “At least it tastes good” – the usual consolation. Between you and me: I have decided to carry out the flipping motion over the sink, in fear of collecting unnecessary gunk on my stovetop. Meanwhile, adjusting the temperature is key. Let the heat stay at medium to medium low the whole time, as you don’t want the bottom overcooked and the top runny. Keeping the lid on helps as well. (Literally right after I wrote these lines that I discovered a similar article on Bon Appetit, go check it out if you still need visuals.)
This eggy goodness pairs so well with rice and before you know it, you’ve found yourself reaching out to another serving. Then you’re too full to get up and do the dishes. That stain on the counter can wait until tomorrow. I think your kitchen will understand.