“In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.”
– Julia Child
Before returning to Singapore, I created a long list of dishes that I really wanted to try create during my break back in Singapore and one of the dishes on it was ratatouille. Admittedly the first time I heard about ratatouille was from the Disney movie of the same name. At that point in time, I didn’t have an interest in cooking but I found the storyline to be extremely adorable and so when I began cooking, ratatouille was always on my i-want-to-cook-it-at-least-once-in-my-lifetime kind of a dish. I was so excited to recreate the dish that I saw in the big screen that I didn’t even realize how difficult recreating the dish was.
Here is the recipe I tried to follow:
Or you can also find it through this link…
Okay now here comes my thoughts…
First, cooking western dishes in asian countries can prove to be a tall task sometimes. For example, I couldn’t find squash or yellow zucchini from the local market nor the stores near it. In the end, I gave up creating the traditional ratatouille and ended up doing a alternative version
Substituting tomatoes with carrots and pumpkin for squash and adding in mushrooms for an extra flavour, I would say that the basis of a traditional ratatouille was pretty much altered by me.
Another huge problem I encountered was the fact that I did not have a Madeline. Cutting the vegetables to try to have them the same size was close to a real life nightmare. Personally I found the zucchini and eggplant the easiest to cut. The mushrooms overly soft texture and the overly hard texture of the carrots made it really taxing. Thankfully, I managed to press on and complete cutting (with the assistance of my mom)
The end result was quite disappointing to me. Whilst the sauce indeed had a very unique taste to it, rich and flavourful. However, I thought the vegetables on whole were a little unappetizing.
For all the work that this dish required, I had high hopes. Thankfully, my family seemed to enjoy the dish much more. They loved the blend of the sauce coupled with the vegetables which was very heartening.
I must say, I think the most crucial element to nailing this dish is the sauce. The need for a sauce to glaze the baking pan and also some more sauce used in serving. If you want a slight tinge of acidity, you could add about a tablespoon of lemon juice and just some fine grated lemon zest for that extra yum.
Whilst I might not have loved this dish, I must give a thumbs up to the low calorie count this dish generates. Traditionally just plain veg (I added shrimp since my carnivorous family would have been in agony without any protein) and even with an addition of meat, this dish still does not contain much sugar or excessive amounts of oil (unlike most) which makes it a go to for my calorie counting friends out there.
For those curious, I simply deveined and ‘butterflied’ my shrimp before taking some of the sauce from the ratatouille itself and used it as the marination before I stir fried my shrimp and served it.
This was the end result of my Ratatouille…
Taste: 3/5 (I really wasn’t particularly impressed by this dish but my parents seemed to like it)
Difficulty: If you want a traditional ratatouille, I would say maybe it would 1.5 frying pans worth of difficulty? (out of three I mean) But if you are determined to recreate the disney’s version with the plating and everything, the difficulty level is upped to about 2 frying pans (because really slicing without a slicer is a nightmare. Especially for not really fully skilled or trained cooks like myself.)