Some CF&G dishes

Monday, May 09, 2011

Cheap, Fast & Good?

An ex-lawyer friend of mine once lamented on how her clients expect work to be done quickly, cheaply and well.

Her view is that you can only have a combination of two, but not all three.

Cheap and fast, but not good.
Good and fast, but not cheap.
Good and cheap? Oh well, possible, but cannot be fast, bro.

You just can't have all three.

A simple, but a rather enlightening thought for me as I reflect on how this principle can be applied to other areas of life as well.

Thankfully, the same need not be said when it comes to cooking. There are dishes you can make which are all three: CF&G.

I have mentioned before that I will blog some "101 dishes." I have already blogged one here. Here are a few more go-to CF&G dishes...when you do not have a lot of time, quite broke and your family is insisting on home-cooked food ("Ma, not chicken rice again...").

Grilled Saba Fish in Teriyaki Sauce, with sliced spring onions and steamed white rice

How cheap can fresh Saba fish be? When on sale, it can be down to $3.80 for 4 halves. And they come cooked already. Check them out in the freezer section.

How fast can this dish be? Marinate in Teriyaki Sauce (thicker variety, add soy sauce or sugar/honey to taste) and placed it on a grill in the oven, bake & grill (top and bottom heat). Baste with the marinade along the way.  After 20 minutes, it is done. Serve it with sliced spring onions (scallions), which are cheap and in abundance in S'pore.

How good can it be? Very satisfying. The upper half of the Saba fish tastes best.

Chicken Claypot Rice with Chinese Sausage, diced spring onions and cut red chili

How cheap can this be? Mostly the cost of the chicken and you can feed half a dozen.

How fast can this be? The time you need to cook your rice. Fry the rice first in some oil to coat it. Cook the rice. Meanwhile, fry the chicken pieces (boned in or boneless) in some soy sauce oyster sauce.ight soy sauce, dashes of sesame oil and dark sauce for about 10 minutes (half cooked). When the rice has set (mid way through), add the chicken, sauce and cut Chinese sausage in. After the rice has cooked, the dish should be done. This dish can be improved in various ways but for this post, we keep it CF&G.

How good can this be? Served hot with some diced spring onions and cut red chili in soy sauce. It makes for a great one dish meal. Dish out straight from the rice cooker. Serving plates not needed.   


Chicken in black bean sauce and Onions

C?: Cost of chicken

F?: Really fast...add ginger to some hot oil in wok, then garlic, some cut chilli, then sliced onions, then black bean sauce (just don't burn the black bean sauce as it turns bitter if so) and finally, add the boneless chicken piece. Fry for 10-15 minutes. If need green veg, garnish with coriander leaf.

G?: Definitely.

Fried Veg in Soy Sauce and chopped Garlic

C?: Green veg is cheap..and any of the leafy ones will do

F?: 5-10 minutes. Add garlic to oil, add veg, add soy sauce, dashes of sesame oil and pepper. Just remember not to overcook.

G?: If you like veg, yes. If you are a vegan, double yes.

Minced Beef on Fried Eggs  
(a simplified version of Pad Gaprao Nuea)

C?: As long as you can lay hands on cheap minced beef.

F?: Add garlic and ginger to hot oil n wok. Then cut chilli. Then minced beef. Stir quickly to separate the meat. Add fish sauce (salty) and sugar (or palm sugar) to taste. Finish with some basil but optional for a CF&G dish. Dish on some fried eggs (but not the Auntie Ruby ones which are definitely not CF&G).

G?: Gloriously so and a one-dish meal. Dish from wok to eating plate and save on washing. You can eat off the wok too but please don't carry it to the living room to watch Man U beat Chelsea...  


Fried Pork with Green Cabbage

C?: Green cabbage is cheap here and keeps well in the fridge. As for pork, get the cheaper cuts.

F? : Yeah, really. Just fry...add meat first, veg later. Soy sauce, pepper, sesame oil etc

G?: Certainly. The natural sweetness of the cabbage and the soy sauce works well together. Can be a one dish meal. (In our local cooking terms, one-dish means that this plus your rice).


There you go. Some CF&G dishes.

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  1. Hi, it was a pleasure meeting you and your wife.

  2. Hi Edith

    That was my PA and she is as senior as my mum..haha

    But thanks for the compliment and she will be over the moon when she hears this.

    Nice meeting you and you have a nice blog going there.