Maybe it’s better this way…

…or at least, it would be a whole lot cheaper, if nothing else.

Well, I’m talking about how I cooked sayur masak lemak (vegetables cooked with santan/coconut milk) aka sayur lodeh the other day. If you click the link here, you would be able to recapitulate how I took the easy way out and did that sometime ago using the made-in-Singapore Prima Taste brand instant laksa paste…and it turned out to be really very good, just like the real thing. The only problem is that the paste is very very expensive here, somewhere around RM16-18.00, don’t play-play! So buying that again is definitely out of the question for this poor old pensioner barely surviving on his measly pension. Sobssss!!!!

Well, I saw this at the shop one day…


…and though it is not my favourite brand when it comes to instant curry paste, I decided to buy one and try in the hope that it would be the same. I decided to add one stalk of serai, bruised, a few Thai basil leaves from my garden and since I did not have any prawns, a bit of belacan (dried prawn paste) as well. I could not find much around the house and had to make do with some sweet potatoes, bean curd sticks – soaked in boiling water to soften…and some of the fish and mushroom rolls, left over from the steamboat dinner that we had on New Year’s Eve.

I just boiled the serai and belacan in a bit of water and let it simmer for a while to bring out the flavours and then I threw in the sweet potatoes, bean curd stick and fish and mushroom rolls and brought it back to boil. Then I added the paste, santan (coconut milk) and the Thai basil leaves and when it started boiling again, I tried a bit and found it a tad too salty so I add a sprinkling of sugar…and when I tried it again, it was just right!


So, was it any good? Well, if it is sayur lodeh that you want, I would state in no uncertain terms that this is NOT the paste that you should use. It tasted great! Indeed, it was really very nice…except that it was in no way like what our sayur masak lemak is like. Truth be told, it actually tasted like mee kari (curry noodles) to me – the made-in-Singapore Prima Taste brand or the one from Penang. In fact, I cooked some dried noodles the very next morning to go with it for breakfast and I loved it…a lot!


Well, that went absolutely well with rice too…and to go with it, I also fried some egg white cincaluk (fermented prawns) omelette…


Egg white? Yup, that’s right! That’s exactly what I said. You see, my missus used all the yolks to make her Chinese New Year biscuits…

*Chinese New Year lanterns at Star MegaMall, Sibu 1*

…and left the white in the fridge so I thought I might as well cook that and eat it up…instead of leaving it sitting in the fridge, exposed to contamination and eggs are rather susceptible to that. I’m sure all of you would agree that it is better this way and at the end of the day, nothing is wasted.

*Chinese New Year lanterns at Star MegaMall, Sibu 2*

Yes, we’ve started on the biscuits…

*Golden Horse, Chinese New Year decor at Star MegaMall, Sibu*

…and are well on the way in our preparation for Chinese New Year.

What have you all done so far?