Anyhow…

When we were here for lunch last Friday, my girl was excited to see that they had perkedel

D'Santai Cafe perkedel

…there and when I asked the girl waiting at the tables whether there was any tepung gandum (wheat flour) in it, she just said she did not know. Full stop.

Honestly, some of those people in the waiting staff here, there and everywhere are in dire need of some serious training. She could have gone into the kitchen to ask but no, she did not. In the end, I had to go and do it myself…and the nice lady there told me that there was wheat flour in it so that was it. We could not order it as it would not be gluten-free.

That left me with no choice – I would have to make my own and that was exactly what I did the very next morning. I did google to look at some recipes and I stumbled upon my blogger-friend’s and hers has tapioca flour in it which should be perfectly all right – it’s not wheat but how many potatoes would make up 150 gm? It seems that every recipe would give the measurement in grams…and this old dinosaur was wishing somebody would just say how many potatoes instead. Left to my own devices, I decided to just go ahead and simply make my own…anyhow and these were how they turned out…

My bergedil

I shared the photograph on Facebook and a friend asked me what they were.

They’re perkedel, I said, in Indonesian or bergedil in Malay…

Bergedil from a Malay stall

…while the Spaniards would call theirs croquettas…

Spanish chicken croquettas

…and the Japanese ones, karaoke…oops, I mean, korokke

Pumpkin korokke

…or in English, they are simply potato croquettes.

I did make some…

My bergedil, before

…before but those days, I could coat the exterior with bread crumbs and add some crushed cheese crackers to the ingredients as a binding agent but no, I would have to do without those things now.

So what did I do this time around? I boiled 3 potatoes, cut into quarters so they could cook faster and then I peeled and mashed them. If I am not wrong, they should not be too well-cooked which was what happened once when I tried making some luncheon meat croquettes…

My luncheon meat croquettes

The mixture was too mushy and was very difficult to handle and roll and press. I fried a shallot, peeled and thinly sliced and removed it from the oil and threw that in…along with some finely-chopped spring onions and curry leaves. In the meantime, I also fried some garlic in a bit of oil to cook a bit of minced beef to which I added some salt and pepper – once that was done, I added it to the rest of the ingredients, made balls out of the mixture and pressed to flatten. I coated each piece with a bit of egg, beaten and fried it in oil.

It turned out very well – tasted great but I do think I could make it even better. In the meantime, these will just have to do – my simply-cook-it-anyhow, no recipe perkedel, bergedil or potato croquettes whichever way you choose to call it.

Get it straight…

They say that authentic kampua noodles would be thicker and straight…

Ang kau kampua
*Archive photo*

…and I did hear from my friend, the guy behind The Kitchen instant kampua noodles that if it is made using a machine, it will be thinner and it will all come out curly…like kolo mee but I have had kolo mee in Kuching that looked quite straight as well…

Green Road Kuching kolo mee
*Archive photo*

…but whether it is straight or curly, normally, Sibu kampua noodles would just have those few pieces of thinly sliced char siew, the real thing or otherwise, or some may give you slices of stewed pork these days…

Kampua with stewed pork
*Archive photo*

…whereas in the case of Kuching kolo mee, you will get the slices of char siew and some minced meat and at times, some green vegetables too…

Oriental Park Kuching kolo mee
*Archive photo*

…and I have had kolo mee that came with a prawn or two, a fish ball perhaps and a slice of liver and bits of intestines.

The aforementioned Sibu-made instant kampua noodles actually tastes really good, quite like the real thing that you can get at the coffee shops around town and may even be nicer than some, in fact but so far, the kolo mee from the renowned instant noodle company, the first ever in the country, if I am not wrong, turned out to be rather disappointing and even the complimentary soup that came with it could not save the day. I can’t remember whether I blogged about it or not – probably I did not.

Then, the other day, I spotted this…

Brumee kollo mee 1

…at a supermarket here – made in Brunei. Brunei? I sure was surprised to see that as I thought in the oil-rich, tax-free haven, it would be hard to find people to work in a factory but there it was – the Brumee brand from Bandar Seri Begawan, looking at the address given (with a telephone number and email address some more).

For one thing, we would usually spell it as kolo mee or kolok mee, usually this would be the spelling in Malay, but never kollo mee with a double l. Nonetheless, I still wanted to try so I bought a pack home, RM8.90 for 5, RM8.20 special member price so that would work out to RM1.64 each – not cheap but definitely cheaper than those brands of instant noodles from Singapore. Inside, you will find these sachets…

Brumee kollo mee 2

…of the seasoning, oil, chili powder and oyster sauce! Now, that’s a first – I don’t think there is oyster sauce, not in kolo mee nor in kampua noodles and wait a minute! The noodles are flat, curly but flat!!!

Never mind! I cooked a packet and topped it with some sliced omelette and pan-grilled prawns and garnished it with some chopped spring onions from my garden and served…

Brumee kollo mee 3

If you are expecting anything that tastes like kolo mee…or even kampua, you are in for a disappointment. The moment I poured out the seasoning from the sachet, I could detect the smell – something like those instant mee goreng…and yes, it actually tasted like that minus the dark sweet soy sauce so if there is any difference, it would be the colour, that’s all.

I guess we will just have to wait till somebody can come out with something that tastes like kolo mee, the way we know and love it. This, I’m afraid, does not come near, not at all.

Cloud…

I went to my regular Malay kueh stall to get some laksam for my girl, like I said I would, and the very nice lady boss who has been most sympathetic regarding my girl’s gluten-intolerance told me about something called cloud bread and asked me to go and google for the recipe.

When my girl came home for the long weekend, I told her about it and she wasted no time in getting down to making her own. It seemed rather simple and if anyone is interested, here is one of the recipes available. No flour is used in the making, so there is definitely no wheat, and I did see some recipes where they use stevia or one of those artificial sweeteners. We do not have a problem with sugar so we did not have to do that.

We were out all morning on Saturday – my dad wanted us to take him out for brunch and yes, we ended up at the same place, his favourite and I tried the fried kway teow, dry…

Y2K fried kway teow

…but no, I think we do have nicer ones elsewhere.

When we got home in the afternoon, I went to have a nap while my girl got down to work in the kitchen. When I woke up, the cloud bread…

Melissa's cloud bread

…was ready. It sure looked like bread, don’t you think?

Even the texture…

Melissa's cloud bread, texture

…appeared really similar.

It was very nice – we had it with peanut butter or honey and the next morning, my girl toasted some to go with bacon and cheese. She did give me one to try and I would say it was very good. No, it did not quite taste like regular bread but this would be great as a substitute, for instance, as the muffin base in one’s own Egg Ben, for instance. You can click this link here to see all the different ways to eat cloud bread.

Of course my girl was delighted and needless to say, I was very happy for her too. She has been trying all kinds of recipes for bread and cakes with all kinds of flour – buckwheat, coconut, rice, glutinous rice, potato, tapioca…and so on but her attempts have been quite disastrous. So far, there was a cake like the Japanese baked cotton ones that turned out quite well and another one was some kind of crepe – very nice and I told her that now that she cannot eat the regular ones, like the Mission wraps, nor popiah skin, she can make these and use them instead.

Anybody keen on giving this a try?

Some other way…

I tried a packet from one of the packs of the Sarawak instant bihun laksa

Sarawak instant bihun laksa
*Archive photo*

…that we got from my Bintulu brother-in-law and my missus had one as well. There were two packets left, four only in a pack, so on another morning, I cooked both and used one of the packs of sachets inside, keeping the  other one for another day to use in some other way.

Well, I’ve tried the fried noodles using the laksa sambal before here

Fried laksa mee mamak
*Archive photo*

…and though it tasted all right, I would taste the ingredients of the sambal in it. They probably should have used those brands where one would not need to sieve the gravy/broth/soup – I hear that this would be one of those…

Liza sambal laksa Sarawak
*Archive photo*

…but even though there have been people telling me that it is good, personally, I’ve never tried it before.

Anyway, back to the remaining pack of the sachets that came in the packets of the aforementioned instant laksa, bihun, I decided to use that to fry some of my own bihun the other morning. There were the ingredients…

Fried Sarawak laksa bihun, ingredients

…I prepared – some bihun, of course, soaked in hot water till soft, chopped garlic, sliced shallot, some curry leaves and spring onions, chopped, from my garden, a bit of prawns and an egg (beaten and fried for the sliced omelette topping). I did have chilies in the fridge but they were not hot and spicy so I did not bother to add any, not even for the colour.

I fried the garlic and shallot in a bit of oil till golden brown, added the prawns and the sambal laksa from the sachet and the curry leaves as well before throwing in the bihun and adding all the stuff in the remaining sachets. When I felt it was done, I dished it all out onto a bowl and garnished it with the spring onions and the strips of sliced omelette…

My fried Sarawak laksa bihun

Yes, I thought it was really very nice. I bet a bit of shredded chicken and maybe a squeeze of calamansi lime would make it taste even better.

However, at RM8.99 for a pack of 4, I certainly would not be all that keen to go out and grab another pack – it is now available at a supermarket here and I hear than in Miri, they are selling a pack for over RM9.00. It was only over RM3.00 for a pack of 5, with instant noodles not bihun and then they added a sachet of santan (coconut milk) powder and jacked up the price…and now they’ve substituted the instant noodles inside with bihun and they’ve raised the price even more. I guess it is convenient to buy and bring or send to family and friends abroad, desperate for a taste of our Sarawak laksa (and yes, this one comes really pretty close, just that you have to add your own toppings) – NZD13.50 a bowl in Auckland, New Zealand, I hear – but on my part, at least, I’ve given it a try. Period.

Scarce…

It is so hard to find ikan terubok (toli shad) here these days. Yes, we can buy the salted ones and the eggs as well but the fresh ones are really so very scarce these days and for a long time now, I have not seen any at the wet market.

That was why I was delighted that we had one, salt-baked by Angela, my friend/ex-classmate’s wife, when they invited us to their house for dinner once. She said she saw one at the market that morning so we were able to have that that very evening. I do know of two places, at least, in town where they serve this fish but it’s deep fried and I am not fond of it this way. I did have it once at a restaurant here, stuffed with all kinds of ingredients and grilled in the oven but no, it is not even available on special order – you will have to bring the fish and they will do it for you.

Imagine my happiness that day when my brother-in-law from Bintulu gave us one…

Terubok from brother-in-law

when he came back to Sibu for the Ching Ming Festival that day. You can tell how fresh it was…

Fresh

…and no, when it is that fresh, there is no need at all to cook it with lots of  ingredients in any fanciful ways. I did blog about how we would cook it once – just rub the fish with salt, wrap in foil and put it in our Tatung pot…

Tatung pot\
*Archive photo*

…and bake. My missus says it is not so nice if we do it in our electric oven.

I had to drive to my girl’s school in the jungle on Thursday to bring her home as she had something on in Sibu on Friday and we had this for our dinner…

Ikan terubok, cooked

…that evening. It was so sweet, lemak enough…

Terubok, so good

…and so very delicious – we sure enjoyed it to the max. The problem now is I wouldn’t know when or where we will ever get to enjoy another one again.

To go with the fish, we had this Bario brown rice…

Bario brown rice

…that I bought from here at RM11.00 a kilo.

Yes, it was nice…

Bario brown rice, cooked

…but I prefer the regular type that is so nice you can eat it on its own but of course, they will tell you that brown rice is healthier so it is better to eat that.

Cheap thrills…

Well, if you think this is going to be a post on something (s)exciting, you are in for a disappointment. LOL!!!

I heard that this instant mi goreng

Tip Top mi goreng

…is very nice so I dropped by a supermarket and grabbed myself a pack, currently on promotion – 5+1, 6 packets inside.

It’s a product of our neighbouring country…

Made in Indonesia

…and though our languages are similar, there may be quite a bit of difference as well. I’m pretty sure we will not say barang rosak to mean “…the package is broken” and I do think “torn” or “open” would be more appropriate words to use in this context. “Broken” is usually used in cases where there is a special seal.

Anyway, what’s more important would be what’s inside…

Contents

There are those usual things you’ll get in a packet of mi goreng – the seasoning, the soy sauce, chili powder and onion oil…and the noodles, of course.

I took out one packet to try, cooked…

Tip Top mi goreng, served

…and served with my boiled egg, hard on the outside, runny on the inside and I did sprinkle some chopped spring onions from my garden on top prior to serving.

So what did I think of it? Yes, it was nice – pretty much the same as all the other mi goreng, more or less but this one is so very cheap! It is tagged at RM2.90 a pack but currently, it is being sold at a promotional price of RM2.70…and with 6 packets inside, that works out to only 45 sen each. Gee!!! You cannot go out and get a piece of (Chinese) kueh for that kind of money these days, nothing less than 50 sen a piece. I sure would not mind keeping some for mornings when there is nothing in the house to eat for breakfast…

Keeping it simple…

I have not been cooking very much these days now that I am spending a lot of time in my garden, a few hours in the morning and also in the late afternoon and evening.

However, I would make sure that I have a good breakfast but usually, it will be something very simple like if there is any leftover rice, I would fry it and eat before venturing outside. This was my ikan bilis (dried anchovies) belacan (dried prawn paste) fried rice…

Ikan bilis belacan fried rice

…that I cooked the other day.

Good Friday was a day of fasting and abstinence for us and we had one light meal in the evening for dinner. I just cooked some plain porridge and had that with salted eggs and fried thinly sliced french beans. It is amazing how with just one cup of rice, you can end up with one big pot of porridge…and the next morning, as there was some leftover, I cooked this sweet potato porridge…

Sweet potato porridge

…and I fried an omelette and grilled a slice of bacon, cut them thinly and threw them all in. It tasted really great but the next time, I think I would use the latter two ingredients as toppings instead of cooking them in the porridge – they seemed to have lost much of their taste because of that.

Saturday, we had a great lunch and in the evening, we went for my brother-in-law’s birthday dinner and on Easter Sunday, after the morning service in church, we dropped by here for brunch. That evening, my girl said that she did not want to eat out and would prefer having dinner at home. That was why, in the end, we decided to have a simple steamboat dinner as my brother-in-law from Bintulu did give us some very nice and fresh prawns…

Prawns from brother-in-law

that day when he came back for the Ching Ming Festival. We still had two big sea cucumbers in the freezer, left over from our Chap Goh Meh steamboat dinner with my dad sometime ago…and we made some meatballs and bought some quail eggs, sweet baby corn, golden needle mushrooms, some soft tofu and these curly green vegetables…

Khiew chai

…and we just threw all those into the boiling bone-stock soup that my missus prepared.

We also had some thinly-sliced beef…

Beef slices

…in the freezer so we dipped it ourselves in the boiling soup to eat and enjoy.

My girl wanted some of these Korean potato noodles…

Potato noodles

…to go with the soup and I boiled some for her.

There you have it, our Easter celebration – nothing fancy, nothing grand, just a simple steamboat dinner…

Steamboat dinner

…at home.