Secret Sauce

Asian cooking and special needs parenting have one thing in common: assembling your ingredients.

Hear me out. I have not gone off the deep fried end; not yet, anyway.

As parents of a child with FASD, the hubby and I have learned so much.

We’ve been blessed with help to create a toolkit of ingredients to support T’s day-to-day life:

  • Therapy and early intervention – Speech, occupational, behavioral
  • School accommodations, supports, advocacy
  • Medication
  • Consistent routines – At home, school, on weekends
  • Self care strategies – Exercise, diet, sleep, counseling, outdoor time, hobbies

Every child is different, so the mix of ingredients – the secret sauce – to respond to each situation will differ.

Asian cooking is similar in it’s often down to the sauce.

Cooking is a self care hobby and I’ve created a toolkit of staple ingredients:

  • Light soy sauce and dark soy sauce – There’s a difference, as I’ve learned
  • Cooking wines, such as Xiaoxing, mirin
  • Oyster sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Vinegars, like white, black or rice
  • Spices, such as Sichuan peppercorn, five spice, curry powder, star anise
  • Corn starch – Great for thickening sauce
  • Fish sauce

It’s therapeutic to visit the Asian grocer and slowly browse the aisles.

Only in an Asian grocer do they have an entire aisle just for soy sauce. All affordable options too!

Like raising a child with FASD, Asian cooking is a combination of following a recipe, working with what you have, experimenting, having fun.

And if the dish doesn’t work out as imagined, it gets disposed off later the same way anyway. 😆

Here are dishes I recently enjoyed making:

Chicken Ramen

So excited to have made ramen eggs!

Mongolian Beef

I learned the technique to making tender beef: slice the beef diagonally against the grain and mix it with baking soda.

Garlic shrimp pasta with green onion pesto

The green onion pesto gave a nice Asian twist to the spaghetti.

Mango Curry Chicken

Mango Curry Shrimp

I had leftover sauce from the meal above, so I made a shrimp stir fry. I don’t like to waste. 😊

Braised Beef with Daikon Radish

This was a comfort meal growing up and I was happy to have replicated it with the Instant Pot.

Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken Congee

A simple soothing meal via the Instant Pot.

23 thoughts on “Secret Sauce

  1. I’ve really gotten into cooking this past year, largely trying to find creative ways to use some of the veggies that I grew in my garden. I couldn’t agree more about the importance of the secret sauce. The rest of the food is typically just a vehicle for the sauce. I can almost smell the spices just by looking through your food pictures. My mouth is watering!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yum! Everything looks so delicious. I should’ve had a more substantial breakfast before reading this post. 😆 Now I’m hungry! It’s interesting how you compare Asian cooking with special needs parenting — I can see your point and how the two are similar. But now I think I should get some snacks because lunch is still a few hours away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. It’s payback for all the times you post about food on your blog! 😆 Greetings from the past, I’m 11 hours behind you and just getting ready for bed. 😆 Lunch is coming up for you soon!

      I do have laksa and beef rendang on my cooking bucket list to try in the near future, but I can’t find some of the ingredients in the Asian grocer over here. So will be patient and hopefully get to try it one day. Will definitely get your opinion on them when I do try! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well played, Ab! Well played. 😁 Please share with us the photos of your laksa and rendang one day when you make them — not on the same day I hope since both are not the easiest dishes to make.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 😊 As you’ll discover, I do love my analogies and metaphors. 😆 Sometimes they’re a stretch and sometimes they wok out well… oh and I like puns too. 😆

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  3. I love Asian food! My own culinary skills in this area are pretty much limited to stir fry and fried rice, but we all love those. What, I must ask, are ramen eggs? I’ve never heard of them, even in the Chinese restaurants we frequent. It all looks yummy, and I’m betting that as T grows older and matures, he will learn to appreciate it. Kids’ tastebuds have to mature … meanwhile, give him a burger … those always go over big!

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    1. Thanks Jill. Stir fry is about all that I make too! I learned more recently about the different kinds of sauces you can make to help enhance them.

      Ramen eggs are eggs that go with ramen (noodle soup), a typical Japanese dish. It’s a technique of boiling an egg then immediately submerging them in ice water and then marinating overnight in soy sauce and mirin (Japanese cooking wine). It’s pretty neat to make. There are many recipes and this is what I used: https://www.justonecookbook.com/ramen-egg/

      And yes, I hope T appreciates different foods as he gets older. He finally got to like burgers this summer. One step at a time. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We usually just buy packaged ramen, but my granddaughter is enthralled with anything Japanese and even she hadn’t heard of the ramen eggs, so I think we’ll be trying them soon! Thanks, Ab!!!

        I’m sure T will expand his culinary horizons as he gets older. Natasha (the aforementioned granddaughter) used to hate tomatoes, now she loves them, and that’s only one example. I still can’t convince her to try shrimp or any kind of seafood, though, and she’s now 27, so it probably won’t happen! 🤣

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      1. Yea the food thing gets better as they age. My oldest went through a year of pancakes and sausage every morning…lol. now the kid eats anything and everything. At 6 foot 2, I guess that makes sense. My 10 year old will try things, but he is more plain jane. Which is cool. I tried oatmeal for the first time since I was a kid, and I still hate ot! Its a sensory thing. Which is weird because I like applesauce.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sausage for breakfast sounds great. Would love to get more meat into this kid. 😆 I hope he grows to 6’2” too! Oatmeal is my breakfast staple but I can see how it’s not for everyone.

        Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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