Wednesday April 30, 2008
Proud day for Malay regiment
WINDSOR (England): In a rare brush with British royalty, the Royal Malay Regiment had the honour of performing ceremonial duties at Windsor Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth II’s official residences, yesterday.
Looking smart in their white and gold songket samping ceremonial dress, the 21-member contingent was in stark contrast to the 170 Pioneer Regiment foot guards whom they replaced during the traditional “changing-of-the-guards” ceremony.
Although the ceremony lasted only about 30 minutes, it was recognition of the regiment’s capability in guarding Queen Elizabeth II’s 900-year-old castle, about 50km from London.
Royal duty: The Royal Malay Regiment taking part in the changing-of-the-guards ceremony at Windsor Castle on Tuesday.
Kapten Mejar Mohamed Qadri Abu Bakar said he was proud and honoured to be leading the first Malay regiment to assume royal duties in Britain.
Kapt Mohamed Qadri, who was involved in ceremonial duties at Istana Negara, Parliament House and Mindef, said he found it meaningful to perform similar duties in Britain.
Band major Warrant Officer Mohamed Nor Azizan Yahya said his 28-member brass band was in high spirits as they looked forward to promoting the country through playing Malaysian tunes.
Earlier, the brass band led the contingent as they marched from the Victoria Barracks to the castle. Along the route, the band played popular Malaysian tunes such as Jalur Gemilang, Joget Jambu Merah, Di-bawah Satu Bendera, Gagah Setia and Puteri Remaja.
Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Well the selection last Sunday included premium fish like kurau, jenahak merah and jenahak putih (red and white snapper) and also common fish like kembong(indian mackerel) and kerisi (toothed jobfish). And he not only sells caged reared sea prawn, but also sea caught white prawns that is as fresh as those I ate at the prawn noodle stalls at the seaside towns I have visited. But look at how the common fish like kembong and kerisi is displayed, you are sure you are getting good fish as these are carefully lined up individually on his stall table, dry as their freshness do not need any ice to improve their appearance or mask anything untowards. And though his prices may sell a premium of about ten percent above the others, but it is a small price to pay if you consider that my family only needs to buy our fish only once a week and this can be kept fresh for up to a forthnight. Ten percent to pay for my marketing fuel cost is a small price to pay if you really think about it. And that is a for a week's supply of prime fish for less than a hundred ringgit. And another value added service he provides is that he will call you up on your market day to ask what fish you would like to reserve based on what is available especially if he is running out of fish, as he does not want you to be dissapointed to find only a small selection is left as despite the premium he charges, he still gets many customers who can appreciate his wares.
The freshness and primeness of Mr Lee's fishes becomes more apparent when you consider your purchase of threadfin or kurau fish, a restaurant class fish not normally found in fresh markets, and only then usually rock solid specimens from our neighbours instead of locally netted natives. And these are large specimens that can be sliced up into prime pieces of steak mind you. Being sold at a ridiculous cheap price of forty ringgit a kilo, we bought two steak slices weighing a healthy 600 grams at only twenty four ringgit. For comparison, a plate of a single kurau steak served in a restaurant can easily cost you forty ringgit. That night after a simple rub with herbed butter in order to retain their fresh sweetnes, it was oven roasted before being served for dinner. As you can see, the result is quite restaurant quality eh. And the proof of their freshness is that the meat is not crumbly and is still flaky. What price should I charge for this do you think? Well that sums up what Mr Lee sells, fresh fish for a reasonable price. And for those wondering, he is still unmarried at forty and would make a great catch himself.
Friday, 25 April 2008
Now my comments on the regular egg tarts are that they are just that, regular whereby you can find comparable stuff at any decent bakery or even night market if you are lucky or look hard enough. The taste was nothing fantastic and to me does not deserve the fantastic review some people have given to the tart. And this from me, someone who needs to find only halal establishment tarts to compare. So I am sure there are non-halal establishments' offering that can better theirs, especially if lard has a major role in the taste since John King may be handicapped here as they are unable to use this ingredient in order to become a halal item for the Malaysian public.
As for the egg white tarts, this come off better not only for its novelty but also for its light taste and texture, very smooth. This is something that I can eat many pieces of in one sitting without any guilt, as it is just like eating tau fu fa tarts if ever there was such a thing. A winner in its own right and should be something to be tried by everybody at least once just to appreciate its difference. Trust me on this.
However the grand price winner is definitely the durian flavoured egg tart that needs to be savoured. Sadly the wife and myself only managed a small nibble as the elder one polished off the rest. Now if such a nit picky eater, even with durian, cannot stop herself from finishing off two egg tarts at one sitting, then you must know the tart must be very good especially since she abhors egg tarts in general and do not really like to eat durian unless they are very sweet and creamy. The reason for this is because the durian taste is perfect where you can get the pleasure of eating sweet durian without any jelak taste. So this is a real durian custard suitable for durian eating beginners. Anyway now I know which egg tarts to buy the next time I am around the location.
Sadly I cannot say the same about the siew pau. I thought their siew pau would end my search for good halal siew paus ever since my regular bakery stop carrying such an item. As you can see even though the pastry was quite good and not so crumbly, the taste was however not there. Then you have a dry tasteless filling of unidentifiable meat even though it is supposed to be chicken, then you know it is a dissapointment. Luckily this was a freebie because I am sure I will not pay the price that is already more expensive than elsewhere. Definitely a non-purchase item the next time I am there. Thus John King is definitely a hit and miss affair for me. I will definitely go for the the specialty egg tarts but the regular items will be given a miss instead. And with it I can forget about joining the queue of supposedly trendy people for overated donuts, I can get better pastries here.
Friday April 25, 2008
Samak ‘cooks up a storm’ during lightning visit
By MERGAWATI ZULFAKAR
KUALA LUMPUR: It was barely a 24-hour visit but Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej managed “to cook up a storm” during his short trip. In between the official welcoming ceremony at Parliament and his meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Putrajaya, Samak took time off to visit the wet market in Jalan Imbi here early yesterday. The market trip was a special request from him, and for good reason. Malaysian officials were at first puzzled by his request, but came away from the visit impressed.
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej looking at bananas at the Imbi market in Kuala Lumpur yesterday morning. With him is Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung (right) and Bukit Bintang MCA division chairman Datuk Dr Lee Chong Meng (second from right). Samak spent an hour touring the wet market despite his busy schedule. His 24-hour visit is his first official trip to Malaysia since becoming Prime Minister.
“During our meeting, he said he wanted to compare the prices of food here and back home. He told us the prices in the two countries were comparable,” said a senior Malaysian official. “He asked how much does the average Malaysian earn. Samak then told us that from his calculation, Thais spend at least 25% of their income on food while Malaysians spend some 12%. “That is down to earth economics. He portrays himself as a simple person and may look rugged but he is not, judging from his thinking,” the official said.
After the Putrajaya bilateral meeting, Samak took on another mission. He prepared mixed seafood with basil at a dinner hosted by the Thai embassy at a Thai restaurant before departing for home. It hardly took the Thai leader more than 10 minutes to prepare the mixture of prawn, squid and fish for 40 dinner guests. After all, Samak is a well-known chef and has a cooking show on television.
Malaysian officials said that since becoming the prime minister early this year, Kuala Lumpur had been high on his list of places to visit. However due to the country’s 12th general election, his trip was postponed. “He may be in power for a few months but he is saying all the right things where bilateral matters are concerned,” noted a Malaysian diplomat. It is no secret that Bangkok, during former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s time, had made accusations linking Malaysia to troubles in southern Thailand. Relations improved under the military-installed prime minister Surayud Chulanont.“We hope Samak will continue the good feelings we have had with Surayud. He is still new and it is still too early to judge him,” said an official.
Well we ordered tauhu bakar as appetisers but this came actually later than the main meals so it was eaten as an after meal salad instead. I had the nasi dagang and this was prepared Kelantanese style with a sweetish gulai ikan tongkol and piquant achar and with a generous amount of keropok. This was served with really nice nasi dagang, not so spiced as it is usually with the more common Terengganu style in the Klang Valley. Although the piece of ikan tongkol (albacore tuna) was served on the side, the gravy in the bowl actually contained more broken pieces and even bits of fried fish roe sacs, yummy!, so they are really generous with the gravy. Meanwhile the wife ordered the meehoon (rice vermicelli) tomyam in soup and although the tomyam flavour tasted like it came out of a bottle, it may actually be home bottled in bulk as overall the soup stilll tasted excellent. My informed me that this may be due to the fact that the cook took great care to cook the generous condiments in the tomyam paste as individual portions instead out of a pot so the flavour does come out. Deceptively light looking, it actually sat heavy in the stomach as was quite a surprisingly satisfying dish. As for the tauhu bakar, it was another surprise as when it came, we found it was actually pecal but without the normal blanched tapioca leaves yet it was alright with me as I don’t actually like blanched tapioca leaves. So instead of the normal prawn paste based rojak sauce usually associated with tauhu bakar, they used pecal sauce as a topping that was very acceptable to me especially when I crushed the leftover keropok into it. Now if only they can get the nomenclature right I think this would appeal to more light eaters as the photo in the menu was not that descriptive.
Lastly for my dessert drink the cendol with kidney beans. This was another dish where the photo in the menu does not do it justice as you actually get a mountain of shaved ice instead of the sorry portion depicted. And instead of the customary gula melaka, another surprise sprang up where you actually bite into a treacle of caramelised brown sugar in coconut that brought forth memories of eating nyonya style caramel rock candies. I don’t know what other people think of this but I like this cendol served with difference, at the same time nostalgic but with a cutting edge. If anybody knows where else actually serves cendol this way, do drop me a line. As to whether I would eat there again, the answer is yes as I want to try the other dishes but then I will not make an effort to do this.
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Anyway back to the topic at hand, as I have gained access to such military shows I may have become bored with the miltary hardware exhibits being displayed. There is only a small portion of new things to see, especially since in Malaysia at least we have LIMA and DSA rotating their shows each year. Even for me that have not had the luck yet to visit LIMA the displays are getting a bit stale. Maybe they need to jazz things up a bit by having prettier showgirsl like what they have in PC fairs and autoshows to make more interesting for me. As it is, this is the only showgirl worth a shot, even for my cari forum kakis. But like me, not many people can go to LIMA while DSA is so accessible for people in general. So why restrict DSA attendance when people can easily access LIMA. I really don't see the differencelah! At least now since school and university students have access, let the makciks and pakciks who vote also get the chance to see where their tax monies are being spent on, or at least let the weapon dealers have the chance to justify purchase of their weapons to themlah. So people if you have the chance, go the the show and upgrade your knowledge by engaging the exhibitors in conversation. And if they are happy with your interest, you may be surprised with gifts like what I got here, just by engaging them in intelligent discourse.
Well we did not actually eat the pastries that night but had the curry puffs for breakfast the next day and the pies for pre-dinner appetisers. Well I must say the Homi curry puffs held up even after being blitzed in the nuclear box although it got a bit oily but the pastry remained crunchy to the bite. Well first things first, I need to correct the price first because although I mentioned in my earlier posting the curry puffs cost two ringgit each, that only applies if you buy two as they have a sliding price scale where you pay less per piece if you buy more. The proprietors must have learned quantity discounting from their suppliers eh? That means if you buy ten pieces you actually pay a ringgit sixty per piece, almost a ringgit discount from the price you pay if you are only buying a piece. That is the closest you will get to the price it is being sold at the original outlet methinks. So spread the joy and group up to buy in bulk each time. I am sure you cannot wait to take those little parcels out of their display case.
Anyway for the mini pies, it was eaten the next evening without being warmed up in the microwave as I told the wife I did not want the skin to harden further. It was a good choice to make as this time the kids polished off the chicken mushroom version while they were so-so with the beef mushroom version, leaving me to finish off the Aussie meat pie. Actually I could not differentiate the beef mushroom and meat pie in taste except the meat pie had some peas in them. But kids being kids, when they saw the peas they left the pie well alone. Sorry don't ask me which is which from the photos because frankly I have forgotten. Oh yeah we also tried their chocolate caramel cake which was really heavenly as it had a real caramel centre enclosed in chocolate covered crushed biscuits and walnuts base. Sorry no pictures as the slice got polished off in quick time. Anyway I saw a lemon icing cake that will be an item I will definitely try the next time I am there. So if only they would open up more outlets especially in KLCC, that would make a convenient light lunch place for me to get both savoury and dessert pastries in one stop.
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
Here are the traditional recipes from Sabah. For those who do not know Malay, I have included the English version.
Hinava Ginapan (Jeruk Udang) - Kadazandusun - Penampang
1 Kati udang segar (saiz sederhana)
1 cawan jus limau nipis
4-5 chili merah dihiris
6 pulas bawang merah dipotong berbentuk gelang
2 camca besar garam
Cara Menyediakan :
Buangkan kulit dan kepala udang. Cuci dengan sempurna. Belah udang dari kepala ke ekor. Masukkan udang kedalam basin dan perap dengan garam selama 1 minit.Tuang jus limau nipis pada udang dan campurkan bahan-bahan yang lain.Biarkan selama 10 minit sebelum dihidang.
Nota : Semua bahan-bahan yang digunakan mestilah segar dan bersih.
The English translation :
1 Ib Fresh Prawn (medium size)
1 cup of lime juice
4-5 red chilies (sliced)
6 cloves red onion (finely sliced)
2 tsp salt
Method : Peel off the skin and prawn's head. Wash and clean it. Cut each prawn from head to tail. Place it inside a basin and marinate it with salt for a minute. Pour lime juice and add in the other ingredients. Leave for 10 minutes before serving. Note : All ingredient used must be fresh and clean
Hinava Ginapan is a traditional Sabahan food originated from the Kadazan's and Dusuns's.It is also mainly fish,but they also created a prawn version of the Hinava.This delicious food has been the favourite of many kadazanDusun's alike.
Kima - Bajau - Semporna
1 kg Kima
4 bawang merah
5 ulas bawang putih
2 suduteh serbuk kunyit
3 lada merah besar
3 inci halia
4 sudu besar minyak masak
Garam secukup rasa
Cara menyediakan :
Basuh dan bersihkan Kima dan celur dengan air panas untuk membuang bau. Potong kepada saiz yang dikehendaki. Panaskan minyak dalam kuali dan goreng bahan-bahan yang ditumbuk sehingga wangi. Campurkan Kima dengan perasa. Hidangkan ketika masih panas.
The English Translation
1kg giant clam meat
5 cloves garlic (pounded)
2 tsp turmeric powder (pounded)
3 big red chilies (pounded)
3 inches ginger (pounded)
4 tbsp cooking oil
400ml watersalt to taste
Method : Wash and clean clam meat and blanch in hot water to remove the smell. Cut into desired sizes. Heat oil in a wok and fry pounded ingredients until aromatic. Mix in the clam meat and seasonings. Serve hot.
Daeng Semur (Ikan Tenggiri Masak Santan) - Bajau - Petagas
1 kg Ikan Tenggiri
1 cawan kelapa parut (digoreng sehingga ke kuningan dan ditumbuk halus)
1 cawan santan (diperah dari 1/2 kelapa parut)
5 ulas bawang putih
2 bawang merah
2 batang serai
2 sudu besar serbuk jintan hitam
2 sudu besar serbuk jintan putih
2 inci kayu manis
1 kuntum cengkih
1 kuntum bunga lawang
1 sudu besar gula
3 sudu besar air asam jawa
3 cili merah (dihiris)
2 sudu kecil garam
3 sudu kecil minyak masak
Cara Membuatnya :
Panaskan minyak dalam kuali dan goreng bahan-bahan yang dipotong hingga wangi. Masukkan jintan hitam, jintan putih, bunga lawang, cengkih dan kayu manis. Goreng diatas api sederhana selama beberapa minit sebelum mencampur santan, gula, garam dan air asam jawa. Biarkan mendidih selama 2 minit. Campurkan ikan, kelapa parut yang digoreng, cili dan bahan perasa. Masak sehingga kering. Kemudian keluarkan dan hias dengan bawang goreng.
The English version
Daeng Semur (Boiled Mackerel In Coconut Milk)
1 kg mackerel
1 cup grated coconut (fried dry until golden brown and finely pounded)
1 cup coconut milk (extracted from 1/2 grated coconut)
5 cloves gralic (finely sliced)
2 shallots (finely sliced)
10g galangal (finely sliced)
2 stalks lemon grass (finely sliced)
2 tbsp fennel powder
2 tbsp cumin powder
2 inches cinnamon stick
1 pc clove
1 pc star anise
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp tamarind juice
3 red chilies (sliced)
2 tsp salt
3 tsp cooking oil
Heat oil in a wok and fry sliced ingredients till fragant. Add in fennel, cumin, star anise, clove and cinnamon. Fry over a slow fire for a few minutes before adding in the coconut milk, sugar, salt and tamarind juice. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add in the prepared fish with the fried coconut, chilies and seasonings. Continue to cook till quite dry. When ready, dish out into a bowl, garnish with fried shallots and serve.
Piaren Ah Manuk(Ayam Masak Kelapa Parut) - Iranun - Kota Belud
1.5kg Ayam (dipotong kepada 8 ketul)
3 cawan Santan (dipecah dari 1 biji kelapa parut)
10 sudu besar kelapa parut (ditumbuk)
8 cili putih (dibuang biji dan dipotong)
2 batang daun bawang (dipotong kepada 1 inci)
3 batang Serai (dititik)
1 bawang besar
6 sudu besar minyak masak
Garam dan bahan perasa
Bahan-bahan yang ditumbuk
6 biji bawang merah
3 ulas bawang putih
2 inci kenyit hidup
10 biji cili merah
Cara Menyediakan :
Panaskan minyak didalam belanja dan goreng bahan-bahan yang ditumbuk dan bawang sehingga kekuningan. Masukkan ayam, serai dan kelapa parut yang ditumbuk. Gaulkan dengan sempurna. Kecilkan api dan campurkan santan, garam dan bahan perasa. Masak sehingga pekat. Masukkan daun bawang dan cili putih. Masak sehingga pekat. Masukkan daun bawang dan cili putih. Gaulkan dan biarkan mendidih selama 2 hingga 3 minit. Kemudian bolehlah dihidangkan.
The English version
Piaren Ah Manuk(Chicken In Grated Coconut))
1.5kg chicken (cut into 8 pieces)
3 cups coconut milk (extracted from 1 grated coconut)
10 tbsp grated coconut (pounded)
8 white chilies (seeded and halved lengthwise)
2 stalks local onions leaves (cut into 1 inch pieces)
3 stalks lemon grass (bruised)
1 big onion
6 tbsp cooking oil
salt and seasonings to taste
Pounded ingredients :
6 pcs shallots
3 cloves garlic
2 inch fresh turmeric
10 pcs red chillies
Heat oil in a pot and fry the pounded ingredients and onion until golden brown. Add the chicken, lemon grass and pounded grated coconut. Stir thoroughly. Lower the heat and stir in the coconut milk, salt and seasoning. Cook until the gravy almost thickens. Add the local onion leaves and white chilliest Stir and simmer for two to three minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
Otak-Otak Udang - Orang Sungei-Kinabatangan
400g Udang air tawar (dibuka kulit dan dicincang halus)
1 cawan kelapa parut
5 cili merah (dipotong)
1 sudu besar lada putih
2 batang daun bawang (dipotong)
2 batang daun saderi (dipotong)
1 cawan minyak masak
garam secukup rasa
Cara Menyediakan :
Giling udang dengan kelapa parut, bawang merah, bawang putih dan halia. Campurkan garam, lada putih dan bahan perasa. Gaulkan dengan senduk kayu. Ambil satu sudu besar campuran ini dan jadikan bebola. Goreng sehingga garing dan kekuningan.
The English version
Otak-Otak Udang(Crispy Minced Prawns with Herbs)
400g fresh water prawns (shelly and finely minced)
1 cup grated coconut
5 red chilies (chopped)
1 tbsp white pepper
2 stalks spring onions (chopped)
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1 cup cooking oil
salt to taste
Pinaranas Sada' Bakalang (Sup Ikan Bakar) - Lotud-Tuaran
400g ikan bakar (dipotong mengikut suka)
100g buah bambangan muda (dihiris)
1 liter air
Garam secukup rasa
Cara Menyediakan :
Panaskan air sehingga mendidih. Masukkan buah bambangan dan ikan bakar. Biarkan mendidih selama 15 minit . Campurkan perasa dan hidangkan ketika masih panas.
Semua resipi dikatakan dipetik dari Traditional Cuisines of Sabah, Malaysia. A Culinary Heritage. BAKISA (Badan Amal & Kebajikan Isteri Wakil-wakil Rakyat Sabah), Kota Kinabalu, 1999.
Meanwhile these recipes are only available in English
Linombur Bubuk Om Tulod-Ulod (Dried Shrimps With Carambola) - Lotud-Tuaran
1 cup dried shrimps (washed and drained well)
4 pcs carambola (thinly sliced)
3 tbsp lime juice
200g cucumber (sliced)
salt to taste
In a bowl, mix dried shrimps, carambola and salt. Using a wooden spoon, pound the mixture lightly. Add in lime juice and toss well. Garnish with sliced cucumber and serve.
Sup Manuk Om Hiing Kadazandusun - Penampang
1.5 Ib chicken
1/4 pine rice wine
42 inch sliced ginger
1.5 pine water
Prepare chicken and cut into bite sizes.
In a pot, put to bolt the water, ginger and seasonings.
When ready add in the chicken and cook for 10 minutes.
Put 1/4 pint rice wine (hiing) and cook for another 5 mniutes.Remove from heat and serve.