in this food challenge, we will create a meal for 2 people with just $20 hkd, that’s less than $3 usd. don’t think that’s possible? well it most certainly is. the $20 will count towards buying the raw ingredients… meat and veggies. we will use whatever spices, herbs, and seasonings that are found in our pantry, and it won’t be counted towards the cost.
the only way to achieve this is by shopping at our local wet market… the chain stores are notoriously overpriced. plus we like helping out the small mom and pops. this one stall that we’re familiar with has pretty cheap frozen meats. it just so happens that catfish was on sale, two frozen filets for $10. we actually like catfish. it’s meatier, though less flaky, than other fishes, but it’s got flavor. so that’s our protein, a fish filet for each of us. next are the vegetables.
priscilla got the inspiration of doing “fish and chips” as we passed by some potatoes. but then she quickly changed her mind as she saw the lotus root. we’ve seen people do chips out of lotus root before, so we picked up a small chunk and decided to run with that idea. this, along with 3 heads of bok choy for greens, came out to be $5. with $5 left, we wanted to find something to balance the crunch of the lotus root. that’s when the idea of a puree came to mind. we were juggling between doing a sweet potato or a pumpkin puree. but priscilla insisted that sweet potatoes do not pair well with catfish. i obviously listened, like any good boyfriend would do. and guess what, it came out to be exactly $5! bringing our grand total to a perfect $20.
to make cooking faster, we divided the tasks. priscilla fried the lotus root chips since that was the most time consuming. while i grilled the fish, sauteed the bok choy, and pureed the pumpkin.
lotus root chips – slice thinly like potato chips, soak them in water for about 5 minutes. pat them dry with a paper towel. toss them in hot frying oil until crisp. salt to taste.
boy choy – cut them into quarters and quickly blanch in hot water to remove the grassy taste. sauteed in hot pan with oil and drizzle with soy sauce to flavor.
pumpkin puree – boil the pumpkin in water until soft. remove from water and smash it into mush, like baby food. add a few drops of sriracha to give it a little kick. salt to taste. (if you have cream or butter, add some to make it richer)
catfish – pat dry with paper towel. season one side with salt and curry powder. grill on a pan with hot oil, curry side up. cook until done, about 5 minutes on medium-high heat. you can check doneness if fish is no longer pink inside. (i didn’t flip the fish since it was thin and it might break apart if i tried to flip it. instead, i spooned hot oil from the pan on top of the fish to cook it, like they do on tv.)
the end result… a delicious and satisfying meal for the two of us.