Tuesday, January 10, 2012

She feels happy when she feels needed

One day, I received a phone call from my mum’s ex-customer, now a very close friend to my mum. She is also my niece's future mother in law (MIL). She said, “Please tell your mum to come help my daughter”. The confinement lady that her daughter booked has called her to say that she has to cancel her service. I was appalled at the confinement lady's unreliability. How can she leave someone  high and dry by canceling her service at the last minute? So my mum was away from home for one whole month. I was happy for my mum to help her friend because I knew when she feels she is needed, it gives her happiness. My Quay Lo once told me that a person feels happier if he or she feels needed. Here is a good story to illustrate that:

(Extracted from the book, No Excuse! , by Jay Rifenbary)
As a young girl, Mona had been left orphaned and unprotected. She moved sadly through her days. One day, on a lonely walk through a meadow, she saw a butterfly struggling to release itself from a thorn bush. Mona carefully released the butterfly from its captivity. Her freeing touch caused the butterfly to turn into a beautiful fairy.

"In return for your kindness," the good fairy said, "I will grant you any wish." Mona thought for a moment and said softly, "I want to be happy!" The fairy leaned forward, whispered into the girl’s ear, and flew off.

Mona developed into a beautiful woman and eventually grew to be old. She had left the sadness of her childhood in the field where she had met and aided the fairy. After that, Mona’s years were marked by serene happiness. As the end of her life drew near, friends and admirers came to comfort her, and to say good-bye to this remarkable woman.

Mona’s last gift to her friends was the story of her encounter with the fairy. She shared with them the words the fairy had whispered in her ear. As Mona spoke, her eyes shone with the joys of a lifetime of treasuring the fairy’s message: "Everyone, no matter how secure they seem, no matter how old or young, rich or poor, has need of you."

To continue with the story of the new mother and her new born that my mum went to help...
Would you believe that She was “the baby” that my mum took care of during her mum’s confinement 30 years ago?  Yes, that is true. Amazing isn't it!!  Well, this will not happened if her mum did not keep in touch with my mum all these years. The reason why she did was, she loves her to bits. My mum is a well loved person by her friends and family. She is always quick to offer her love and help. She is also a very thoughtful person and will never view anything as troublesome to do when she felt she is needed. Here is an example of the extra miles she would walk happily for friends and family.
A few days before she left home to go help the new mother, I saw her in the kitchen scrapping off the skin of a few kilos of young ginger. Later I heard pounding sound and she was  mincing them in a mortar and pestle. She spent almost the whole day doing that in order to make ginger sauce. After the ginger were done, she continued to sterilize the recycled glass jars to be ready to hold the sauce. At first, I thought she made this for us to eat with the steam chicken we are going to have on the coming Reunion dinner on the eve of Chinese New Year. I was curious why she made such a big quantity this year.  I asked her and found out the sauce were not for us. She made them for her best friend and her children. She and her 6 children will get a jar of the sauce each.

Whoever had tasted my mum’s ginger sauce raved about how good it is. I asked her if she mind if I share her recipe on my blog and she gave it to me without hesitation. This sauce is so versatile and can use to compliment a lot of Chinese dishes especially steam chicken. You can also use it to fry rice and it is so healthy and flavorful. According to my mum, ginger has been used for thousands of years in chinese medicine to treat stomach disorders. It can also chase away simple cold and cough. Not only that, it also reduces toxicity in our body, which means it is anti-bacterial. It sounded like a magical ingredient to have! After she finished talking, I told her, "Mum, you are my old ginger!" That puts a big grin on her face. I can see she truly feels happy when she feels needed.

Ginger sauce

Minced ginger
Sesame oil

Scrap off ginger skin and mince them by using mortar and pestle. Heat sesame oil in wok and add minced ginger. Stir fry till fragrant and add salt to taste.

Note: With this sauce handy, you can also make ginger fried rice. Notice there is no measurement? My mum said the measurement is up to individual taste. She said your tastebuds are your measuring tools for this! What a piece of work she is. One can put more salt or oil so it is up to you. She added that the key to a good ginger sauce is not to use the electric blender to mince the ginger but the mortar and pestle.

Click on the photo to get the recipe. 
This recipe was featured at Group Recipes

We have served my mum's ginger fried rice to many friends and family members before and all of them give their two thumbs up. 


  1. What?! No blender? Yeah, I know. It's not the same. Mashing and pounding it versus cutting it to bits makes it tastier. Such a lot of work to pound kilos of ginger. Your mum certainly is such a super lady. And from what I have gathered over the year that I've 'known' you, Lucy, you're just like her.
    I've this teeny mortar and pestle set. I guess I can make a teeny bottle of this. This really is good stuff. Very versatile and useful. Thanks to both of you for sharing.

  2. Oh yes, I enjoyed steamed chicken with ginger sauce. 2 thumbs up!!

    Your mother is so serious in her "confinement job" :) She is a true gem, Quay Po.

  3. The ginger source and ginger fried rice are both very tempting. I love ginger, I can ate it raw. Your mum is a germ. You are blessed of having your mum and also Quay Lo.

  4. Yes..my mom used to do this when we have reunion dinner at home specially for the steamed chicken. I used to help her to pound back then, but now now. Kind of missing the tools..mortar and pestle.

  5. this is great with steamed fish too!... i love this ginger sauce....

    all the best in 2012!

    mrs. food

  6. Looks like a labor of love to me! I have been eating a lot of ginger lately and drinking ginger tea with my laryngitis. It so comforting, I must make this ginger sauce and fried rice--I never measure when making it either.

  7. What a lovely post. We love Ginger Sauce. We have a favorite restaurant where the ginger sauce on the salad is exquisite. It's good however it is used....

  8. what a wonderful post and delicous recipe, I love ginger sauce, thank her for sharing!

  9. Love the fairy's message. Yup old ginger is good to rid of wind as well. Will tambah lots of them while eating chicken rice besides the chillies and normally would order fish with 'seong yung' double ginger with the fried ones on top of the fish.

  10. Such labour of love, I'll never make 6 jars of it without the blender, no way!
    Ur mom's so nice.

  11. Your Mom does sound like a wonderful person. Thanks for sharing your Mom's special ginger sauce.

  12. Isn't ginger fiberous? I can't imagine pounding it. I've minced it with a knife before... I will try pounding!

    What a beautiful mother you have!


  13. A mother's fried rice recipe is the best!

  14. You know, sometimes when I got urge to eat ginger rice, I go to this particular coffee shop to order ginger rice, they used sesame oil, ginger and egg to fry with rice and that also cost RM4.00 a plate.. plain but then what to do.. got urge to eat ma! :)
    Ginger is a "dish helper".. it helps to make the dish more appetizing.. :)

  15. thank you my blog friend
    for the recipe I will cherish
    and the story that brought
    a tear to my eye!

    Warm Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >


  16. I'm not crazy about ginger but reading this post, I was surprised to find myself salivating.

    I should buy some young ginger and do likewise for the reunion dinner this week.

  17. I love ginger rice..thanks for sharing.

  18. What a wonderful post. Uplifting, heartening, inspiring. The perfect antidote to a dull winter day in England. Thank you. Like mother, like daughter, I reckon!

    We love ginger, so will certainly try the recipe. Everyone around us has colds at the moment. We need more ginger to protect us!

  19. Oh wow, thanks to your mom for sharing this. I love these ginger sauces to go with my chicken rice and I remember having ginger fried rice for my confinement and miss eating it. I must go make myself some soon! :)

  20. ooo I love ginger sauce too to go with chicken rice. Your mum is really a darling. Very generous and likes to make ppl happy. She's still so fit and strong to be a confinement lady huh?

  21. Quay Po,I remember when I read your post about the sausage buns, you did mention that your mum went to help out her friend's daughter, was that the time she went to be the confinement lady?

    Actually at that time, i was thinking how come your mum still wanted to risk her health for being a confinement lady. I mean no offence because I know it is a very tough job! When my 2 children were born, I asked my mum to come over to Sydney to help me to do houseworks so I could just focus on taking care of my newborn baby. In Sydney, we don't hire confinement ladies, at least I know that none of my friends did.

    The mums who just gave birth will need to breast feed the babies once every 2 hours, leaving like 3-4 hours to sleep in a day! There is no electric rocking cradle & babies won't sleep as much as those in M'sia. Both my children were born in very cold days & I just felt sooooo exhausted!

    That was why at that time,I was a bit worrying abt your mum, whether she could take it or not.

    Anyway, I have to agree with you that a simple fried rice with ginegr & egg is such a great dish. I had that a lot during my confinement month.

  22. Yes, nothing like the feeling that one is being needed... The sense of self-worth and self-esteem is crucial to one and all.

    I've never used ginger in fried rice. For one thing, I'm not so crazy about ginger - too heaty for me so when I have to use I would do so sparingly.

  23. Ginger is good for ladies after giving birth. but too heaty for normal time if taken too much

  24. Your mum is really awesome :) Thanks for sharing the recipe, I started to like using ginger in cooking too, healthy and makes the dish more fragrant!

  25. A wonderful excuse to take out my aggression with my mortar and pestle! Thank you for sharing the recipes and these wonderful stories. Ah, to be needed is a wonderful gift!

  26. WOW, This looks yummy, Well done and thank you for sharing :)

  27. Thanks for sharing your story again! It is always wonderful to learn something new from you. I guess there's always another way to be happy. Tell your mom that she's awesome! :D

  28. Love your stories, keep them coming!

    This ginger sauce looks great too.

  29. Si the chinese saying goes, the older the ginger, the spicier it is! It holds true to the wisdom that our seniors have that we could only hopefully strive for. You r mom is indeed a wise compassionate person. YOu are blessed! ^^

  30. @ping
    WHAT INDEED!! I don't think I will do without a blender for kilos of ginger. I will die!! hehe

    Oh yes, she is the best "confinement lady" among her customers. They all book her the moment they knew they were pregnant and use her till she "wong fei hoong sau tong" (Retired) when my son Nicholas was born.

    @Sheoh Yan
    hehehe.. if my mum is a germ, she is a precious one. Yes, I am so very blessed to have both my mum and my Quay Lo.

    @Yee Ling
    I am very lazy to use the mortar and pestle, it is so much easier to use the electric blender but then I know the taste is not the same. Can't have the best of both worlds .

    @mrs. food
    Definitely! Wish you a greets 2012 too.

    It must be out of love to be able to endure the boredom of peeling the skin of kilos of ginger as well as pounding them in the mortar and pestle.

  31. @Lois
    You are right, ginger enhance the taste of most dishes.

    You are welcome laurie. Wish you are living nearer, then mum will be able to let you have a jar too.

    OH YES! my mum used to add fried ginger to fried fish. They are awesome.

    Ya, me too!

    She is! You will love her if you are her friend.

    Yes ginger is very fiberous but the young ginger is not so much.

    Mum's recipes always the best!

    Yes, when we crave for something, we will have to settle for the 2nd best if the best is not available. I don't blame you. Yes ginger really makes a lot of dishes more tasty.

  32. @cloudia
    Thank you cloudia.

    @The Experimental Cook
    Yes you should. Then come back to tell me you are not crazy about ginger. hehe

    You are welcome Jes. Keep the sauce handy in your fridge. During lazy time, just use some and fry up some ginger rice and you have a healthy meal.

    I am sorry that every has colds. I believe it is the bad weather everywhere. Here too in Malaysia, many people are having bad flu and cough. Timely to try some ginger then.

    Yes, ginger fried rice is a common dish to have during confinement, I eat lots of during mine.

    Like you have little darlings in your home, I have old darlings in mine. hehe

  33. @Jessie
    Thanks for your concern for my mum. No the post you read about my mum helping in confinement was when she went to help out my god sister. This time is to help a friend's daughter. I know, I was very reluctant to let her go on both occasion but then, I know this will give her joy and I trust she will take good care of herself and I have make known my god sister as well as her friend's daughter that they will make sure she has enough of rest. I know it is very exhausting to take care of a baby and I was so lucky to have my mum took care of my son Nick from the day he was born. That is the reason why the bond between him and grandma is than the bond with me.

    Yes, especially when one grows older like you and me… hahaha

    @Small kucing
    Now really my dear if you take them in moderate quantity. The young ginger will be a better choice if not on confinement.

    She is awesome. I just love the fragrance of ginger.

    Hehe, I will let you have that aggression my dear, enjoy using your motor and pestle.

    You are welcome. Thanks for dropping by and see you around.

  34. @Hooi Soon
    I will definitely tell my mum what you said. That sure will make her very happy too.

    Hahaha, you bet, old lady are very long winded and got lots of story to tell. Glad you enjoy my stories.

    Haha, I am familiar with that saying. Yes, I am very blessed.

  35. where to find such a friend like your mum?? she's really wonderful at heart!

    1. Sorry missed your comment. Yes my mum is a wonderful friend

  36. what a wonderful and heart-warming story! Your blog never fails to put a smile on my face!


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