This is an overdue post. In fact, I have many new things to blog but had been tied up with things. Two days ago, I made some really delicious ‘ngau lam’ or stewed beef brisket and tendons Chinese style. Will write about that later.
Meanwhile, I am going to jot down a few things I learned from cooking for 180 people. I must say I am proud that I managed to pull it through with a lot of help from everyone. Things went so smoothly, I just have to thank God for that.
So, here are some notes :
1) Find the cheapest, bulkiest and easiest to prepare ingredients. Many types of vegetables are not suitable because they turned limp and yellowish when cooked in big batches.
2) Root vegetables and other hardy vegetables are the best.
3) Chicken is the best choice because it suits all religions except vegetarians, of course.
4) One medium size chicken can be chopped into 14 pieces. Of course, never attempt to chop chicken on your own, get it chop by the sellers because you will never be able to get uniformed sizes.
5) Taucheo (fermented soya beans) plus chopped garlic and ginger makes almost every type of foods delicious. It is cheap too. Forget about frills like cut chillies and spring onions on top. These raw vegetables harbour bacterias and spoil your foods.
6) Eggs may sound easy to cook but remember that when you have to cook over 200 eggs, knocking them takes time. Never knock into one big bowl. Break it into small bowls and pour into a bigger one. This way, if one egg is rotten, the most you wasted are three or five eggs (depending on your size of bowl).
7) Too many cooks spoil the broth. This applies to cooking by a group too. Make it an understanding that only one person flavours the foods. With oil smoking hot, water in boiling frenzy and gravy splattering, there is no time to argue over how many tablespoons of salt to use. So, always rely on only one person to hold the salt and pepper.
8) Write or draw out clear instructions. Tell people how to cut the onion, potatoes or whatever. Give exact sizes.
9) Be prepared for some ‘extra, unwanted suggestions’ and deal with them with a smile but don’t doubt yourself.
10) Lastly, give people the freehand when you are sure they can handle it. Trust in God and everything will surely turns out fine.
So, how much raw ingredients were needed to feed 184 people, with some extra left.
10 kilograms potatoes
3 kg carrots
3 kg celery
3 huge cabbage
2 kg ginger
5 kg onions
2 kg garlic
1 bottle of taucheo, light soya sauce, dark soya sauce
Spices, garam masala, tumeric powder
Rice (not sure of the amount because I wasn’t paying attention)
Total cost : Less than RM300