P’Pew is a childhood friend of mine. You might be wondering how to pronounce P’Pew. (The P’ is pronounced as the letter P, so it is “Pee Pew”.) Phi or P’ is the way Thais address an older person in a familiar way. It actually means “elder brother” or “elder sister”. The idea is that everyone is a brother, a sister, an aunt, an uncle, a grandaunt or a granduncle to you: Everyone is family.
When I was in India, I was introduced to “Brother and Sister Day”. A brother would tie a colourful string band around his sister’s wrist and promise to take care of her until she got married. I just did a quick check on the internet to see if what I remember is accurate. Most websites talk about a sister tying a protective thread around her brother’s wrist. (The festival is called Rakshabandhan, if you would like to know more.) I remember asking a colleague what happens if a person doesn’t have a sister or a brother, and was told that a cousin brother or a cousin sister will do the tying of the thread band. Again, we have the idea that everyone is family.
Anyway, going back to P’Pew. I first met her in Malaysia when my family moved there when I was four. Her mother was a lovely lady who was my mother’s friend. My mother used to leave me and my younger brother at her house when she had important matters to attend to, which wasn’t very often, but I liked going over to P’Pew’s house because it was the “Land of Comics”. I used to love seeing the pictures of snow falling in white balls in P’Pew’s comics. I was too young to have my own Beezer comics. P’Pew was a bit older, and she was usually doing her homework when we went over.
The years have passed and I have since found out that snow doesn’t fall from the sky in round balls. Snowflakes are lovely when they fall, but not so lovely when they turn into ice and make walking on pavements impossible.
P’Pew became a dietician, and my mother told me that she was a celebrity because she appeared on TV. When I started this blog, I had the occasion to ask her about the show. She said that it was a show where restauranteurs would ask her for the nutritional values of their signature dishes. What a good idea!
P’Pew wanted to share one of her mother’s recipes with us. She said it doesn’t have a name, so we will call it P’Pew’s Mum’s Arroy Chicken. (Arroy means delicious):
- Saute pieces of chicken with garlic.
- Add dried shitake mushrooms and lily flowers/bulbs.
- Add some water and braise to the texture you like.
- Season with soy sauce, assam keping (dried tamarind slices) and dried red chili.
Adjust the taste as you like, depending on what you want to lead: Sour/ hot/ salty. Add more of the seasoning you prefer. Mixing the tastes together, you create a umami taste. Optional: cinnamon bark or star anise.
By Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 16 February 2021