The original Foochow ladle used for cooking is called How Diah. It is made from a circular soft metal which could be tin plate or even bronze or any other non-poisonous alloy. My uncles used to fashion their how diah out of the small sized cooking oil tins. A bamboo is split in half and the round tin plate is inserted into the two halves. The round disk is then bent into shape and you have a beautiful how diah which can last for a long long time.
|An old how diah in Ah Ing's house.|
The kuali we Foochows used in the early days was of course the huge round wrought iron kuali which could measure 3 feet in diameter!!
A mud stove with several compartments was a must for a huge household of three generations!! I usually refer to this kind of stove as the Foochow Stove. In later years the village stoves were made from concrete and much later beautifully covered by nice tiles of good quality.
My maternal grandmother Tiong Lian Tieh did enjoy her later years when my third uncle built nice wooden house and they began to use kerosene and gas stoves.
My uncle then did not have to wait for the flood to bring in loose logs which he would dry and saw patiently into blocks and then chopped into fire wood.
How I miss the sound of wood chopping in the early morning hours!!
I also miss one special dish cooked by my grandmother - that is a chicken dish called Bok Gieh or Exploded Chicken...
|Kuali with a very nice Foochow chicken dish cooking in Chung Cheng School Canteen - this dish is called - Bok Gieh. (Exploded Chicken 葱爆鸡)|
A simple recipe - cut chicken into small pieces. Heat up some oil and throw in lots of sliced onions and spring onions. Put the chicken pieces in the hot kuali and stir fry for a few minutes. Add some soy sauce of the best quality and some liquefied corn starch and sugar.Cover the kuali and let the chicken simmer until soft and tender for about 30 minutes (watch out for the drying up of the kuali !!)
|Another view of how diah - this one is found in the canteen of the the Chung Cheng School.|