The Many Shades of Rain. A Bucket of recipes.

By Sydaney Moog

Beef curry

Every now and again I check the weather channel hoping for a rainy weekend.  Rainy weekends are when I allow myself to stay indoors, stay in pyjamas, be anti-social and stay in bed watching reality show marathons.  Rainy days are a reason to fill my house with heavenly aromas of food that take a whole day to cook.  Food enhanced through a long, slow cooking process where the meat becomes tender and succulent, the flavours emboldened and the aromas waft through the house making you forgive the Weather Gods for creating a day outside that is wet, dreary and miserable.

When I hear the rain pitter-patter outside my window I pull out my slow cooker or fire up my oven and prepare myself for a day of cooking, waiting, eating, sleeping and eating again.  Whilst my meals are cooking and I am spurred on by the aromas through my house, I reflect on life –  finding joy in the memories of my childhood. Simpler times with my mother making my favourite winter dishes, my extended family visiting to enjoy these dishes together, the cousins gossiping and  playing , the aunties competing in cards and cooking,  the uncles checking out the handyman work and ultimately advising of the fastest and cheapest way of getting something fixed.  In these fast-paced chaotic times, these simple times are forgotten.  Rainy days give me a reason to slow down the pace, remember the simple pleasures and cook heart-warming homely meals.  I will share with you my 5 top rainy days meal.  They are from all parts of South East Asia, with each mouthful of each dish bringing back a memory, a feeling and a fullness in my heart and in my belly.

{Note from the Fat Kid Inside: The way Sydaney explains the dishes below is actually the way i prefer to cook. No real indication for quantities or measurements. You measure with your tastebuds, your tongue, your sense of smell and touch. It’s all about understanding flavour. This is why i have such a hard time writing down recipes because quantities will always vary, depending on where you are, what produce you are using etc, which is why i always recommended tasting at every step.}

BO KHO – Vietnamese Beef Stew

Beef shanks are marinated in spices (paprika, cinnamon, chilli powder, clove powder, star anise powder, pepper), garlic, lemongrass, shallots and sugar, left for a couple of hours and then sautéed.  This is transferred to a slow cooker with beef tendons, lemongrass, star anise seeds, bay leaves and beef broth and cooked slowly on low for about 8 hours.  1 hour prior to completion potatoes and carrots are added.  Before serving lime is squeezed in, fresh basil and pickled onions are strewn over as a garnish.  After 8 hours and a couple of seconds of finishing touches you end up with a rich stew with the lingering scent of lemongrass and heavenly spices.  Into this stew dip fresh crusty bread rolls.  Place pieces of beef, carrots and potatoes onto the bread, place in mouth and enjoy!

CA RI GA – Vietnamese Chicken Curry

This Vietnamese curry dish is slightly milder than its Asian counterparts, but is no less delicious.  I love to have this on cold, rainy days as the curry gives me the warmth required without being too aggressive and the coconut milk provides a richness that is imperative in these dreary days.  Chicken is covered in curry powder and salt, then sautéed with garlic, shallot, additional curry powder, chilli flakes, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, sugar and seasonings.  This is transferred to a slow cooker where potatoes, sweet potatoes, chicken broth and coconut milk is added then cooked on low for 8 hours.  Before serving discard lemon grass and lime leaves.  Served with crusty bread rolls, it is a dish that satisfies on those days when you want a kick of spice.

LAOS RAGU – Laos Beef Stew

This is my absolute favourite and doesn’t take as long to cook as the rest of the dishes here. The Laos Ragu uses ox tongue which is marinated in oyster sauce, light soy sauce and garlic overnight before being used.  Ox tongue, carrots, potatoes and onions are sautéed and then placed into a slow cooker. Tomato sauce and beef stock is added and left to cook on medium for about 3 hours.  After 3 hours, evaporated milk is added and then cooked for about another hour.  This is again served with crusty bread rolls.


chicken Rice

This dish is a long dish to cook as it a 2 step process.  First a whole chicken is left to boil and simmer for about 3 hours in water with coriander roots, whole pepper corns, ginger and onions.  This serves 2 purposes – cooking the chicken until it is tender with its meat falling off the bone and then the broth is used to cook the rice.  After about 3 hours of simmering, remove chicken from pot and place on a plate to rest.  Put rice, reconstituted dried shrimp and Chinese dried mushrooms into rice cooker and cover with the broth.  The broth imparts a subtle chicken flavour to the rice and the shrimp and mushrooms gives texture transforming the dish from the mundane into the extraordinary.  Once rested the chicken is cut into pieces, arranged on a plate and served with the chicken rice, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes.  A garlic chilli dipping sauce is perfect for lifting the flavours creating a small party in your mouth.  Who knew humble chicken rice could do that?

KAO BIAK SEN – Laos Fresh Rice Noodle Soup

This dish also requires 2 processes.  One step is to make the soup broth and the other to make the noodles.   I make mine using pork ribs which I chop into small pieces.  I add the pork ribs to the water, add ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf and salt, add water and leave to boil and simmer until the pork is tender and juicy and the broth is a heavenly melody of flavours.  Whilst the pork broth is simmering I make the noodles using rice flour, tapioca flour and water, kneading into dough and then cutting into long strips.  To put the soup together, I usually make one bowl at a time – moving some broth and pork pieces to a small pot and adding the noodles.  Once the noodles are cooked (they will go transparent and then float to the top), pour into a bowl, add bean sprouts, chopped coriander and shallots, fried garlic, fried chilli in oil and Chinese bread sticks.



    1. Clarissa June 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Hi. Your recipe sounds delicious but why add the potatoes and carrots an hour before the stew is done in the crockpot? So that the stew isn’t too mushy!?

      Thanks for sharing, the Browed Butter Sea Salt Nutella Cookies is still my favorite until today, made them several times during the holidays last year, can’t wait to do it again in a few months. Any delicious dip recipe you can share with us for next week’s 4th of July, goin to watch fireworks and spending all morning and night on the boat??? Something really simple to impress friends and family.

      Enjoy the wether there! Ciao ciao

      1. Erwan June 28, 2013 at 11:19 pm

        Thanks Clarissa. Sometimes mushy is exactly what we want :) I’ll try to post up dips this Tuesday




I gained weight because of a sedentary lifestyle and overly indulging in foods I knew were bad for me, eating out too often, taking the easy route (microwavable dishes) and not caring what went in my body, before I knew it reached 240 lbs. I lost weight through pure dedication, tireless hours of hard work and yes, food. I cooked my way to fitness, making sure to only feed myself tasty well prepared dishes with all the right stuff, the perfect fuel, taking me down to 150lbs. Of course I indulge from time to time, as the fat kid still lurks inside of me; here you will find a little bit of everything for the sole purpose of sharing my passion for food and life.





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