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Thin line…

This has been out for quite a while now, the fettuccine-like mee pok version of the Sibu instant kampua (RM6.90, 40 sen more than the usual)…

Sibu instant kampua, mee pok 1

…from the original maker or the pioneer, the one who first started making this stuff for sale and to be sent here, there and everywhere. Mee means noodles and pok means thin as in paper thin…

Sibu instant kampua, mee pok 2

Recently, I went and got myself a pack to give it a try and for the uninitiated, to cook this, you need to bring a pot of water to boil and put the noodles in…

Step 1

Loosen the strands and let it boil for around 3 minutes…

Step 2

After that, you drain away the water…

Step 3

At this stage, you can toss the noodles with the ingredients and eat already but usually, I would go a little bit further. I would put them in cold water and rinse well to remove any excess starch so that the noodles would not be sticky and clump together.

Step 4

Then I drained away the water and poured in some boiling water and put the pot back on the fire to heat the noodles up a bit. I am sure it isn’t all that nice to eat them cold. Lastly, I drained away the water and tossed the noodles with the ingredients provided in little sachets – one of the lard plus onion oil and the other, the light soy sauce.

Finally, garnish with thinly-sliced boiled pork and fried shallots and chopped spring onions and serve…or perhaps, you may want to have it with roast pork belly instead…

Sibu instant kampua mee pok with pork belly

…or slices of roast chicken…

Sibu instant kampua mee pok with roast chicken

…or whatever. It’s all up to you.

It may look kind of plain but those of you who have tried this Sibu Foochow delight and have fallen in love with it…

Kampua lover
*Photo from www.smallkucing.com*

…will attest to the fact that the beauty of it is while eating, you can savour the fragrance of the lard and the fried shallots in it plus the flavours of the shallots added and the spring onions…and the added taste of whatever meat or any other condiment that you may be having with the noodles.

Incidentally, it seems that many have jumped on the bandwagon and have come out with their own versions of the instant kampua noodles. This one…

Imposter
*Friend’s photo on Facebook – sorry for the blurry pic*

…is selling at the Sibu Central Market at RM7.50 a pack and I was told that they are also selling the original there at this same price too. Gee!!! That’s easy money – just order and collect…and sell at a profit of RM1.00 per pack. I also heard that there are others selling at around RM6.00 or RM6.50 as well. Of course, I have not tried any of them…but if anyone of you has done that and finds any that is nicer, do let me know. I’d go and grab some right away. Thanks.

That way…

When in KL, should I get the chance, I would love to drop by here for dinner. I was told that it was very popular as people would come for the home-cooked style dishes that they served and the star attraction would be the fried egg…

Fried eggs *Archive photo*

…done the way mama used to cook it.

I saw them doing that on tv and my goodness, they used so much oil and they could fry a few eggs at a time. They would all go swimming in the hot oil and once done, they lifted the whole thing and served. These days, one can hardly get eggs fried like that as people would usually use a non-stick pan with or without any oil but personally, never mind what they say – I would always prefer them done the good old fashioned way.

My mum used to fry eggs that way too. Whenever there was nothing much in the house to eat, like when what was left over from lunch was not quite enough for dinner, she would fry each of us an egg. To get it done like that, one would need a bit more oil than usual. Just heat up the wok, pour in the oil, wait for it to become really hot, crack the egg, and drop it into the oil…

Fried egg 1

Just let it cook for a while and you can splash some of the hot oil over the top of the egg so it would cook as well without you having to flip it over…

Fried egg 2

I do not really fancy fried egg that has been flipped over as to me, it does not look as nice…plus that was not the way my mum used to do it.

Once the edge has turned golden in colour and is nice and crispy…

Fried egg 3

…you may remove the egg from the wok already.

Move it gently to loosen it from the bottom of the wok if it is slightly stuck to it – it will come off very easily, no worries, and push it up the side of the wok and let the oil flow back down…

Fried egg 4

…before serving. If you are very particular, you may let the egg stand on some kitchen towel to soak away the oil further before you place it on the plate.

Fried eggs 5

There you have it, fried eggs done exactly that same way that my mum used to do it…

Fried eggs 6

…all those years when I was growing up. Of course, we never had them for breakfast at the time. Come to think of it, I cannot recall ever seeing a sausage then…other than the lap cheong, those Chinese ones. Folks in those days never had it so good as people today.

And talking about those reminds me of my friend, Annie-Q, who, when she came home to Sibu from KL for about a week that day, gave me some wine-infused ones made by her mother-in-law. Well, before she left, her mum gave me a HUGE tilapia, fresh from the lakes at the hydro-electricity generating Batang Ai in Sarawak…and my missus took it and steamed it…

Steamed tilapia

…using this…

Thai steamed fish sauce

…and oooooo….it was so very good!!! We certainly enjoyed it to the max! The sauce has that exotic Thai cuisine taste and fragrance and seeing that we love it so much, we certainly would want to use it again.

As a matter of fact, I have some ideas as to how I may be able to use it in ways other than this but that will have to wait till I get round to doing it. Stick around…

Conditioning…

I have two friends in the US, Opal and Jennifer, and both of them are vegans…and despite the fact that most of what I blog about are far from being vegetarian, they do drop by and comment regularly. I guess they may be able to get some ideas from my posts and create their own versions – if I’m not mistaken, I know that Opal does cook some non-vegetarian delights for her daughter and her father but she does not eat them herself.

Well, I’ve blogged about all my different versions of fried rice before and the other morning, I decided that I would like to try one that would be 100% vegetarian – no egg, no dairy products…

Vegetarian fried rice 1

These were the ingredients that I used…

Vegetarian fried rice - ingredients

- four cloves of garlic, sliced, a spoonful of my missus’ blended chili, spring onions, chopped, a bit of pumpkin, diced and also a tomato (there was only one left in the fridge), cut up as well, four shitake mushrooms, sliced, stems removed…and sweet soy sauce.

I fried the garlic in a bit of oil in a heated-up wok till lightly brown before adding the pumpkin. I fried it for a while as I guess it would take a little bit of time to cook. Then, I threw in the mushroom and the tomato…

Vegetarian fried rice - step 1

…and fried everything together for a bit.

Next, I added the rice, the blended chili and the spring onions as well as a bit of the soy sauce…

Vegetarian fried rice - step 2

…and mixed them all thoroughly.

After frying for a bit, till all the grains of rice had loosened and come apart, I dished it all out onto a plate and served…

Vegetarian fried rice 2

So, was it any good?

I would say that I liked all the flavours that I could taste from all the ingredients used…but I was not all that fond of the sweet soy sauce that I used. I think the next time, I would just use our regular mushroom soy sauce that we always use in all our cooking. You may add a pinch of msg, if you like, but I have been doing away with that in most of the things that I cook these days except perhaps, when there are not many ingredients from which the dish would derive its taste from.

I thought that was nice, a welcome change, though personally, I would prefer my usual stronger-tasting versions but I suppose where all our eating habits are concerned, it all boils down to behavioural conditioning  or in simple terms, getting used to it. In my growing-up years, whenever there was any leftover fried rice, my mum would just fry with sliced shallots (and of course, people in those days used lard in their cooking) and add an egg, salt and msg – so very simple and yet, we enjoyed that so very much…at the time but after adding all kinds of stuff to my fried rice over the years, I guess I have conditioned my taste buds to much stronger tastes than before.

I sure wouldn’t mind cooking this again…and maybe, I can experiment with other ingredients to see what may be compatible with the dish. Personally, I would very much prefer buttons to shitake…

Boiling…

This is another simple dish that my mum used to cook during my growing up years and I really liked it a lot…

Salted boiled pork

It was one of those dishes where whenever there was any left over from lunch and kept for dinner, when evening fell and it was time to sit down and eat, there would not be very much left. Don’t look at me! I’m innocent, I swear!!! Muahahahahahaha!!!

Nothing can be easier to cook than this, take my word for it! All you have to do is to put the slabs of pork in some water in a pot…

Salted boiled pork 1

…and bring it to boil. Let it simmer for as long as you can, say, around half an hour, at least, to make sure that it is cooked inside.

Pour the water into another pot…

Salted boiled pork 2

You can save that stock for soup or to cook with vegetables or whatever else.

Add around half a teaspoon of salt to the meat and sprinkle a pinch of msg all over it. You may add more, if you do not mind those things – lately, I’ve been cutting down on them so I just put a bit of each. Cover the pot and shake vigorously to mix the meat with the seasonings added…

Salted boiled pork 3

Keep the pot covered and let it stand till it is time to sit down and eat. The heat in the pot will enable the salt and the msg to seep into meat to enhance its taste. You may shake it again once or twice, if you wish.

Going back to the the stock, add some water to it to dilute it a little and bring it back to boil. Add a pinch of salt and msg to it and garnish with chopped spring onions and fried sliced shallots…

Salted boiled pork 4

…and serve it as soup.

Cut the meat into thin slices…

Salted boiled pork 5

…and serve.

Well, there is salt added and also a bit of msg but at least, there is no frying involved, no added oil and the best part, of course, would be the fact that it is so very easy to cook…and yet so delicious to eat!

P.S.
DIJAMIN SAMPAI HARI ESOK (Guaranteed to arrive the next day)…and true to their tagline/slogan, I received these from Twilight Man yesterday…

From TM

Thank you so much for all the goodies from Japan. I’ve yet to cook and try the noodles…and I guess the mask is for my missus – I don’t think it will be of any help at all in my case…hehehehehe…and what’s the red ribbon for, by the way? Ah yes!!! And thanks also for the magazine – now, now…don’t anybody ask what magazine that was. See! See! You can see the pictures of all the food in my photo. Right, Twilight Man? Wink! Wink! LOL!!!

He sent the stuff the day before and with the consignment number that he gave me via his comment on my post that same day, I was able to go online to track and trace. As soon as I saw that it had reached the Sibu office at around 2 something yesterday afternoon, I went over to claim it – no problem at all! Actually, the delivery van was about to leave when I got there and they would have sent it to my doorstep later in the day had I not caught them in time. As far as our side is concerned, I dare say that we have no problem at all with the mail delivery – maybe they are more efficient, maybe there isn’t that much mail for them to cope with, maybe Sibu is a very small town so it is easy to get around…but unless the mail is held back there (due to flight delays, cancellations and what not – the excuses they may give), once it gets here, it will be delivered promptly.

And thank you also, Twilight Man, for the lovely postcard. It also arrived yesterday – while I was out at the Sibu POSLAJU office. What a coincidence!

Healthy…

When I was small, I was told that the seeds in a chili must be removed as they could not be digested and immediately, my over-imaginative mind started conjuring pictures of the seeds germinating and chili plants growing out of my ears and nose and bearing fruit. Gee!!! What a nightmare that was!!!

They also said that the core or the centre part would be the spiciest and once removed, what one cooked would be more easily tolerated as it would not be so hot anymore. Of course, those were the days when I was still small, not into anything spicy but these days, the chilies that I get from the market can be most frustrating as they are simply not spicy hot at all. Unlike in the past, I could just use my fingers to remove the seeds and the core, no problem at all. That is why I always say that they are good mainly for colour and decoration and nothing much else.

Ever so often, we would have to resort to using cili padi or this smaller version of the chili…

Chilies

…in order that we would be able to have that much-coveted spiciness in whatever we’re cooking.

I would never use a blender to grind my chili as no matter how many times you pulsate, the seeds would still be there, unaffected. So what I usually do is to cut the chilies into small bits like these…

Sambal belacan 1

…and pound, making sure that I crush all the seeds to powder…

Sambal belacan 2

…while doing so. Once you do not see the seeds anymore…

Sambal belacan 3

…the chilies would have been sufficiently pounded already, that’s for sure.

To make sambal belacan (dried prawn paste dip), it is best to toast the pieces of belacan first…

Sambal belacan 4

…over a fire in a non-stick pan so that it will be more fragrant and much nicer. I have seen those that have already been toasted on sale at the convenience store at KLIA (arrivals) but I don’t think we can get our simply-the-best Bintulu belacan pre-toasted like that. Ah well, it’s no big matter really as it is very easy to do that and will only take a minute or two – people can be really spoilt rotten these days, it seems.

Once done, put the belacan in together with the pounded chili…

Sambal belacan 5

…and pound some more. It may be a bit too dry for a dip so you can squeeze some calamansi lime juice…

Sambal belacan 6

…into it, stirring everything together and mixing them well. Use a strainer to prevent the seeds from dropping in – it is bad enough that you may have chili plants growing out of your ears and nose, I’m sure you would not want lime trees sprouting out as well. Muahahahahaha!!!!! Add more lime juice if you prefer it more diluted and add a bit of sugar if you find that it is a little bit too sour for your liking.

The other day, I was preparing this very yummy dip for my ulam (the Malaysian version of the salad)…

Sambal belacan & steamed brinjal ulam

…for lunch and I steamed some brinjal for that. There are a host of things that can go well with the dip such as cucumber, raw and cut into bite-size chunks, ladies’ fingers or long beans, lightly boiled, four-angle beans, kangkong, lightly blanched and so on and so forth.

I would say it is relatively healthy eating stuff like this as there is no oil used, no added salt (other than what may be  in the dried prawn paste) and no msg…and the best part, of course, would be the fact that I love it…a lot! Yum! Yum!

What’s left…

I got these organic wholemeal spirals from my cousin in Brisbane, Australia and Melissa used most of that to cook her pasta dish while she was home for the mid-semester school break…and I still had some prawns in the freezer from that time when I cooked my own Sarawak laksa so I decided to use what’s left to cook something for breakfast.

These were the ingredients I used…

Char pasta - ingredients

…plus some dark soy sauce and sugar and of course, the prawns as well…

Char pasta - prawns

I boiled the fusilli till al dente and drained before adding the soy sauce and a sprinkling of sugar to counter the salty taste plus a bit of my missus’ pounded chili since the sliced ones were absolutely hopeless – not spicy at all and good only for colour and decoration…and mixing everything together well…

Char pasta - pasta, boiled

I fried the chopped garlic in a little bit of oil till golden brown…

Char pasta - step 1

…and then I threw in the prawns and the sliced chili…

Char pasta - step 2

When the crustaceans were sufficiently cooked, in went the pasta…

Char pasta - step 3

…and after mixing everything together and frying for a bit, I cracked the eggs…

Char pasta - step 4

…and added those as well. Once done, I mixed the chopped spring onions with all that was in the wok…

Char pasta - step 5

…and it was done!

I dished everything out onto a plate…

Char pasta 1

…and served.

Yes, it was something like char kway teow (fried flat rice noodles) and if I had some taugeh (bean sprouts), I would have added some too to make it a whole complete dish by itself…

Char pasta 2

Personally, I do feel that kway teow is nicer but this is also good especially when that is all there is in the house…or when you see it lying around and would like to use up what’s left once and for all.

P.S.:
Need extra protection, anybody? How about trying this?
Thank you so much, missyblurkit, for the free one-year trial pack – the courier service guy just delivered it right up to my doorstep yesterday…

Norton 360

Much obliged…

Roses are red…

…and so should our Malaysian favourite, ayam masak merah, be – red! Unfortunately, when I tried cooking it that day, it did not turn out the way it should – it  was not really red, not at all…

Ayam masak merah 1

Well, it all started when Melissa’s colleague invited her over to her quarters for dinner and she cooked this particular dish. Melissa loved it so much and praised it to the skies. Later, she found out that her colleague just used one of those stuff that comes in packets, this particular brand, to be exact…

AMM ingredients

I quickly grabbed one to try and I added some ingredients of my own – one Bombay onion, finely chopped, two stalks of serai (lemon grass) bruised, a sprig of curry leaves and a spoonful of my missus’ pounded chili.

I fried the Bombay onions in a bit of oil till the fragrance came out and then I threw in the serai, curry leaves and pounded chili…

AMM step 1

…before I poured in the ingredients in the packet, diluted in half a cup of water…

AMM step 2

…and brought in to boil before I put in the chicken, cut into bite-size chunks…

AMM step 3

… after which, I let it simmer until the sauce had gone into the chicken and had thickened and reached the desired consistency.

Then I dished it all out…

Ayam masak merah 2

…and served.

Yes, it was very nice. I loved the taste very much and I sure would want to use the pre-packed ingredients again. Other than it being really yummy, it was so very easy to cook but unfortunately, it was not really the colour that I had expected. When I asked Melissa again, only then did  she tell me that her colleague had added tomato sauce and hers was very red all right. Sigh!!! Actually, I was so tempted to do just that but I was afraid that it might adversely affect the taste in the end.

Never mind! At least, we enjoyed eating it and for another, there will always be another time – and I’ll make sure I’ll get it right then, you can take my word for it!

I still remember…

…that my mum used to cook those giant udang galah or chia-chui hay (freshwater prawns) this way…

Soy sauce prawns 1

We also call them tua-thow hay or big-headed prawns as if you buy the big ones, the heads are really huge. I would avoid buying those as the bodies are relatively small so we may not get very much to eat in the end. Of course if you can get the good ones, there may be that rich, thick and gooey orange-coloured stuff in the head that is very much coveted by all but there is no guarantee that you will get that in each and every one of the prawns plus they do not come cheap – at least, RM50 a kg…or more if they are not in season.

I managed to buy these small ones at the market one morning for RM30.00 a kg and I decided to cook them in that same way my mum did. I am not sure whether this is the Foochow way of cooking them or not but like all Foochow dishes, it is very basic and very simple…and yet tastes really great. All you need would be some slices of ginger and soy sauce and a bit of sugar to counter the salty taste of the sauce. I added a bit of sliced chili…

Soy sauce prawns 2

…and since I had some kicap manis ( sweet soy sauce), I decided to use that instead of the regular soy sauce and sugar.

First, I fried the ginger slices in a little bit of oil and once the fragrance had come out, I threw in the chili…

Soy sauce prawns 3

…and the prawns…

Soy sauce prawns 4

…and I kept on frying till they were cooked…

Soy sauce prawns 5

- they would have all turned red by then, of course.

Having done that, I added some water and the soy sauce, enough to make the gravy look dark, around two or three tablespoons of it…

Soy sauce prawns 6

I tasted a bit of it and OH NO!!!!! To my horror, I found it to be so very sweet. No…no…it was not supposed to be like that. I quickly added a bit of our regular soy sauce, maybe around one tablespoon of it, and when I tried it again, it  was just perfect – exactly like how my mum cooked it before. I certainly would advise anyone who would like to cook this dish to stick to what has been tried and tested and not to use the kicap manis in place of the regular soy sauce and sugar.

Once done, I dished everything out and served…

Soy sauce prawns 7

Of course, you may add some extra ingredients if you wish, like say, a dash of the traditional Foochow red wine…or a stalk of serai (lemon grass) or some sliced Bombay onions but I wanted to follow strictly to how my mum cooked the prawns way back then during my growing-up years – so simple, so easy and yet so delicious. I still remember how we loved eating this so very much. I still do!

Back in time…

This is very old school – something that my mum would cook and I was eating during my growing-up years…way back in time. It is very simple actually, nothing really special but today, it is one of the more popular soup dishes at the Chinese chu-char places and restaurants here – what we call tauhu tier in Foochow…

Tau Hu Tier

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Annie-Q‘s mum gave me some of the organic tofu that she made herself…

Organic tofu

…so I decided to cook that for dinner last weekend.

I just fried three slices of ginger in very little oil – about a table spoon before I added the minced meat…

Tau  Hu Tier step 1

…and just a bit of that will do.

The most essential ingredient would be the canned oysters…

Canned oysters
*Archive photo*

…so that subsequently joined the minced meat and ginger in the wok…

Tau Hu Tier step 2

…and after frying for a while, I added some water. Bone stock would be ideal but I did not have any so I just used plain water and added a pinch of chicken stock and brought it to boil. Then, I added the tofu cut into cubes…

Tau Hu Tier step 3

…and left it to simmer for a while. If you order this at the shops, you may get something thick and if you prefer it like that, all you have to do is to dilute a tablespoon of cornflour in half a cup of water and pour it into the boiling soup slowly, bit and bit and keep on stirring until the soup has reached the consistency that you want.

I did not have any daun sup (Chinese coriander) in the house so I just sprinkled with the spring onions in my garden, chopped, and served. Some people love it with a bit of black vinegar added so you can do that if you are thus inclined.

We had that together with the other dishes that I managed to whip up that evening…

All my own work

…including the made-in-Canada Ma Ling luncheon meat that I got from Philip, my friend in the US – fried with egg and Bombay onions, no oil added.

Thank you all for the goodies…and I must say thank you too to my cousin, Diana, in Miri who sent me this big jar of cincaluk (fermented shrimps)…

Cincaluk from Diana

That got to me over the weekend and it certainly would come in handy in my cooking…and eating as well but of course, when I have anything cooked with that, I would need to resist the temptation of having a second helping of rice, that’s for sure! Hehehehehehe!!!!!

Golden Flower (2)…

So near, yet so far – how true that actually is! King Hua lived less than an hour’s drive away most of her life but she does not know much about the places in Sibu nor her way around town, other than what she has read in my blog, that is. But then again, I had friends coming over to KL proper to see me and they too did not know the directions in the city centre. They would tell me that they lived in PJ or Shah Alam and they rarely ventured into the national capital at all. But anyway, it was my pleasure to take her around to all the places she wanted to go to and to buy what she wanted to buy.

After having bought the kek lapis earlier, we went to the supermarket in the town centre. This is the one that sells all the imported stuff – chocolates, cookies, canned and dried foods, fresh milk, breakfast cereals and even the made-in-the-UK real beef Bovril. King Hua just could not resist grabbing all the things that they had on their shelves – I think in total, she spent way over RM100 in just a few minutes! And she was so nice as to get me a pack of the Japanese green tea Kit-Kat that I like a lot…

From King Hua

Incidentally, she also brought me a bottle of my favourite out-of-this-world Bintangor rojak sauce, some kopi-o (black coffee) that she says is very nice and would like me to try…and a packet of tomato flat noodles. Hmmmm…interesting! Thank you so much, King Hua – it is so thoughtful of you…and I’m so sorry that it completely slipped my mind and I did not get you anything! Never mind, I’ll make it up to you some day, promise!

She loved the coffee that we had at the kampua place earlier so I took her here to buy some – theirs is simply the best…and she kept saying how fragrant it was, so fragrant that it filled the entire car. After that, we stopped by the Sibu Central Market to buy some terbaloi to give to her friends back in the peninsula but for some reason or other, there was none available.

Finally, we stopped by here…

Payung Cafe floral decor 1

…for an early lunch, no prize for guessing where we went…

Payung Cafe floral decor 2

She loved the Payung rojak

Payung rojak

…so so much and said that it was even nicer than the highly-acclaimed Bintangor one and she too fell in love with the buah kedundong leaves that they had in it. So how good was it exactly? Well, I kept telling her not to eat so much of it as we were both still rather full after our heavy breakfast and there would be other things that I would want her to try and enjoy…but she said she loved it so much and insisted on finishing everything that was on the plate.

She thought the Payung otak-otak

Payung Cafe otak-otak

…was indeed different from what she would find in Johore and felt it was very nice but a bit too spicy for her and she’s not really into anything spicy but her hubby would love it a lot, she said.

They have a new guy at the café and he made a mess of the mushroom roll…

Payung Cafe mushroom roll

…so the presentation was not as nice as usual but nonetheless, King Hua loved it a lot!

She tried the durian ice cream but was not exactly thrilled as she said she had one a lot nicer at some place in Singapore. We were filled to the brim already by then so there was no possibility of getting her to try some of the other delightful desserts that they serve here.

After that, I took her to the bus station to catch one back to Bintangor. That was a very short trip indeed but I would say that it was really very fruitful. At least, she got what she wanted and more…and she managed to try some of the nice stuff we have in this little town but of course, she will have to come back again and stay much longer if she wants to sample more of the best we have around.

I went straight home after that and my daughter could not wait to tell me what Annie-Q‘s mum had given me – her special own home-made organic tofu…

From Annie & Philip

They had dropped by my house while I was out and Annie also gave me the very nice nasi lemak sambal that she bought on her one-day eating trip to Sarikei and Bintangor. That very night, I went to the airport to pick Philip’s son who was in town for a few days to visit his grandma and that very nice friend of mine in the US insisted on getting his son to bring over for me that can of made-in-Canada Ma Ling luncheon meat. Honestly, everyone’s so kind and generous I really do not know how I could possibly repay all of them other than a simple thank you from the bottom of  my heart.

Incidentally, I have already tried the relatively new Q-Q (curly) version of the instant Sibu kampua noodles

The Kitchen Q-Q instant Sibu kampua

…and I must say that I liked it a lot, thank you so much to Eric, the guy behind the business venture, who gave me a pack to sample and to show his appreciation for helping him promote his product via my blog and also on Facebook.