We eat and we remember forever something especially good. The fulfilling tang of a nutty gado-gado on a day so humid that pillows  of dampness settle in tangible lumps under the arms and between the thighs. Wet heat, cool spicy street food, made before your eyes.
 A golden beauty in bright batik throws a handful of peanuts, garlic and baby onions, fresh tomato, chilli and lime on a large concave piece of stone.
Using a smooth rock as a pestle she grinds this down with some chunks of salt and from under her stall she produces cut cabbage and cooked noodles. She tosses it all together and scoops it onto a big green leaf and asks ‘you need fork?’
Sometimes when i think in desperation, of all the things i think i need in my big old kitchen full of worn down paraphernalia, the machines with missing parts, fancy bladed knives and always too many cooking implements stuffed in a jar, i think then… i think i need a..giant skip, a holiday and just in case God, that these things come nicely in threes, i will have a winning lotto ticket too.
But what i actually need is simplicity and basics and for longer periods of time. The Zenness of that simple dish was not its speed of preparation it was the fact it was achievable again and again with so little effort and so few cooking contraptions.
Her food was the ‘here and now’ of dishes. There was no master chef thriller moment of not being finished in time, she was not frazzled and breathless  or even apologetic and emotional as she presented my lunch, no she was as mindful as Buddha when he walked out from under that Banyan tree.
This dish works well using a spoonful of peanut butter with the lime, tomato, chilli and garlic. Lightly steam the white cabbage and use mung bean glassy noodles from the Thai shop for a bit of authenticity.
 Sourcing the pestle and mortar, i find any river bed stock lovely smooth stones – watch out for the ones that chip though; oh and and serenity- give yourself  a moment and expand it by closing your eyes and take three deep breaths…now…

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