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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Of salads, chickpeas and Lion Dance

1. Never bring salad to a Malaysian potluck party. No one will eat it!! Okay, maybe it was just my chickpea salad that hardly anyone touched save for the cherry tomatoes that were missing. I thought a nice cold salad would be refreshing in the torrid heat as we've been hit by a heatwave for more than a month with temperatures soaring to an all-time high of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. I was so wrong. The curries and fried stuff were devoured in seconds!

2. "Bring a plate" means potluck in Australia and New Zealand. DO NOT bring an empty plate to the party. You can read about cousin R's major blooper here.

3. There is a difference in the rhythm/tempo of drum beats between a lion dance and a Chinese funeral procession.

After completing High School, I volunteered as a teacher in a small kindergarten class that was run by a Finnish lady for under-privileged children. During class one day, I heard the thunderous sound of distant beating drums. As it was around the Chinese New Year, my first thought was that a lion dance troupe was making its rounds in the neighbourhood.
"Moe See, Moe See (Lion dance! Lion dance!) , I hollered in Cantonese. The Finnish lady and I rounded up the kids and lined them outside the school so they could watch the performance. What a treat this would be for the kids, I thought.
Nearer and nearer came the sound of the beating drums. The kids could hardly contain their excitement. Suddenly, instead of a lion dance troupe, we saw a hearst followed by a group of people dressed in black. It was a Chinese funeral procession! Being a Catholic, I had never witnessed a Taoist funeral cortege and didn't know the difference!
Arghhhhh. Major boo-boo!


Did you know that chickpeas (garbanzo beans) come out perfect in a crock pot? Once you’ve had them cooked this way you'll want to ditch the canned ones from the supermarket.

Here's how.
2 cups dried chickpeas
6 cups water
1 tsp salt

Cooking Dried Chickpeas

Rinse and drain chickpeas in cold water. Pick out any stones and dark brown chickpeas.

Put drained chickpeas into your crock pot. Add water and salt.

Cook on High for 2-3 hours or until soft. Depending on your tastes and what you are going to use them for you can remove when slightly firm or cook until they are very soft.

When done, carefully pour into a colander, being careful to use oven mitts to handle the crock – it will be hot. Drain and rinse well.

Chickpeas will keep for about 2 days in the fridge. They will keep longer if made into hummus. They also freeze quite well.

Freezing chickpeas:
To freeze chickpeas rinse and drain them thoroughly. Leave to drain well for about 15 minutes. Spread chickpeas onto a baking tray, making sure they don’t touch one another. Put into freezer. When frozen, you can transfer the chickpeas to a freezer bag or plastic container for more permanent storage.


  1. Mmm...that salad looks good! Did you make it?

  2. And it was more than likely a first for all the kids to see a funeral procession too. I can only imagine the look on your face when you realized that there wasn't going to be lion dancers.

    The salad looked delicious and refreshing on a hot day.

  3. I cannot believe they didn't get your salad, it looks yummy!

  4. I LOVE chickpeas! I never even thought to make them myself. I must do it! For the record, I would have eaten your salad!

  5. OMg I love salad! I would have eaten it girl!

    MY dad loves chickpeas.. he makes these perfect beans with white rice.. yummy...

  6. Oooo, that's makin' my tummy rumble! I just wanted to thank ya for poppin' for a visit and leaving a sweet comment.

    In the words of old Granny Clampett, "ya'll come back now ya hear!!!"

    God bless ya'll :o)

  7. I wish I could have been there for the potluck! If no one was eating your salad, I would have just pulled up a chair and eaten the whole thing!

    And I didn't know about the lion dance difference...good to know!

  8. I think the salad looks delicious, I would definitely have eaten it. Being that it was close to Chinese New Year I would have thought the same thing and expected a lion dance.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Have a great day.

  9. I think the salad looks great too! I can't believe it's been 104 there! I'm happy today that it's 40 degrees and the sun is shining!

  10. Stop by my blog, checkout the "feature" post, follow the link, you were mentioned :)

  11. Oh Yum!!! But I was amazed by your heat! Our temps are stuck in the Freezing through 30's range now...for 14 weeks. lol. Everyone's getting all excited because they are forecasting temps in the 40's next week, ha ha ha.

  12. That salad looks yummy. I would have eaten it for sure.

  13. Great tip about the chickpeas. Thanks for stopping by my blog, glad I found you and will be back!

  14. Well, I'm super late, but the little picture popped up of the salad and I had to come see! Glad I did because I like the idea of making my own chick peas.

    My oldest used to lion dance. For years he was in a class that did them during the ceremonies they gave. Good stuff, that. :)