The free and easy preparation for the pickling liquid is but a 4 : 3 : 3 ratio of rice vinegar, sugar, water, along with a generous pinch of salt. The salad can be made well in advance and if left uncontaminated, can keep up to two days in the refrigerator before colours from the vegetables start to bleed.
P recalled a welcome party at a new colleague's house, seeing a frangipani tree for the first time in her life while holding a plate of rendang with rice in a garden looking out to the South China Sea. And how life was so much simpler back then.
I thought some old school Malaysian food would be good for our next gathering. After all, which British person would shy away from a plate of curry at the tail end of winter in New York?
We started with a Thai salad of shrimp and pomelo as a prelude to beef rendang tok, chicken curry, spicy haricots verts, pickled vegetables, pandan rice, all served family-style. Dessert was petits fours outsourced from a favourite patisserie.
Rather playfully, P asked if I intended to save any leftovers. I said no, although I was pretty sure there would be more than enough for four of us (three pounds of angus beef round plus another three of chicken thighs and drumsticks).
"Well that's good. Because there won't be any rendang left."
Don't you just love such classy compliments? I absolutely do.