My good friend, SY, came over for dinner some time ago. It was a terribly last minute arrangement. We spoke on the phone just before she knocked off from work, and decided there and then that she would come over for a quick meal. Being the easy-going person she is, she said "anything simple" would do.
I rummaged through my refrigerator and found:
1. Two brinjals, which I used to cook Terong Balado.
2. Half a cabbage, which I stirfried with dried shrimps, garlic and chilli.
3. A packet of frozen chicken wings that I had already marinated and kept frozen.
4. And rice, of course.
At dinner, SY commented that the wings were very flavourful and asked what I used to marinate them. Her jaw dropped when I told her that there was only one ingredient, and it was Nam Yee (腐乳). For those who have no idea what Nam Yee is, you can read about it here and here. It is sometimes referred to as "Chinese cheese" or "soybean cheese", and is sold as little cubes in jars.
Fu-Chung seems to be the most widely available brand, easily found in supermarkets and asian stores. However, I have never tried it. My mother-in-law always gets Nam Yee for me from Chinatown, which are dished out from a huge vat. She insists that the Nam Yee are of a superior quality. I'll take her word for it.
Anyway, I wanted to share this chicken wing recipe, which is hardly a recipe. Whenever I buy chicken wings, I will separate them into packets of ten, and marinate them with just Nam Yee - two cubes* are sufficient for ten wings.
* Nam Yee comes with a soaking liquid. Don't discard that liquid. Use it together with the cubes.
I would then freeze them for later use. They come in handy when you have unexpected guests or when you just want to get food out of the way on busy weekdays (I am sure many mommies know what I am talking about). I like to fry them in a non-stick skillet, and you actually don't need a lot of oil this way. You can try baking them too, although sadly, I have never had luck with baked wings.
The wings taste best when they have been marinated at least for 24 hours. Here are two no-frills combinations I cooked recently with Nam Yee wings.
Fried rice with bean sprouts and french beans, topped with crispy shallots.
Throw in some Nam Yee drumlets for a complete meal. Where are my chopsticks?
There they are. Tuck in! My boys love this combo.
Here's a Cauliflower and Potato Gratin that I baked. Lotsa cream and mozza, and topped with parmesan and panko.
Gratin and wings. My daughter's weekday lunch.
Obviously, the possibilities are endless. Nam Yee imparts a very rich, savoury flavour to dishes ... like what cheese does to pasta sauces. Try using it for cooking veggies too. I frequently use Nam Yee to fry cabbage and glass vermicelli for my husband. It's a fast and easy dish that's suitable for vegetarians.
So, get creative, folks! :)