We need a lot more happiness…

At a time like this, we sure need a lot more happiness and that may come about through little gestures that may mean a lot to those who are #stayingsafe #stayingwell #stayinghome.

When I bought the ikan terubok (toli shad)…

…from my favourite fish & seafood stall that day, I thought of my aunt, my mum’s cousin, in the kampung. This fish seems rather hard to come by these days and my mum, when she was still around, enjoyed it so much so I was thinking that my aunt would love it too.

That was why that day, I took one of those that I bought and panggang-ed (baked) it…

…with the intention of sending it over to her house for her to enjoy.

Unfortunately, it poured cats and dogs that morning right through till the afternoon and I did not fancy going out in the rain. That was why I abandoned the plan and we ate the fish ourselves. Well, last Friday, the weather was very good, bright and sunny, so I quickly took out one of the fish to defrost, rub salt and pepper on it, wrap it in aluminum foil lined with daun kunyit (turmeric leaves) and put it in my Tatung pot to bake.

It did not take very long – after around half an hour, the fragrance of the fish filled the whole house so I switched off the fire and left it in the pot for another fifteen minutes to continue cooking in the residual heat. My missus said that once we could smell it, it would be an indication that it was cooked already.

I called my aunt to make sure she was home and I drove over to pass the fish to her. Of course, she was delighted – the radiant smile on her face said it all…and no, she did not let me go home empty-handed.

It so happened that some people in the kampung managed to get hold of these kulat ta’un

…and she managed to get her share. We call these mushrooms chicken mushroom (kaybak ko) in Hokkien because when we cook soup with them, it tastes just like chicken soup! They are more or less extinct now – the last time I saw some was way back in 2011 and I cooked the little that we got for my mum to enjoy and because there wasn’t a lot to go round, I did not get to eat it myself!

My aunt said that she got them two days ago and she cooked half already and she was busy the following day doing some spring cleaning in the house so she did not cook the rest. That was why she had a bit left and when I called and said I was coming over, she said, “This fella! Memang ada rezeki makan!” Well, didn’t I blog that day about how they called me Nyangoi because of my protruding chin and someone said that I would always be blessed with things to eat? Looks like there is some truth in that, don’t you think? LOL!!!

I took the mushrooms home happily and asked my missus to cook them, fried with egg…

It may be simple to cook, nothing to it at all but it…

…is so delicious.

This was probably the first time my girl got to eat these mushrooms and yes, she loved them! Here, we can get those farmed oyster mushrooms that are easily available at the market, the ones that they use to make those mushroom rolls at Payung…

…the favourite of many but these definitely have an edge over those, definitely nicer. Too bad they are so hard to come by.

Incidentally, that morning, I saw my neighbour’s wife in their garden so I took another one of the ikan terubok to give to her. She gave me an or chio/ikan bawal hitam (black pomfret) once and yes, she sure was delighted – she said that she had not seen it for a long time and yes, she loved eating that too. From the look of it, obviously, she was very pleased to be given the fish and she kept saying thank you as she took it into the house.

Personally, I do think that it does feel good to, once in a while, share the joy and spread the love. Like what I said at the beginning of this post, at a time like this, we sure need a lot of that!

Author: suituapui

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

19 thoughts on “We need a lot more happiness…”

  1. I have seen something similiar that looks like your kaybak ko at the jungle produce section at the Stutong market but I don’t know whether it is kaybak ko or not. Never ask or buy. What more to say taste..😊😊. You add ginger to it when you fried it with egg as I notice there are some ginger in the pix.

  2. Very good and kind of you to still remember and care for your aunt. 🙂 Kind gesture that will bring lots of happiness for her indeed.

  3. I am quite curious about the chicken mushroom, I have not seen it before. Generally I enjoy mushrooms but there was a time when I disliked shitake mushrooms. I couldn’t stand the smell.

    1. We’re o.k. with fresh shitake now. In the past, we only used the dried ones, a must-add when cooking our Foochow traditional red wine and ginger chicken soup (though we never ate them – we do now).

      The farmed oyster mushrooms are easily available here but they are not as nice, nowhere near these kulat ta’un. When frying those, we would add a lot of ginger and Foochow red wine to drown out the smell even though it is not exactly all that strong. Can cook soup and serve with mee sua too – link in my reply to Irene’s comment above.

  4. Oh. There such mushroom, with such name? Tasted like chicken soup, hmm. I would like to taste it.

    Hubby and I were just talking about ikan terubok. The Satok shop that selling salted terubok and roes. We did not have terubok, I don’t like it because of bones. Today I cooked mackerel and roes. Hubby caught from the sea last weekend.

    1. Terubok is definitely a lot nicer than mackerel, so very wangi. The variety these days does not have many bones, only around the head, the very fine ones like the bones in ikan lumek – can just throw it away. Most of the fish, the bones are big, easy to pick out and remove. I find it a lot easier to eat than those Kapit fish – the empurau, semah and the rest and those are so so so expensive!

      Anyway, not easy to find fresh ones these days. Luckily, my favourite stall has some quite frequently and I will grab a lot to keep in the freezer. It’s not a sea fish…just a seawater fish, found at the mouth of the Rejang at places like Daro, Belawai.

      You will be very lucky if you can find that kulat ta’un, can go and buy 4D. It’s more or less extinct!

  5. Don’t think I have tried chicken mushrooms before either.
    They look yummy.
    I actually prefer dried shitake mushrooms to fresh ones.
    Don’t know why, the dried ones are more aromatic. Don’t you think?

    1. Yes, a must-have when cooking our traditional Foochow red wine and ginger chicken soup, dried shitake. The fragrance will enhance the taste of the soup. We did not use to eat the mushrooms but now we do. I enjoy them more than the fresh ones too.

  6. I think I have tasted ikan terubok and that is how my sister used to cook it. I don’t buy this fish because hubby is picking with fish. So thoughtful to remember your aunt and panggang the fish for her. It is good to share and bring cheer to people we know. I like all kinds of mushrooms. I have not tried frying mushrooms with eggs. Must try one of these days.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own. For food and other reviews, you may email me at sibutuapui@yahoo.com

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