Here In My Home - Malaysian Artistes For Unity

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Making A Treasury

No lah where got money to vault gold that seems de rigeur nowadays for many people. Pity the wife who I think I last bought something two years ago. What I want to write now is more to a vanishing treasury, Malay heritage cooking as I am inspired by my recently bought the Malay Heritage Cooking cookbook below that is published as part of Singapore Heritage Cookbooks series.

As can be expected, it has a Johor or Riau slant on the style of cooking but then with my Indonesian heritage, it does provide a treasure chest of recipes that I may not be able to salvage from my own family. Some rare ones are tahu goreng, nasi jagung, serunding daging(not the typical one you may think of, more like dried dendeng bersambal) in addition to more regular fare that I believe however many will not know how to cook actually. I shudder to think of the many family recipes that will be lost as the matriachs of cooking in my own family disappears when God calls them home.

Other heritage cookbooks that I have bought for the family I will list here with some dishes that should be highlighted if any. Following the southern flavours, we also have the book, Malay Occassions above that features Johor Arabic and Negeri Sembilan flavours.

From the east coast, we have Nik's Kitchen that features Kelantanese dishes whose recipes was also served during state functions. From Terengganu, we have Resepi Bonda in Malay that features an astonishing 88 recipes and from Pahang Nostalgia Bonda that unfortunately is falling apart due to possible poor printing quality.

A book close to my heart is A Taste of Batu Gajah as it features not only Malay dishes from Perak but dishes from my Mandhailing clan. Where else can you find a recipe for Gulai Daun Ubi Tumbuk eh? And as a northener, another recipe book that I love is Favourite Dishes From The Tunku's Kitchen. Our first Prime Minister does eat well and because of that, his heritage in recipes are now well preserved for the common man as the recipes are actually traditional common kitchen dishes that we may have forgotten in this age of nasi bungkus and Padang restaurants.

For a better than average compedium of traditional Malay recipes, Racik Tradisi a bi-lingual cookbook is a good bet while Hidangan Sesuci Lebaran and another bi-lingual Hidangan Raya Istimewa preserves recipes of traditional Malay Feast Dishes.

Have you actually noticed that most of the cookbooks are either bi-lingual or in English and that many are actually self-published or by boutique publishers. Not being an elitist but the average malay cookbooks feature humdrum day to day recipes or so called nouvelle malay dishes that gives a twist to daily recipes that can be extracted from any cooking magazine, newspaper and so on. Only these people has taken the extra effort to preserve their family treasures, and since my family do not have the liberty to do that ourselves, it is only right that we keep these books as our own as some are also short runs that may not be available in the future. So if anymore are in the pipeline, I can't hardly wait.

I only shudder when we pass how they will be divided betweem my two daughters, but I guess the best way is to make them learn how to cook the dishes themselves eh! By the way, I have not purchased local pricey coffee table cook books like the Malaysian Prime Ministers favourite recipe cookbook or Royal Pahang's etc as I fear the price will actually make them just that and not one that will grace my kitchen.

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