Weekend of no intentions

Nor and I always find chances to spend as much time as we can. Call it any day, workday or even weekends…anything is possible for us. So last weekend was not to honor Grandma Miah…it was to honor my promise to Mama Maria, to cook for her Assam Pedas Kepala Ikan (Fish head in spicy and sour soup).

Ingredients:

Fish head -mackerel is good

or

Fish steaks

Salt to taste

A bunch of sweet basil leaves

Half a fistful of tamarind, add water and squeeze the tamarind husks to make approx 1/2 bowl of juice

5-6 tbsp of cooking oil

1 lemongrass – trimmed close to the bulb and ‘half battered’, LOL

To blend

1 1/2 large red onions

3 garlics

1″ ginger

2″ galangal

2 fist fulls of dried chillies

1″ fresh turmeric

1″ shrimp paste

Directions

Heat a deep pot and add in the oil.

Put in the ‘half battered’ lemongrass, wait until fragrant

Add in blended ingredients and cook until it is crispy (means, water has totally evaporated and turns pasty)

Add in tamarind juice and stir. Add in water little by little. DO NOT add too much water as you would want to keep the thick consistency

Add in salt to taste, let the soup boil

Add in the fish head/steak, DO NOT stir….and close the pot. Put heat in low-medium for about 20 minutes

Let the steam cook the uncovered part of the fish

Add in sweet basil leaves, close the pot again and turn off the heat.

Hint: Assam pedas is best devoured the day after which means, no food shall go to waste!

Assam pedas ikan with lady fingers (okra) 

Verdict:

This was one of the first recipes that I learned from my Mak when I was 14. Assam pedas is my dad’s favorite dish and I used to cook it at least twice a week.

Having living here for almost 10 years. Truthfully, I have only cooked this dish TWICE. I am glad that I still have the magic of cooking and yesterday’s cooking tasted just like before….unmarred!

I should say…..I am very, very proud of myself, for still feeling the passion and letting others taste it.

Elly with her assam pedas. 

xoxox…Elly

Nor’s verdict: 

I did enjoy the spicyness and sourness of the ‘kuah’ (gravy). It was a great compliment to the king mackerel head that we had used. I think salted egg would be a good compliment as well although my mom and Elly had it with salted fish.  It is an awesome dish and once again it brought me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. She, too, had cooked this.

We also served calamansi (limau kasturi) juice. Since we can’t get fresh calamansi here, we managed to find some frozen calamansi juice. Sedap!

 

~Nor

Nor + Elly

Black Sweetness

I watched Elly make the simplest dessert ever! Simple in Malay terms means boil and forget it!  This dessert is not foreign to me in any way – I’ve seen my mom make it (seeing is not the same as observing and taking notes) and watched both of my parents enjoying it as it transports them to a comfort moment in their lives, perhaps a moment in their childhood.

For those who know me, I am not too excited about Malay desserts because mainly, I’m not a big fan of the coconut. Luckily these days,  I am open to coconut milk and slowly enjoying the sweet & richness of it.

The dessert I’m referring to is bubur pulut hitam (black glutinous rice porridge), a black sweetness that will bring to you to many levels of culinary desserts. It is rich yet light.  Gentle yet it bites. You’ll see…

Bubur Pulut Hitam

Ingredients: 

1 cup of black rice or black glutinous rice

6 tablespoon of granulated sugar.

1 small can of coconut milk

1 pandan leaf (knotted) – screwpine leaf (optional)

lots of water

Method

Rinse the rice until the water comes out clear, even though it will be purple or black. Soak the rice for about 10 mins but I had soaked it overnight. I added water to cover the rice and then a bit more, perhaps another couple of inches of water. Boil the rice. Add more water if needed. Add sugar and pandan leaf, stir and let it cook and thickened. It should be thick like a stew.

Warm up the coconut milk and add a tiny bit of salt to desired taste. Top the bubur with the coconut upon serving. Serve warm.

Yang hitam manis… (Black sweetness)

~Nor

Nor + Elly

Nor’s Verdict

As I stated above, this is very simple nonetheless it does take a while for it cook. I had added quite a bit of water during the cooking process that I did dilute the sweetness of it. Which I prefer. I like the light sweetness of the bubur. I did mention it is light. The calories count on the other hand, not so much.

Do try it. You may just surprise yourself and like it. Like I did.

Miah

A tribute to my grandmother.

My grandmother, Jamiah,  (she was known as Miah) was a renaissance woman. She baked, sewed, cooked and also ballroom danced. I remember her as a vibrant, who-took-no-crap-kind-of-woman and yet gentle, loving who ran a well-known nasi lemak restaurant in a little town of Kuala Pilah of Negeri Sembilan in Malaysia. She cooked at home for the family and cooked some more for the restaurant. She was always cooking.

This first post is a tribute to my grandmother, a Minangkabau, hence the first two dishes that we tried are Minang dishes.

Dendeng Balado Telur (Spicy Eggs) 

Ingredients: 

5 eggs

Cooking oil

Salt & pepper to taste

1 large onion (we used red)

the following items to blend together: 

10 dried chilies (cut and soak in hot                                                              water)                                                                                                                                                            Dendeng Balado Telur

2 tomatoes

Lime (optional)

Method

Boil the eggs and peel off the shell.  Score the eggs so it’ll prevent from oil splatter. Heat some oil. Once heated, add the eggs in the pan. Fry it until the eggs are textured and “crispy”. Remove the eggs and set aside. Blend the onion, tomatoes & chilies together. Add more oil and add the blended mix of tomatoes, chilies and onion. Saute until cooked through and the mixture has thickened a bit. Add the fried hard boiled eggs into the mixture. Mix well and cook until it has thickened some more. Plate and serve.

Ikan Tauco Padang (Fish in salted soy bean sauce) 

Ingredients:

1 pompeo fish or tuna

tumeric powder

1 small can of coconut milk

1 lb long beans

1 bottle tauco

tamarind

Salt                                                                                                                                                                   Ikan Tauco Padang

Cooking oil

the following to blend together

10 green chili

3 Indian bay leaves (may substitute with curry leaves or kaffir lime leaves)

6 small shallots

3 cloves of garlic

1 inch fresh ginger

1 inch galangal

Method

Clean and get rid of the inerts of the fish. Once cleaned, rub with tumeric and salt. Heat up cooking oil. Fry the fish until brown and crispy. We cheated a bit. We had the supermarket to fry the fish for us. It was a service that they provided for their patrons. Remove from pan and set aside. Saute the blended mixture until aromatic. Add the tauco and long beans. Once the long beans are cooked, add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add back the fish and tamarind. Mix well. Remove, plate and serve.

We served both dishes with hot steamed rice and lychee & rambutan drink.

Lychee & Rambutan drink

1 can of lychee + 1 can of rambutan. Add water according to how sweet you desire. Serve chilled.

I’ve been very intimidated to cook Malay dishes as I thought it was a tedious process with hard-to-find ingredients. However, after this first try I am confident that I am able to do this without the help of my Singapore BFF.  I am very grateful that she was willing to ‘hold my hand’ through these dishes. Thank you, Elly!

With an open heart and empty stomach, silakan makan!

~Nor

Nor + Elly

The Verdict:

Nor’s Verdict:

I made the dendeng balodo telur. The process was fairly easy but it took a while for the sauce to thicken. Altough I like spicy foods, my tongue can’t stand the fire. So, this dish is spicy. If you prefer it less spicy, you may want to decrease the chili or perhaps increase the tomatoes. I do like the addition of the tomatoes which gave it a more ’rounded’ flavor to what I am used to without any tomatoes. The tomatoes also gave a sweet-sour background to the dish.

As for the ikan tauco, it is also quite spicy to my taste, however, the sauce was very well-balanced and complimented the fish. I’m sure it will go well with chicken.

Elly’s Verdict:

I made the Ikan Tauco Padang. Having been cooking malay dishes since I was ‘not even born’, cooking padang food is a little foreign to me. But my quick verdict would be this…

Different but sedap (deliciious!) and mampat (loaded)!!! It is loaded with antioxidants like the lengkuas, shallots, garlic, ginger, chillies and galangal. Again, I forgot that the green chillies here are kamikaze style…super hot. So it was a little too spicey for the weak non spicey eaters :)

The salty tauco and the galangal to me compliment each other very nicely. Add rice…nuff said!

Knowing the tastes of malay/indonesian food, I’d say that this dish was a success.