Tainted blue…

My friend, Peter, the boss of Payung, dropped by my house that day to pass me the nasi kerabu that he cooked himself. He did call me earlier to let me know but I said I could go and get it myself, no need to trouble him to come all the way but the nice guy insisted.

He said that he ate it somewhere but he was not impressed so he went asking around the people at the market and one knew of a Kelantan lady who was willing to share with Peter the tips on how to cook that Kelantan culinary delight.

To be honest, I did not get my hopes up too high as except for one place here, all the rest that I tried failed to make the mark. I looked at what Peter gave me…

Nasi kerabu from Peter

…and I liked how the rice was very lightly tainted blue. Some of those that I had had the displeasure of eating before were so horrendously blue and because what came out over the next few days was that same colour, I was pretty sure it was all artificial colouring. I really wonder why they cannot use the flower – if they do not have any, they can come to my house and pluck – all along my back fence!

There was an assortment of vegetables including kangkong and cabbage , herbs like mint and flowers such as the very fragrant bunga kantan (torch ginger flower) and they were all cut so very thinly, till real fine. What I always thought was kerisik (toasted grated coconut), a must-have with nasi kerabu was, according to Peter, a combination of kerisik AND serunding ikan (fish floss). Gee!!! I didn’t know that before.

Other than those, there were the fried ikan bilis (dried anchovies) and the salted egg. I did not see any air budu (salted/fermented fish sauce) nor sambal chili, just one type of sambal. My guess was he mixed them altogether, all-in-one, so to speak and Peter gave me quite a lot of it.

Usually, when we eat this at the shops, we would have something by the side to go with it – we love ayam percik but it could just be fried chicken or ayam berempah…or a fried fish but there wasn’t any in Peter’s nasi kerabu. What I didn’t know at the time was Peter’s nasi kerabu did not need any of those…unlike the nasi lemak at so many places that needs the curry or the rendang or whatever to camouflage the lack of lemak-ness in the rice and how plain and ordinary it is.

I had that for dinner that evening and like what one must do when eating this, I mixed everything together thoroughly and ate. Boy!!! It sure swept me off my feet – I never expected it to be so so so good and I really enjoyed it! I sent word to Peter right away that he must make this their weekend special and rest assured, without fail, I would be the first in line!!!

Thank you so much, Peter! Bravo! Bravo! I must say that you did a really good job!

PAYUNG CAFÉ (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.

Author: suituapui

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

9 thoughts on “Tainted blue…”

  1. Did you mix all the sambal into the rice when you ate it? Was it the sambal that swept you off your feet? He is such a good cook and good friend to deliver this dish all the way to your home.

    Yes, that is what we do when we eat nasi kerabu – mix all the vegetables with the rice, mash the salted egg and add that too…and add all the sambal(s), toss everything well and eat. Some call it a rice salad. We will shred the chicken or the fish and add those too, if any.

    Yes, Peter’s a great guy and a good friend.

  2. Blessed that lady for being so kind to share her recipe with your friend. So many ingredients in all that one plate, beautifully done. One can easily tell the difference between the natural blue from bunga telang and artificial colouring. Those artificial colouring they use in making kek lapis are so scary too.

    I’ve sworn NEVER to eat kek lapis ever again since I bought that Evergreen – I expected them to use pandan for the colour but no, they used colouring…and I was shocked when I went to the toilet and all that came out was green in colour…FOR THREE DAYS! Those people love to use colouring – their ABC (air batu campur) is always shockingly colourful!

    1. Natural colours also will do that. If you eat red dragon fruit, you see what colour, will be red too, even the water is red.

      Yes, I get that with dragon fruit but so far, no visible effects from butterfly pea blue or pandan green or turmeric yellow.

  3. So blessed to have such good friend. Nasi kerabu, I love it. The last time I had it was few months ago before MCO. At a shop mended by Kelantanese, same row with Old Rex Cucur shop.

    We have a very good one at Permai, past the hospital, so far away…and dunno if it is open or not during these troubled times. I sure would not want to go all the way only to find it closed.

  4. So if you said it is good then it is really good. Peter will be delighted. 😀

    He and everybody else at the cafe thought so too! And of course, he was immensely pleased.

  5. Oh wow. I love me a good nasi kerabu. Your friend Peter must sell this at Payung. It will sure be a hit. I agree, some places the rice is so blue, scary!

    Yes, it was on the menu today and it sold really well. I did not manage to go, busy with this and that. I wonder if he will have it again tomorrow.

  6. Even without the fried chicken or fried fish, it is good, then it must be really really good!

    Yes, just like all those nasi lemak places – if they depend on the curry or the rendang or whatever to gain popularity, then it is not good. The rice must be VERY lemak to deserve the name. Nasi kerabu is rice salad – it should be nice on its own without all those add-ons.

  7. Oh, it’s plated so prettily. The leaf base really is eye-catching.

    Yes, they do it so well here, the presentation of their dishes and the best part, what they dish out are all so very nice!

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