Leftover. How many of you will have a leftover?
What will you do with your leftover food? Will you threat them as scrap and put in the bin? Or, feed to your pet? Or will you put in a plate or bowl and glad wrapped, then put in the fridge?
I never throw my leftover food. I will save them for tomorrow and the next few days. I will pack in a tupperware container for lunch in the office the next day. I will reheat them for dinner. Or, I will create something out of them so it will be a new dish.
I remember growing up in Penang – when I was a boy, my parents will buy “Chai Boey” (in Hokkien, which literally translate into English as “Vegetable Tail”!) to accompany mum’s other home cooked dish. “Chai Boey” is a dish where all leftover food unsold in previous day are mixed in a big pot and slowly cooked with “Kiam Chai” or chinese preserved mustard greens and some dried chilies. The dish is salty, spicy with multi layers of flavours and textures. It is very addictive and I can never get enough of it. Always want more. The principle behind “Chai Boey” is never waste your food.
On our way home today from work – an hour drive, 60 km away. The weather was still good. It was hot, about 25 degree Celsius. My partner asked, “What are we having for dinner?”
I said, “Leftover”
“WHAT?” he asked.
“Got 7 balls. How many do you want?”
“Two is enough” he said.
“Okay, you can have two balls!”
“How are you going to cook them” he asked.
“Some noodles. In soup”
“No! I want my stir fry” he said
“You can fry yourself!” I said.
That was our little conversation all the way home. The rest of our trip was a quiet drive, taking in the beautiful scenery of remote country side Tasmania.
When we got home, I ransacked the fridge and cupboard. Took out a pot, filled with water. Put on high heat on the stove to boil. Removed the leftovers – a bowl of balls in broth, a bowl of stir fry pork meat with puff tofu and shredded cabbages, a packet of dry vermicelli noodle and a bowl of ginger, spring onion dipping sauce.
I reheat the bowl of balls in broth on medium heat. And, the bowl of pork meat in a saucepan with 2 scoops of the ball’s broth. Covered and reheat in medium heat. Then I filled a bowl with tap water and soaked the dry vermicelli to loosen the noodles. Removed and put in boiling water, which I have heated earlier. The noodles were then drained and rinsed in cold water and set aside.
Next I heated a frying pan. Poured some olive oil. Tossed in the noodles and mixed through with the bowl of leftover ginger and spring onion sauce. Tossed in leftover pork meats. Mixed through. Then served in a bowl with some of the balls on top, with a small teaspoon of sambal oelek.
There is some leftover from the leftovers. So I scooped the rest into a tupperware container for lunch at work tomorrow. This is the tail end of my foodtrail of leftovers.
Flashback to the last couple of days.
1. Minced pork balls with shiitake mushrooms, ginger, spring onions, preserved mustard greens.
2. Slowly poached in home made chicken consomme from the previous night.
3. Served in a small bowl with chinese cabbage and broth.
4. Oven baked pork leg with plums. My partner cooked this for our neighbour. Served in plum jus. There was so much leftover meats – that I sliced into small bite pieces and stir fry with puffed tofu and chinese cabbages.
5. Ginger and spring onion dipping sauce. Made from finely chopped ginger, spring onion with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. I used the sauce for chicken rice with a bit of chili sauce, light soy sauce and sesame oil. There was half a cup of leftover which I used to flavour my vermicelli noodle in tonight’s leftover creation.
I have used up all my leftovers from the last few days.
The cycle repeats – grocery shopping, cook new dishes, reuse leftovers until the last bit of leftovers are used up.
Never let your food go to waste.
Not even a grain of rice on the plate. My mum would repeatedly said to me when I was young. Never leave a grain of rice on the plate or I will marry a girl with pimples! Now that I reflect back to what she had said. It was funny and ridiculous. I believed her so much that I did my best not to leave a grain of rice on my plate. But, I never did marry a beautiful girl with perfect face! Or did I
So, what is your view of eating leftover food? Is there anything wrong with eating leftovers?