I honestly never know what to cook these days. I love cooking but in Singapore I walk into a supermarket and go blank, really blank. I’m faced with an array of beautiful fruit and veg I’ve never seen before in my life and ingredients I can barely pronounce. I have no idea how to prepare and cook them in a way the kids would not clasp their throats and claim I was ‘poisoning’ them, again.

I am calling this phenomenon ‘menu amnesia’.

We had this phenomenon when I lived in Japan too and my friend Alice famously went grocery shopping for lunch and returned with a lettuce and a loaf of bread.

So, I am on a mission to get to grips with this. I am going to be helped by a very lovely Thai lady who lives on our condo. She doesn’t know it yet, but she is going to give me SE Asian cooking lessons. She invited me for lunch and it was the best thing I’ve ever eaten. When I asked what she had cooked the chicken in she said ‘pandan leaves’. Righty ho.

So, in the supermarket Dom and I decided to buy something completely at random and cook it. We chose these…

choyoto 1

A little bit of googling later I discovered that my vegetable is in fact a fruit (though used as a vegetable) and is known as a choyote, choko, merliton, vegetable pear and a bangalore brinjal. Excellent, I have managed to buy a fruit with an identity crisis.

Later that day I was browsing through my number 1 guilty pleasure – Expat Living Magazine. Sssh, but I love it. It couldn’t be further removed from my expat life but if I ever need some botox while the kids do yoga I know EXACTLY where to go. But then, hold the phone, look what I found…

choyoto2

Now I will forgive Expat Living for its lack of fine-tuned editing and the fact that the list of ingredients didn’t quite match the recipe because it turned out like this and do you know what? It was rather good….

choyoto3

Menu Amnesia 0; Me 1

You can substitute my confused fruit for cucumber.

Choyote Som Tam Salad

Choyote or cucumber
Handful of cherry toms halved
3 spring onions sliced on the diaganol
handful of fresh coriander
1 red chilli (remove the seeds if you know what’s good for you)
12 cooked prawns
Some iceburg lettuce and french beans (tho I used sugar snap peas).

Dressing

1 tablespoon of fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tablespoons of groundnut or plain oil
3 tablespoons of lime
2 teaspoons of light brown sugar

Slice it all finely, throw on the dressing and serve. Yum.

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