elb's hovel of thoughts

Monday, March 17, 2008

Where do I find chilli flakes?

Just the other day I volunteered to cook for some of my friends. Considering my options, I decided to whip out an old recipe which I have cooked before on several occasions.

The main differences were that I had planned to leave out the escargots and sea urchin roe (too pricey to buy for with many heads, and both are also acquired tastes) and that I would use spaghetti instead of taglietti, an acceptable but not exactly the best alternative, since my friend had lots to spare. Also, I decided to add in some red bell pepper/ capsicum and use sea salt instead of table salt to make up for the blandness.

Wondering where in the Klang Valley would I be able to obtain the ingredients, I decided that either Cold Storage or the Village Grocer @ Bangsar Village would be my best bet. I dropped by the latter first, and managed to pick up almost everything, and an added bonus of edible flowers (!), some of which I recognized but cannot for the life of me remember their names.

All except for my dried chilli flakes. After scrutinizing the herb rack, I asked for assistance. The worker directed me to where the chilli guling was kept, and I was just barely able to stop myself from shaking my head.

I could not find the chilli flakes at Cold Storage either, but fortunately a friend saved me with something similar that she had gotten from Thailand.

I decided to cook the spaghetti in two batches. Friends who had never tasted this version of pasta were initially horrified at my liberal usage of extra virgin olive oil, etc:

"Oh my God! How much oil are you putting!" Its extra virgin olive oil for goodness sake.
"Where's the tomato sauce?" Do all pastas really need tomato-based sauces? Someone please shoot Italiannes!
"Are those flowers you are cooking!!!!?!?" Yeah flowers! Something new for me too!

Nevertheless I stood my ground with what I was cooking, and the reactions differed. Some did not like my dish ("This is Aglia Olio?!?!"), some received culinary revelation ("This is the fist time I'm having a non-tomato spaghetti"), some were comfortable eating it ("Reminds me of what I had in Australia").

Okay back to my main question. Anybody know where in the Klang Valley can I get dried chilli flakes??. Or maybe I need to bring back some the next trip from the UK?!



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