It’s good…

My Jee-kim was in town for the family reunion recently, my 2nd aunt-in-law, that is, who was married to my 2nd maternal uncle, since departed, kim being the appropriate reference to somebody who married my uncle on my mother’s side. If it is on my father’s side, we would have to call her Tua-kor, Jee-kor, Sa-kor and so on. Wait a minute! That’s incorrect! Kor is used to address my father’s sisters…so what do I call my father’s brothers’ wives? It certainly is very complicated, I would agree, and I would say that there is a whole lot of truth in this video clip…

– you may have seen it already as some people were sharing it on Facebook but I guess there will be others who haven’t.

Anyway, getting back to my Jee-kim, when she was here, she wanted to go and eat mee sua in char bee lau chicken soup and I do know that they do it very nicely here except that they use pork leg/trotters instead of chicken and besides that, they only have it on alternate days – on every other day, they would have pek ting eyok instead. Upon one’s request, they would serve mee sua in the char bee lau soup and they would replace the pork pieces with the chicken from their Foochow red wine chicken soup which is available daily. Unfortunately, that morning when she went there, they had pek ting eyok too kha so she did not get to eat the char bee lau that she wanted so much when she was in town.

I did ask her why she would not cook her own at home and she told me that it was because none in her family would want to eat it so she has never bothered to do that. It did not cross my mind there and then to tell her that these days, one can buy those medicinal roots already cut into little bit and pieces and packed nicely in plastic bags…

*recycled pic*

…unlike in the past, when one would have to buy the roots whole and still caked with dried soil/earth from the Chinese medical stores and one would need to go through the chore of cleaning them really thoroughly…and after that, one would have to chop the roots up into small bits and pieces using a meat cleaver or chopper…or an axe! It is THAT hard, I tell you – I did try once and after doing that, I was totally worn out and did not have the energy to do much else…and was in dire need of extra doses of the soup which they say is good for those feeling ching heck which I believe, is Foochow, meaning lethargic or exhausted or something along those lines.

Now that this most difficult part has been done for you, all you need to do is to get one pack and use the amount you need according to how much chicken you are going to cook. For one serving/person, maybe you would need to use half a pack or less for perhaps a chicken leg (thigh & drumstick) or two. Boil the roots with some ginger, sliced or in chunks, bruised, in a bit of water and also some dried cuttlefish – this is a MUST as it will give the soup that special fragrance and sweetness and counter-balance the bitterness of the char bee lau – and some pre-soaked and softened dried shitake mushrooms. When the flavours have come out of the ingredients and your whole house is filled with the fragrance, you can add the chicken and pour in as much Foochow red wine as you like, according to taste. Simmer till the sweetness has come out of the chicken…and the soup is ready…

CBL soup

Cook some mee sua…and serve it with the soup…


…or you can eat it with rice.

In the past, my mum would boil the roots separately first and then use the soup to cook the chicken with the rest of the ingredients. We took the easy way out and dumped everything into the slow-cooker and turned it on but lately, it seems that the chicken sold at the market is often too soft for such intensive cooking and would disintegrate and we do not quite fancy shredded chicken soup. That is why we cook it as I have described above and add the chicken last.

It certainly is a lot easier these days and should I happen to hop over to Kuching anytime soon, I must remember to bring my Jee-kim a pack or two of those chopped char bee lau roots and maybe, a piece or two of the dried cuttlefish (they do not come cheap anymore these days) and some dried shitake mushrooms as well for her to cook some of her own to enjoy all by herself.

Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

30 thoughts on “It’s good…”

  1. Jee Kim is Hokkien right? So you do speak Hokkien or was it FooChow?

    That’s Hokkien all right. I’m Foochow but Hokkien’s my mother tongue – grew up speaking that.

  2. I add the chicken last too unless I am using kampung chicken or free range ones. Think the chicken are all too young, the flesh overly tender thus disintegrating easily?

    Not too fond of kampung chicken – small and has a smell. There is the better of the ordinary ones – a bit hardy and will not disintegrate so easily. The seller will tell you if you’re familiar with him or her. The ones that disintegrate would be those on chemical feed and injected with hormones to fatten them up and make them grow very fast…so they can be sold sooner.

  3. yeah, it’s definitely very interesting to find the many different terms we used to address our relatives, each has one specific one to use.. and it gets even more interesting (also complicated and confusing) when the relative is not close but link through a handful of people..

    your father’s brother’s wife?? definitely not gor.. in my (Teochew) family, i call my father’s elder brother’s wife mmm and father’s younger brother’s wife sii-ng.. 🙂

    Yup, in Hokkien, it’s “umm” too and “chim” for father’s younger brother’s wife (‘sing” in Foochow). “Kor” is in Hokkien for father’s sisters…or “koo” in Foochow. Really mind-boggling eh? Must ask Bananaz for intensive course, he expert… LOL!!! 😀

  4. Yes, chicken nowadays are pretty soft.. unless buy the old ayam… as you said, they turn into shreds fast…. putting it later will retain the flesh.. 🙂

    Old chicken here very cheap – RM10 each, the ones at the market wrapped in newspapers. My mum used to buy for cooking curry, could simmer for a long long time.

  5. You call your father’s brothers’ wives “jee sim/say sim”, am I rite? What is char bee lau? 1st time hear it. Owh!!!..I love pek ting yok cooked with duck but not chicken. Nowadays most of the herbal stuff can easily get in packet form. Just dump everything in.

    That’s a Foochow favourite, besides pek ting eyok. I’m not a fan of the latter…but I love this one! Want some? I’ll bring you a packet if I happen to hop over to Kuching? Yup! It’s Ah Sing in Foochow.

  6. I call my father elder brother wife tua ng but it sounds like very old so i address her as Aunty xxx, younger brother wife san sim…

    Never heard…but then my father’s the eldest…so all the brothers’ wives would be Ah Sing to me. Dunno if it’s Ah Mu or not, not sure….or maybe not. Tui-Mu is eldest sister-in-law in Foochow, I think.

  7. You’re right. It is Ah Mu. My father also the oldest. But I heard my Ah Sing called my father and mother, Tui Pa, Tui Mu.

    Chao Yi Da/Ca!! That’s what Foochow called it. Roughly translated to Smelly Wood .. :D. Like what you mentioned, I remember my grandma use to boil it separately before making a soup out of it. If not for soup, we just drink it like herbal teas. Loves it! I wonder if it available elsewhere in Malaysia, besides Sibu/Sarawak. My parents in law for sure never see anything like this.

    Dunno, don’t think so. Not even in Kuching, it seems. Ya…I’ve seen it being called “Fragrant Wood” chicken mee sua at one stall here. I wonder what the Chinese characters are like… Maybe I can go and take a photo of the menu on the stall.

    Yaaaa!!!! I was right about the Ah Mu bit eh? Not bad, not bad at all. LOL!!! 😀

    1. Yup yup, you should take a photo of the menu, better yet, the photo of the wood’s packaging. I’m really curiously what it ‘properly’ called in Chinese .. :p

      Ok, will do that…soonest! 🙂

  8. Get kampong chicken…hehe.but beware of dye. LOL!

    Got smell, small…and the texture of the skin not the same. Not a fan of kampung chicken even though it’s supposed to be healthy.

  9. Yaloh. The Chinese confused themselves with all those names. It would be easier to just call “aunty” & “uncle”. haha.

    What I know is that in Foochow we call the father’s younger brother’s wife as “Ah Ning”. While older brother’s wife as “Ah Mu”.

    You want to know how we call them in Hakka dialect? Lol!

    Oh no, thank you. I’m confused enough already. I’ve heard of Ah Ning…and Ah Sing as well.

  10. Oh you do speak Hokkien Arthur. Haha. Good, can communicate Hokkien with you but I am sure there some slight differences.

    My hubby is a Foochow too but grew up speaking Hokkien. Fluent Hokkien. All his father and mother’s side of family speak Hokkien more than Foochow. So my hubby also pick up a bit of Foochow here and there but Hokkien is more like his mother’s tongue. lol

    From Kapit, right? The Hokkiens say they came to Sibu first but after the Foochows landed, many moved upriver…to as far as Kapit even. My mum’s family spoke Hokkien – my maternal grandma was Melanau…and we spoke Hokkien at home, growing up. Kuching Hokkien & Sibu not much difference…maybe perhaps, we say hor sua…and you all say hor chia.

  11. It’s indeed troublesome to address family members and relatives. Too many terms. Normally, I will ask the younger ones to call me uncle if they’re are confused. I’m one of those people who like to take the easy way out. I love slow cooker. I used to put all the ingredients before we go to work, and when we come up, we can have some hot soup.

    Yup, very convenient to use. Maybe I can trying cooking on low.

    I do think respect is more than just a name – action speaks louder than words.

  12. Yep, I know what is jee-kim. I have only 2 uncles, one married and one not, so I have only one ‘kim’ … hehe~

    Oh? So one’s still available? 😉

  13. Yes I know what is jee kim. I have only 2 uncles, one married and one not, so I only have one ‘kim’, hehe~

    Duplicate comment! The earlier one went to SPAM, dunno why. I’ve retrieved it…

  14. Reading your post makes me miss the mee sua in red wine soup from Sitiawan!! Slurpppp~~

    I certainly hope to try the Sitiawan one someday – see whether it’s the same or not.

  15. Oh, i miss this too. But i will eat it with rice instead of noodles or just drink the soup. I know it will give you “energy” when you really tired, this will boost your energy. This is what my mum and my grandma told me. My mum boiled once at my home here, but but, not everyone love it, so till now i also didn’t boil this soup. Love it with pork trotter, yum yum. I don’t know how to cook this, i thought just throw everything in the pot and boil it?

    Yes, I do that and it seems to work just as well – just as nice…no need to go through the chore of boiling the roots first. When is your mum going to KL again? I can send you some…

  16. Eeeee smelly root soup I no like! Prefer Ba Zhen with pork. Nice with mee sua. 😀

    Hahahahaha!!!! You’re not Foochow? Well, my cousins are Foochow but none of them would touch it either – that’s why my Jee-kim would not bother cooking it at home. Is Ba Zhen the same as what we call pek ting eyok? I will eat but I don’t really like it unless it is with duck. I guess people enjoy it more as it is more easily available, even in Kuching, if I’m not mistaken.

  17. We keep it simple and call them uncles or aunts, no adding extras. 🙂 Interesting dish. What is the root called? I might have overlooked the name in your post. If it’s available here, I might make a vegan and non-vegan version.

    I’m afraid I only know the name in Foochow, our Chinese dialect here. It seems that it is only available here in Sibu, not in the other towns around here as not many appreciate its taste…but I love it!

  18. Haha Arthur! Initially I thought “My Jee-kim” is a Korean name!

    Your mee sua looks better than the foo chow version you posted today! 😀

    This one is not so red as we use the better quality Foochow red one, filtered thoroughly and unadulterated…so it is not so red and has a stronger more fragrant taste but it is double the price.

  19. LOVE learning about medicinal plants! Neat!

    On a side note…a friend of mine and I were just chatting about our Norwegian Branches of our Family Trees this morning!~

    A lot more out there, just that we may not know about them. I’ve seen dogs or cats looking for some kind of grass in the lawn and eating it when they are sick…and it would make them throw up after which they would be well again.

  20. Oh, I always get so confused with the titles! I always check with my mum first if there are any family get togethers in case I goof up. I call my dad’s older brother’s wife Jee Erm and his younger brother’s wife See Chim. I remember my brother when he was young, he said that Chek Kong’s wife should be Chek Mah instead of Chim Poh. It’s mind boggling!

    Sometimes I just smile…and nod…and play dumb…and respond to their questions politely. Dunno what to call. Hehehehehehe!!!!

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