1979. There’s 11 acres of untouched wilderness on a river in Washington State. My Dad boards a plane in Seattle, flies over for the day, walks the land, purchases the land and then flies back to Seattle, just in time to collapse in bed and dream about the wilderness he just bought, that soon will be called home.
1984. I’m born into a one room log cabin. My mom cooks on a small wood stove and my parents live without running water or electricity. For them, the cabin is perfect, because for the couple years prior, they had been living in tents.
The years go on and my parents develop the land. A big garden comes along and so does an orchard of fruit trees. A path leading to the river is formed and a trail in the woods is cleared. When I’m 3, we move into a big log home, that my parents built with their own hands. Electricity happens. Running water becomes the latest luxury, along with things like drywall and rooms with real doors.
Many years later, my Dad is still one of the most skilled builders I know and he still loves the simple life. He’s the last person I know who doesn’t own a TV or a cell phone. He spends his days puttering around his place and he loves a good meal because good food is his love language. When he has us over, we always show up to something that was specially prepared for us and when we have him over for a meal, he always calls a few days later to reminisce about our time together.
This Swimming Rama recipe is what we served for his special Birthday dinner. The sauce is rich and flavorful, which pairs perfectly with a large bed of steamed spinach or a bowl of sticky rice. He loved it and I hope you will too.
Full recipe is at the bottom of this post.
Dad’s Swimming Rama
- 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
- 16oz can sweetened coconut milk
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 bag of baby spinach
- 2 lbs of thin sliced round steak or chicken breast
- 2 tbsp powdered ginger
- 1 finely diced red bell pepper
- 4 finely diced green onions
- 3 cloves chopped garlic
- 3 tbsp cilantro
- 3 tbsp sesame or coconut oil
- salt and pepper
- Heat sesame oil in Wok or sauce pan over medium/high heat.
- Cook onions for 2 minutes or until slightly browned.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Reduce heat to medium, add brown sugar, soy sauce, sriracha and peanut butter.
- Stir until slightly bubbling.
- Whisk in coconut milk and cilantro until smooth, then reduce to medium-low for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.
- Don’t stir lime in until meat is mixed in or it will become bitter. You can let the sauce cool or keep warm until meat is done cooking.
- Slice beef or chicken into thin slices, pound with meat mallet and then cut into strips.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in wok or sauce pan on medium-high heat. Stir fry the meat in 3 batches, so it cooks evenly.
- About halfway through cooking, sprinkle lightly with ginger powder, salt and pepper and add garlic.
- After third batch of meat is cooked, place meat into warm peanut sauce and add juice of 1 lime, right before serving over steamed spinach.
Garnish with cilantro, red bell pepper and green onion.