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No good…

I have yet to try quite a few of the instant pastes from my cousins here and here…and also from my friend but my missus went and brought home this one…

Instant pastes

…that somebody gave to my sister-in-law and she passed it to my missus to let us have a go at it. I was torn between using the one by Khadijah or this one – I reckoned they would be more or less the same thing but seeing that this one’s from a company in Singapore…

Singapore company

…though a product of Malaysia (they probably have their factory here as overheads and labour would be a whole lot cheaper considering our dwindling ringgit), I settled for this one in the end.

The packaging sure looked very nice and they claimed to be 100% natural plus all that jazz…

Good in so many ways

…and it sure was easy to use…

Easy

However, when I opened the pouch inside the packet, I did not like the smell, not at all. It was like the canned sambal ikan bilis (anchovies) and that put me off right away. Nonetheless, since I had already opened it, I just went on and used it to cook some prawns…

Sambal prawns 1

…with some Thai basil leaves and serai (lemon grass) added.

Sad to say, it was not nice, to say the least…

Sambal prawns 2

– the taste was somewhat peculiar, not like anything that I had had before and I actually thought the canned sambal ikan bilis or prawns that I do not fancy at all, would taste much better. I don’t know if it was my fault and the extra ingredients I threw in had adversely affected the overall taste but it was too late to cry over spilt milk – what had been done had been done.

Left with no other choice, we just ate the prawns – of course, being what they were, they tasted all right and the next morning, I took the leftovers, rinsed them and threw them into my fried bihun

Fried bihun

…using the Dollee sambal with shrimps which I thought had that canned smell as well but it was not as strong. Between the two bottles that I got from my friend, I like the other one, the Crispy Prawn Chili,  a whole lot better and it was extra spicy too, just the way I love it! Thankfully, it turned out really nice and I sure would want to use the sambal again should I be frying any more bihun in the days to come.

So hot…

This was sometime ago when the weather here was so unbearably hot and that was why we went out and bought these…

Ice cream

…for a little bit of welcome relief!

From the comments I saw on Facebook, it seemed that many were in favour of the classic and there were a few in that box of minis with the new honeycomb crunch…

Classic & honeycomb crunch

I tried the latter…

Honeycomb crunch 1

…and thought it was all right though I can’t say I was all that fond of the hard bits of “honeycomb” in the chocolate coating…

Honeycomb crunch 2

I was o.k. with the classic too and as for the Gold…

Magnum gold

I loved the ice cream and the seasalt caramel sauce inside – it reminded me of their Romero that I used to buy for my girl when she was little and we sure loved that very much. Unfortunately, for some reason or other, they saw it fitting to discontinue that line of their ice cream products. I was not as fond of this one though because the golden chocolate outside was way too sweet for my liking. Incidentally, I wonder if anyone can explain the question and exclamation marks after the word “gold” on the box? And just look at the ice cream melting even though I only took a little while to snap the photograph – that would give you an idea as to how hot it was at the time.

I still think their chocolate strawberry that I bought earlier in the year was really good, my favourite but somehow or other, I do not seem to see it in the supermarkets anymore either lately. Don’t tell me they have decided not to come out with that as well. Tsk! Tsk!

And talking about what’s available at the supermarkets, I got these…

Chef Ricky instant pastes

…from my cousin in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah via courier service, thank you so very much to him for going through all that trouble. I understand the chef in question, Chef Ricky, is a celebrity in his own right with a string of recipe books to his name but at this point in time, one can’t buy his instant pastes off the shelves at the supermarkets in East Malaysia yet.

My missus wasted no time and grabbed the middle pack to cook chicken curry…

Chef Ricky chicken curry 1

…and yes, it was very very nice, just like the curry we used to cook when we did it from scratch but she said it was so hot, very very spicy so she added more water. That was why it looked rather watery, not the usual thick, rich and creamy gravy that we would have in our curry these days when using one of the other instant pastes. I guess she also added some chopped onion, serai (lemon grass) and curry leaves as usual – she would do that all the time whenever cooking using these pastes and she also added some potatoes and brinjal as well. She cooked one kuali full and we had that for lunch before we sent our girl and her housemate/colleague back to their school and we had some more for dinner…and at the end of the day, this was all that was left…

Chef Ricky's chicken curry 2

Just about shows how good it was, eh?

As for the other two, you will have to wait till we’ve used them to cook something. Stick around!!!

Do what you did…

For some reason or other, I kept seeing friends’ photographs on Facebook showing their baked garlic cheese prawns, not one but at least two or more…so I decided that I would do what they did and try to come out with the same. My girl was coming home for the weekend last Friday so I thought that would be a good time to do it.

I still had some of the batch that I bought to cook my tuak-intoxicated prawns for our family dinner a while ago so I took those and added finely-chopped garlic, grated cheese, a bit of butter, curry leaves and salt and pepper according to taste…

Garlic cheese prawns 1

…and put that in the  oven to bake.

All I could find in the fridge was half a block of Edam cheese that my girl bought and used to cook something a long time ago and even though it did seem to lack the fragrance and taste, I did not have much choice other than to use that. After around half an hour, it was done…

Garlic butter prawns 2

…but when I tasted it, it was very strong on the garlic and had no hint whatsoever that there was any cheese in it. The sauce, however, was really very very sweet with all the juices from the prawns. Ah well!!! It did taste pretty good so I guess that would be all that mattered.

My missus mentioned to me that my girl loved her sotong (squid) cooked with her own homemade kim chi but I had used up all that was left in the freezer. So that morning, we headed to the market to buy more of that and she cooked this…

Kim chi sotong

…for our dinner that night alongside the prawns that I had come out with.

In the meantime, I also bought some more prawns and used a few for the vegetable dish – leek fried with prawns and egg…

Fried leek with prawns and egg 1

I burnt it a bit…

Fried leek with prawns and egg

…but thankfully, it was still all right – my girl said it was nicer with the added fragrance. Phewwwww!!!!

Good grief!!! It’s Friday again today and my girl would be back for the weekend. How time flies!!! Now, what shall I cook for her today?…

Not the only one…

I thought the Penang guy’s Hokkien mee that I had was the only one in town but I was wrong!

My missus and I dropped by here for lunch (2.311384,111.846727) the other day and I saw that they also had it, tagged under “chef’s recommendation“. We were here a few times before and I did like what they dished out then but somehow or other, we had not dropped by for quite sometime now and I did not notice it on the menu…

My Chef Restaurant menu

…at all on those earlier visits.

Of course I wasted no time in ordering that…

My Chef Restaurant Hokkien mee

…and if I remember correctly, it was only RM4.00 or RM4.50, cheaper than at that other place. As for the taste, I would say they were both equally good but somehow or other, this one too did not come across like the nice ones I had in KL and I just could not put the finger on it. Maybe there was too much sauce or it was not as thick or maybe they should add a lot more garlic to have that fragrance and taste?

My missus had the spicy chicken with rice (RM6.00)…

My Chef Restaurant Spicy chicken with rice

…which she said was all right, something like Thai-style chicken…

My Chef Restauarnt spicy chicken

…or fried chicken with Thai chili sauce.

Well, if anyone hasn’t got a clue where this is, it is to the left of the Delta Mall, the second shop in that block with the Astro Sibu Office at the far end of that same block.

For dinner that evening, I decided to try another one of the Dollee instant pastes that my friend, Victor gave me – the rendang. When I cooked the prawn noodles, I did not add any extra ingredients – all I did was to boil the prawns in water and remove them and then, I emptied the contents of the packet into the stock to cook the soup/broth for the noodles. This time around, however, I did add a bit of this and that…

Dollee rendang paste with extras

– one chopped Bombay onion, two stalks of serai (lemon grass), one daun kunyit (tumeric leaf), thinly sliced and a few sprigs of curry leaves. I love potatoes in my curry so I peeled a few and cut them into chunks to be added to the rendang.

Now my mistake was I was afraid the potatoes might take too long to cook so I boiled them first. As it turned out, as the rendang was simmering, the overcooked potatoes were already falling apart and turning rather mushy. When I felt it was quite ready, I added a little bit of santan (coconut milk) and let it boil a bit before dishing everything out…

Rendang with potatoes

It tasted great! Very very nice…but somehow or other, again, like in the case of the other instant rendang pastes that I had used before, it did not quite come across to me like rendang. My missus loved it too and insisted it was not like the regular curry and it was like rendang. Ah well!!! As long as it was good, I guess that was all that mattered.

I cooked quite a lot so there was more than enough for our meals the following day. I took out all the potatoes and heated them up by placing them in a bowl and leaving it in the rice cooker after the rice had cooked. I heated the meat in a wok, adding some water and letting it simmer a while longer to thicken the gravy and this…

Rendang chicken with Dollee instant paste

…was what it looked like after that…and yes, it was good.

I think I would go and buy another packet of the instant paste and try cooking beef with it and perhaps, I would add a lot more of the daun kunyit to see if that would make it more like rendang as I know it. Any suggestions, anybody?

Victor…

I have not seen nor heard from my friend, Victor probably since that time in 2009 so it sure was a pleasant surprise when he contacted me via Facebook one fine day. It turned out that he had stumbled upon my blog on this product that he is now representing here in Sibu and to show his appreciation, the nice guy would like to give me some samples  to try.

He dropped by my house and gave me these…

Dollee crispy prawn chilli & sambal with prawns

…and one morning, I had some leftover rice in the fridge so I decided to use one of them – the crispy prawn chili to fry it.

Wow!!! It certainly was very nice…

Fried rice with Dollee crispy prawn chili

…but be forewarned that it can be rather spicy which of course, would be one of the reasons why I enjoyed it very much, other than the fact that it tasted great with its very nice sambal fragrance. It is something like one of the two sambals they give at this place here – and I have always loved that a lot!

Other than those, Victor also gave me these…

Dollee instant pastes

…and so far, I have only tried one – the prawn noodle paste.

It was really nice…

Prawn noodles with Dollee instant paste 1

– like the Penang har mee I had had at that island gourmet paradise or here and with the added crispy prawn chili…

Prawn noodles with Dollee instant paste 2

…that certainly brought it to a whole new level! I absolutely loved it!!!

My girl is not really into anything that spicy so I prepared a special bowl for her with sotong (squid)…

With sotong

…and yes, she enjoyed it too though she did suggest that she probably would love it more if I had mixed the yellow noodles with a bit of bihun.

Other than the aforementioned, Victor also gave me these…

Uncle James bak kut teh & char siew sauce

I remember getting the vegetarian version of the same from my KL ex-blogger friend and though we thought the soup was nice, we did not like the vegetarian “meat”.

Well, I will try the rest soonest and get back to all of you once I’ve done that. Stick around!!! In the meantime, thank you so much, Victor, for all the goodies. It sure is very sweet of you to do that!

Last stop, this town…

After that heavy lunch at Sg Tenggang, I really did not feel like going for the celebrated giant prawn noodles at Jakar or Glory Cafe in Sarikei, so I thought I would just drop by Aik Seng in Sarikei for their famous charcoal-toasted bun with butter, own-made pandan kaya and peanut butter too! Unfortunately, luck was not on my side – the shop was closed!!!

That was why I ended up here…

Medan Selera Sarikei

…and when I asked the man at the steamed pao stall…

Pao stall

…there why Aik Seng was closed and whether it was their usual practice to have a rest day on Wednesday, he said he did not know. He thought it would be open all the time. Sigh!!! I guess it was just not meant to be – my finally getting to try the toast that people have praised to the skies.

I seemed to recall hearing something about the steamed pao at this place too – some people said that they were nice so I bought two of their char siew pao

Sarikei char siew pao 1

…and sat down…

Medan Selera Sarikei inside

…to eat.

I can’t say that I’m all that fond of the slightly yellowish old-school steamed pao skin but the filling…

Sarikei char siew pao 2

…was very nice and there was a bit of egg in it too…

Sarikei char siew pao 3

I would say I enjoyed it but no, I would not come all the way just to eat this, that’s for sure.

After that brief tea break in Sarikei, I headed back to Sibu and reached home at 4 something, and thus ended my brief trip to Kuching.

Incidentally, I must thank my uncle and his family in Kuching for making this bak koi (Chinese steamed egg cake with minced meat and fragrant fried shallots)…

Bak koi 1

…for me to bring  back home and they were so thoughtful as to pack a few bite-size pieces for me to eat along the way…

Bak koi 2

…too and I must also thank my auntie in Kuching for that pack of Kelantan-made serunding (beef floss) and my cousin for the goodies from her school…

Serunding & St 3's goodies

…and thanks again, all – my cousins and the mum, for the delightful dinner that I have blogged about earlier.

Back in Sibu, my good friend, Annie, in KL contacted me and asked me to get something from her mum who had just returned from a holiday there with her daughter and grandsons which I did…and guess what I got!

More serunding

Serunding!!! There is no label on that huge pack so my guess is that this would be a very special made-to-order one and my bet is that it is going to be really good!

Hmmmm!!! Now, let’s see what I can do with all that serunding. Yes, you guessed right – I’ve started off with this serunding fried rice…

Serunding fried rice

…and it turned out really very nice with the added Thai Basil leaves and chopped spring onions from my garden and my missus’ extra-hot pounded chili to complement all the flavours of the serunding. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that the next morning, I was delighted to find some more leftover rice in the fridge so I fried it again the exact same way…

Serunding fried rice, reprise

…and derived just as much pleasure from it the second time around!

Perhaps I can use it to make some serunding puffs…or some glutinous rice rolls with serunding filling too? We’ll see!

Never seen before…

I had never seen it before until I spotted it in Huai Bin’s post in his blog. Otak-otak sausages? Now, what on earth would those be? Sausages made from fish with otak-otak flavour? Gee!!! That’s new! I sure would love to give it a try, I thought to myself.

Well, it so happened that the other day, I spotted it…

Otak-otak sausages

…at the supermarket near my house. I can’t remember how much I paid for it but whatever it was, I just could not wait to try so I grabbed a pack of those, 10 inside, and took it home.

I did not even notice that they were, in fact, chicken sausages until the next morning when I took the above photograph prior to cooking them and I must say that I was a tad disappointed. Frankfurter ayam (chicken frankfurters)? Is it going to be any good, I wondered. Ah well, since I had bought it already, I might as well just cook and eat…which I did…

Breakfast

…with omelette and tomatoes on toast for my breakfast.

Yes, it was very nice indeed…despite the fact that it was chicken, not fish…

Otak-otak sausages, pan-fried

It had that same taste that one would get when eating otak-otak and I loved it though I did wish it could be just a little bit stronger for a much greater impact.

Yes, I’ve tried it and it was nice and I sure would not mind buying it again…but of course, the next time around, I would need to check the price. I guess it would be more or less the same as the regular Malaysian-made sausages (since they were placed in the freezer along with all the rest of them) and would be a lot more affordable that those very nice “branded” bangers that I bought once.