A dish that lets you travel to two places at the same time

Cooking has been an integral part of my life. Food is one of the earliest memories I have.

I remember when my mother would always cook spaghetti for me, since I was a very picky eater when I was a kid (and until now). I also remember when my parents would take us out to try different types of food. These experiences sparked my desire to cook at an early age.

Russell Romero: “My mother taught me that if I learned how to cook, I will never be hungry for life.”

I have been cooking since I was 7 years old. I learned cooking from my parents. My mother taught me that if I learned how to cook, I will never be hungry for life.

I started by cooking basic food, like pancakes, eggs, hot dogs and noodles. Then I moved on to pasta, steak, pizza, fried chicken and many more. The perks of the skill was I could cook anything that I imagined, just as long as I could find the right recipe and ingredients.

I’ve always been fascinated with how two ingredients can make a new flavor. I love the idea of raw ingredients being made into a hearty meal.

Traveling while at home

When traveling, the highlight of my trips is the food. When I return home, I always try to replicate the food that I tasted. I let my family sample my cooking experiments. Seeing them enjoy my dishes motivates me to continue cooking. I also cook for friends, and they usually ask for recipes and cooking tips.

I’m no expert but I try to copy and learn from my cooking heroes like Reggie Aspiras, Gordon Ramsey and Guy Fieri, to name a few. Watching cooking shows ignites my passion. Given the chance, I would like to take formal lessons in cooking so I could hone my techniques.

Since the pandemic hit, I’ve missed eating out and traveling. But I saw an opportunity to improve my skills as a home cook. I may have been stuck at home, but I got to travel the world one plate at a time.

The challenge was the lack of ingredients, since it was hard to go to the grocery at the start of pandemic. I had to be resourceful with what was available. I tried replicating dishes I’ve missed, such as katsu curry from Japan, laksa from Singapore, burgers from North America, noodles from Hong Kong and many more.

I love both Italian and Thai food, which is why I came up with this dish, Red Curry Pasta. I’ve never been to both Italy and Thailand, but this dish makes me feel that I’m in both countries at the same time.

Red Curry Pasta
Red Curry Pasta

Red Curry Pasta

  • ¼ kg pasta
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ medium-sized red onion
  • 2-3 Tbsp red curry
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 pack/can coconut cream
  • 5 chopped crabsticks
  • 1-2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • Juice of 2 calamansi
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish:

  • Spring onions
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Crabsticks

Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, put the oil and saute the onions, garlic, red curry paste and tomato paste.

Once you see oil coming out of the red curry paste, pour the coconut cream. Mix until ingredients are combined. Season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer.

Add crabsticks, soy sauce, calamansi, Parmesan cheese and sesame oil. Mix them together. Taste. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Add the cooked pasta and mix. Garnish with crab sticks, Parmesan cheese and spring onions. —CONTRIBUTED

The author is a licensed flight instructor, certified speech pathologist, university professor, licensed financial adviser, brother to Robby, Rome and Reece, and son to Amy and Bobby.

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A dish that lets you travel to two places at the same time