Browsing Category: Family and Friends

Why Is Your Kangkung Like That?

 

I have always loved kangkung (water convolvulus). Even as a kid who hated vegetables, kangkung was the only green veggie I would eat without protest. But I digress.

As you can see, my kangkung stems are split into two. I know, it is rather unusual for many. It was my late grandpa who taught me that by splitting the kangkung stems into halves, it will taste nicer. And he was RIGHT!

No, I didn’t forget as I cut and cooked kangkung on that very day, the same way he taught me many years ago. With just garlic and some salt. Yes, nine years on and I still miss him.

In loving memory of my grandpa who left us on 23/09/2006.

The “Accidental” Godma

Tonight, I had the honour to witness the end of a beautiful love story that spanned over 50 years that taught me what true love is. True love is not about earth shattering kisses, little surprises, endless love sonnets or romantic holidays. True love is not giving up on the one you love, especially in sickness and tough times.

Tonight, I had the honour to be reminded of what marriage is all about – “for better, for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part”.

Tonight, I wept for a man whose heart is utterly shattered as death claimed the love of his life. I wept for his children who were like my own siblings and loved their mom so dearly. I wept for his grandchildren as I know the pain of losing a grandparent.

Tonight, I am reminded how fortunate I am to have had the privilege to have known this vivacious, loving, generous and kind lady who is my “accidental” godma. She taught me something that I carry with me to this day. She taught me to remember my self-worth as a woman and not to let any man disrespect me.

Goodbye, Aunty Judy. I will forever remember your kindness towards our family and me. Thank you for your love and care. May you be well and happy wherever you are.

Sambal Queen Turun Padang

Am not really huge on Sports Days. But this year, I must say I was pretty impressed with Son #1’s school Sports Day. Why was I impressed?

When I arrived, there was a teacher on hand to usher me to my seat and gave me the Sports Day programme together with my Lucky Draw number. Yes! There was a Lucky Draw with pretty good prizes too. Once I was seated, another teacher handed me a bottled mineral water. (Brownie points!)

See my hot pink lucky number? Too bad the hot pink wasn’t “ONG” enough for me to win.

The march pass was well executed. The kids did a pretty good job, not haphazard like “kambing” (goat in Malay) marching everywhere. The interesting part of the march pass was how creative each of the houses represented themselves. One house had a whole bunch of them dressed up with a turtle shell ala Ninja Turtles. Another house carried Captain America shields and one even had Spiderman being carried on a make shift sedan chair. How cool is that?! Then, they even had a “lafaz ikrar” (Sportsman’s declaration) with all the flag bearer circling the podium ala Olympics. Nice touch to remind the sports(wo)men on the true spirit of sportsmanship.

Check out the Captain America shields!
The Ninja Turtles inspired shells. Cute!
Spidey in a sedan chair. I wonder what happened to his web swinging abilities.
Son #1 is somewhere in the midst of the ‘Pengawas” (Prefects) group.

There was even a lion dance that consisted of current students of the school who are trained by a former student. They may not be world class standard but they won many hearts today when they distributed sweets to all. My first time receiving sweets from a lion. Haha!

This was actually the grand finale with some auspicious wishes written on the scroll.
This is the first time I see lions giving away sweets.
I got some too! Thank you, Hot Pink Lion!

When the refreshments were served, I initially thought that it was meant for the VIPs but turns out that it was meant for all the guests. There was Nasi Lemak, curry puffs, donuts and fried bananas. The Nasi Lemak coconut rice was aromatic and tasty. The sambal was more like a gravy style and it was spicy and good! I sat by the field and watched the relay. Was a rather pleasant picnic-like atmosphere. 🙂 The hot sweet tea was a nice pairing with the spicy, savoury Nasi Lemak.

Table for VIPs.
Droolsome worthy Nasi Lemak.

I didn’t stay till the end as I had to rush off to the office. But I sure enjoyed this Sports Day. It was well organised, the teachers were hospitable and the students’ creative march pass is nothing I’ve seen before. Oh, the Nasi Lemak and lion dance made this a Sports Day I won’t forget for a long time. Kudos to the teachers and students of SMJK Katolik, Bentong!

*”turun padang” is an expression loosely translated as going down to the sports field

A Bowl Of Friendship & Lifetime Of Memories

Have you ever ate something and you suddenly feel as though you were transported to another place and time? This happened to me when I had this. (Please don’t drool on your keyboard!)

At the first taste, I was instantaneously transported back to my Primary School tuckshop (canteen as it was called back in the 70’s). The gravy tasted so much like the Curry Mee we loved in those days. Our canteen Curry Mee didn’t have all the beancurd sheets, taupok (beancurd puff) and long beans but just some noodles, maybe 2 fishballs and fishcake. But it was the curry gravy that got all of us hooked to it. Those of us who like it spicier would add in spoonfuls of watery chilli sauce that was available for us to ladle onto our noodles.

Our little spot of happiness during Primary School was in the form of 30sen Curry Mee and 10sen Nasi Lemak. Life was so much simpler than. We were just contented with these humble food and playing with our little friends during recess. And it is these little friends who have taught me the value and meaning of friendship.

Am glad that this bowl of Curry Mee made me think of them and our friendship that has endured many years, across many seas and countless dramas. 🙂

Cheers to friends of the past, present and future!

P/S: To my primary schoolmates, I wish you guys can try this. Seriously tastes like Canteen Auntie’s Curry Mee.

 

School Transfer 101

In light of our recent move out of state, I thought I’d share a bit on the school transfer procedure (Malaysia’s education system that is). It was surprisingly less painful than I thought.

  1. Get Form P.U. (A)275 from your kid’s school. (See a sample of this form here
  2. Fill up all the relevant information needed. And you will need photocopies of your marriage certificate and your child’s IC or birth certificate. (3 copies each)
  3. You will then need to submit the completed form and copies of your marriage certificate to the school. The school will then proceed to type 4 copies of the form. This process can take anywhere from one day to a week as it depends on the school. For my kids, we managed to get the completed forms in about 3 days.
  4. Once you have your documents ready, go to the Jabatan Pendidikan of the district of your kid’s new school. Here, the officer will verify your documents, assign the new school and approve your transfer. (On your transfer form, you need to provide 2 different options.) Our school transfer was approved in about 20 minutes.
  5. After the Jabatan Pendidikan approves your transfer, you will need to go to the new school to hand over the transfer form together with the marriage certificate. The school principal will review your kid’s academic performance and assign the class to your kids according to their latest exam results. If your school transfer coincides with the new school year, your will be given a book list.
  6. You then need to go back to your kid’s old school to submit the approved transfer form and to collect report card, “kad kesihatan” and other records. These records need to be handed over to the new school.

Our school transfer process took slightly more than a week as the Jabatan Pendidikan officer-in-charge was away for a conference in Genting.

Tips on choosing a new school

  • Go to the Ministry of Education website and look at the list of schools in the area.
  • Do your research online. Look at the school’s website and Facebook to get some rough idea of the school.
  • Make friends with the locals and ask them regarding the best schools.
  • Pay a visit to the schools that you have shortlisted. It would be good to go with your child to allow him/her to get a feel of the new school.

This serves as a general guideline for school transfers and do note that there maybe slight differences as some schools may release the report card, “kad kesihatan” and other records even before the approved forms are submitted.

Hope this helps and good luck with your transfer!

 

The One About Nasi Lemak Party & Sambal Petai Recipe

Nasi Lemak condiments. Clockwise from the top: Cucumbers, Sambal Nenas (Pineapple Sambal), Sambal Petai, Kerabu Kacang Botol, Kangkung, Hard Boiled Egg. The small bowl is the dressing for the Kerabu.

Being the true Melaka Nyonya, our Nasi Lemak would not be complete without “kangkung” (water convolvulus). Thankfully, my IT dude friend and his missus managed to hunt down some. Made 2 different sambals to accommodate the non-petai eating diners. Decided to make a milder, sweeter Sambal Nenas for my non-petai eating friends and also for the friend whose sambal tolerance level is at the primary school.

Decided to make “Kerabu Kacang Botol” as well. Erm…. More like an experiment. Thankfully, my lab rats reviewed and the experiment was considered a success.

All plated and ready to go…into the tummy!

For a Nasi Lemak, the sambal can make or break it. Besides the fragrant coconut rice, the sambal is the highlight for most people, me included. One of my friends posted about my Sambal Petai and Nasi Lemak on her Facebook and I have had requests for my recipe. As a true blue Nyonya who cooks using the “agak-agak method”, I was like “Yikes! I really dunno how many grams of this or that.” So, I went off to the nearest supermart and got MORE petai and spent an afternoon “quantifying” my Sambal Petai.

So…. here’s my recipe.

The photo that made me write this post. 🙂

Sambal Petai

Ingredients A

11 fresh red chillies

35 shallots (“Bawang Merah”)

20 candlenuts (“Buah Keras”)

Ingredients B

3 cups petai

2 large yellow onions

400 ml tamarind juice (“Assam Jawa”)*

1 ½ tbsp salt

6 tbsp sugar

Oil

*made from 3 tbsp tamarind paste + 400ml water

Method:

  1. Blend ingredients A into a paste.
  2. Half and slice yellow onions into strips.
  3. Heat up oil and once the oil is hot, sauté the blended paste. Keep stirring consistently to avoid burning the paste.
  4. Once paste turns a darker red, add in petai and onions.
  5. Add the tamarind juice.
  6. Add salt and sugar to taste.

Tips:

  1. Use the food processor with a chopper function.
  2. Soak the candlenuts to soften them before blending them.
  3. If the paste looks watery, drain the excess water with a sieve.
  4. Use more oil when cooking the paste. Spoon out excess oil once the sambal is ready by allowing it to sit for about 10 – 15 minutes.
  5. Add birds eye chillies (“cili padi”) if prefer a spicier version.

 

Clockwise from top left: Fresh red chillies, shallots, yellow onions, petai (halved), candlenuts, tamarind paste.
Pardon the smokey effect…Left is what the raw sambal paste looks like. The right is when the sambal paste is ready for the next step.
After putting in the tamarind paste, petai and yellow onions. On the right is what it looks like once the sambal is done.

 

Good Luck and Happy Cooking!

How Do I Love Thali, Let Me Count The Ways

For those who know me well enough, you will probably know by now that I love all things spicy and count Indian food as one of my favs. There is nothing I like better than a lovely vegetarian “thali”. Best enjoyed with all five of my digits, washed down with a nice frothy Teh Tarik Susu Lembu.

For those who are not in the know, the word “thali” actually means plate. (Hindi/Nepali: थाली, Tamil: தட்டு) It is essentially a round platter that is filled with several smaller little bowls (called “katori”) with food that is salty, sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. These little bowls are usually arranged around the bigger platter with some rice or chapati in the middle. Whether rice or chapati or even “puri” is served would depend on the region or restaurant that is serving the “thali”. Some restaurants I discovered would serve their “thali” on a banana leaf. Totally love “thali” on banana leaf as the aroma of the banana leaf enhances the whole thali experience.

Typical dishes of a thali are rice, roti, curries, vegetables, yoghurt (“tairu”), pappadums, pickles, “rasam” (Indian soup) and some places also serve salty fried chillies. (My fav!)

Recently, out of the blue, Son No. 2 decided that he wanted a thali. This was quite an unusual request as he is very loyal to his Roti Telur (Flatbread with egg). His “thali’ came with curried long beans, stir fried beansprouts, Sambal Taufu, Dhal curry (“sambar”), cucumber “salad”, fried bitter gourd and rasam. Oh yes, pappadums too.

Clockwise from the top: Sambal taufu, cucumber salad, curried long beans, stir fried beansprouts, Dhal curry, rasam and fried bitter gourd in the middle.
Clockwise from the top: Sambal taufu, cucumber salad, curried long beans, stir fried beansprouts, Dhal curry, rasam and fried bitter gourd in the middle.

Am usually not a fan of bitter gourd but the crunchy fried bitter gourd at Kari Kepala Ikan Raub* in Bentong, Pahang is probably one of the best I have tasted. I am a huge fan of their Sambal Taufu as it has just the right amount of onions and chillies. Actually, most of the dishes I have tried at this place is seriously yums.

So, why to I love “thali”?

Is it the Dhal curry that I instinctively drown my rice with?

Or is it because of the cucumber and onion raita that is the perfect match for firey sambal?

Or is it because of that mushy spinach that I love with a maddening passion?

Or the salty fried chillies that are so addictive?

The answer is “All of the above”. It is the various elements that make the “thali” oh-so-delish. All the different tastes, textures and flavours.

And one of the best part about “thali” is the huge portion that we just have to share it with our dining companions. And to share a good “thali” with great company is totally priceless!

 

*Kari Kepala Ikan Raub

No. 52, Jalan Loke Yew, 28700 Bentong, Pahang

09-223 3551 | 012-900 2351 | 016-320 8766