The way that you do it…

First and foremost, I must thank my cousin in Brisbane, Australia for the beautiful calendar that she sent me…

2019 calendar from Australia

It sure took a long time to get here but at least, I did receive it finally, safe and sound. Now I could take down the 2018 one, also from Australia, and hang this one up on the wall right in front of me above the PC monitor.

Moving on to my post proper, I had this (expensive) packet of made-in-Singapore noodles sitting around in the kitchen…

Singapore La Mian & pickled chili

– my missus bought it and used the sachets of seasoning and what not inside to cook something.

I thought I could use it to try and cook Kuching kolo mee, the way that they do it there. No, it is not the same as our Sibu Foochow kampua mee and if you go and eat the noodles in Kuching, they will give you the pickled green chili to go with it. It so happened that I had pickled some from my garden using sushi vinegar and I thought I could use that.

Kuching kolo mee is thinner and curly – my friend told me that is because it is machine made. Handmade Sibu kampua mee is thicker and straight. The noodles I would use was nothing like either of them – I think it was the same as the Korean ones that I bought once. It did not matter how long I cooked it – it would not turn soft and soggy.

I fried some thin slices of shallot in a bit of oil and removed them before frying some garlic till golden brown – I am quite sure they have garlic in Kuching kolo mee, usually not found in Sibu kampua mee. I added a bit of light soy sauce, a pinch of msg and a bit of the vinegar from the pickled chili to the fragrant oil. Once cooked and drained till really, dry, I tossed the noodles thoroughly with the ingredients.

Kuching kolo mee is served with real char siew and a bit of minced meat and sometimes with a sprig of green vegetable, blanched. I had none of those so I had mine with a few slices of pan-grilled bacon, garnished with the aforementioned fried shallots and finely chopped spring onion from my garden…

Noodles, my way 1

I also boiled an egg…

Egg, hard boiled

…to go with it to make sure it was substantial enough to sustain me through till lunchtime.

So was it anything like the way that they do it? I could not say for sure but I did think it was really very very nice…

Noodles, my way

Somehow or other, the thought that it was something like aglio olio did cross my mind and I enjoyed it a lot. I sure wouldn’t mind cooking noodles this way again next time.

Trendy…

It seems to be the trend these days – this salted egg anything and everything.

We had the lau sar pao, the salted egg custard steamed buns (黃金流沙包)…

Lau sar pao

…and those salted egg yolk mooncakes…

Salted egg yolk mooncakes

…and at one time, over in the peninsula, there was a whole lot of commotion over some salted egg croissants but the excitement dissipated soon enough and there are salted egg dishes served in restaurants – our favourites include the fried salted egg pumpkin and this creamy salted egg prawn balls

Salted egg creamy prawns

…and this salted egg bitter gourd…

Salted egg bitter gourd

…and the salted egg spare ribs

Salted egg spare ribs

…as well and there are salted egg snacks too such as those packets of salted egg fish skin, for instance.

More recently, this salted egg instant mi goreng (fried noodles)…

Salted egg instant mi goreng

…appeared on the market and I did see a few friends sharing photographs of it on Facebook and of course, I wasted no time in asking how it was. Unfortunately, I did not get any response.

Well, the other day, I saw some at the mini-supermarket near my house, four packets for RM6.00 (RM1.50 each) so I bought them to try. I guess everyone would know only too well that this brand comes from Indonesia…

Made in Indonesia

…and in a packet, you will find the “curly” noodles and two sachets of seasoning…

Sachets

…or three, depending on how you look at it.

I was puzzled by the “solid ingredients” and was wondering if that one contained those dehydrated vegetables that I would need to boil to soften. When I cut it open, it turned out to be the bumbu (seasoning)…

Seasoning & chili

…and I could detect the smell of salted egg in it.

However, the sauce in the other sachet seemed rather strong with the smell of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) so my guess would be that they had fish sauce in it and when tossed altogether with the noodles…

Cooked...

…it drowned out whatever smell of salted egg that was there at the beginning.

All in all, I would say it tasted all right – I had it with my kerabu taugeh (pickled bean sprouts) by the side, garnished with a sprinkling of chopped fresh spring onions from my garden, and a fried egg…

...and served

…that I fried using my fairly new marble-coated frying pan. I have since avoided using my non-stick pans after I saw some articles on how they might be bad for health. As they say, better be safe than sorry!

Anyway, back to the noodles, at that price, I do think that I would just stick to the regular ones, seeing how it is not anything that would get me rushing back to the store for more.

Mine and yours…

It so happened that I dropped by the market one morning and I saw some fairly big seawater prawns selling at RM19.00 a kilo – the usual price would be around RM17 or 18. Perhaps it was due to the wet landas season and another reason could be the sellers have started keeping them for sale as Chinese New Year draws near at a much higher price to reap a more lucrative profit.

I bought 3 kg and went through the tedious task of peeling and de-veining them, putting aside some selected bigger ones and leaving their tails intact. I took the heads and the shell and washed thoroughly and boiled them to get the stock…and after that, I buried them under my rambutan tree.

Well, the stock was sitting in the fridge all this while and one morning, while the ladies were out of town, I decided to take it out and cook some Sarawak laksa broth and I used some of the prawns (the ones with the tails) for the topping. I also fried some pieces of omelette and sliced them into thin strips for that same purpose…and that was what my own-cooked Sarawak laksa was like that day, garnished with the daun sup (Chinese parsley/celery/cilantro) from my garden…

My Sarawak laksa 1

It was on my no-meat Friday so I did not have any shredded chicken and it was raining that morning so I did not go out to buy some taugeh (bean sprouts) and of course, that saved me the trouble of having to pluck the tails but, yes, I did pound some very nice and very very spicy hot sambal belacan to go with it…

My Sarawak laksa 2

It was very nice – I had a bowl for breakfast and another one for lunch and I did save two servings of it for the ladies to enjoy when they came home. There was a whole lot of it so I sent it over for the wonderful people at Payung to enjoy to reciprocate for the birthday treat that they gave me a couple of days earlier.

They all loved it and Peter particularly loved the sambal belacan. Maybe there was not enough for all of them to eat to their heart’s content or as what Peter said, he did cook it before though not quite successfully so he wanted to try again. That was why earlier last week, on Tuesday, he invited me and the ladies (they had come home by then) to drop by the cafe and enjoy HIS Sarawak laksa.

Unlike mine, his had the whole works – the bihun

Bihun

…and the prawns, shredded chicken and thinly sliced egg omelette…

Prawns, chicken and omelette

…with some sawtooth coriander for garnishing and the lightly blanched taugeh, heads and tails removed…

Taugeh

According to Peter, he will always get rid of the heads as that is the part, the bean, that may trigger off a gout attack.

He prepared one bowl for me, with bunga kantan (torch ginger flower) petals added…

One bowl for me

…and two for the ladies…

Two for the ladies

…and yes, we sure enjoyed it a lot!

His was very nice as well but different from mine – for one thing, his was creamier…

Peter's laksa 1

In general, Sibu folks love it with a lot of santan (coconut milk) but Kuching people would frown on it insisting that it would end up like curry instead and authentic Sarawak laksa should not be like that. Well, it wasn’t that creamy…

Peter's laksa 2

…not like many sold at the stalls around the town so it was not overly rich and very much to our liking.

Thank you so much, Peter, for going through all that trouble to cook this exclusively for us. Now, let’s see what we can cook next… LOL!!!

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.

Is it good to you…

My niece, the one working in Singapore, gave us this…

Prima Taste nyonya curry paste

…sometime ago and the other day, I decided to give it a try.

So far, I loved the mee siam from this company – the one in boxes, now selling for over RM20.00 here but I was not that impressed with the mee siam goreng paste in packets. The laksa, also in boxes, was good too – we had it with bihun and I also used it before to cook a very nice sayur lodeh or what we call sayur masak lemak.

It said MILD on the packet…

Mild

…so I thought it could do with a bit more chili…

Added ingredients 1

…and since I had to pound that, I threw in a bit of kunyit (turmeric) and lengkuas (galangal) as well.

I did hear that they add tomato puree in Indian curry and since I had this…

Tomatoes

…I decided to add a few.

So these were the added ingredients I prepared…

Added ingredients 2

…together with our usual chopped Bombay onion, serai (lemon grass) and curry leaves.

I marinated the thin slices of beef with the paste…

Beef

…and I also boiled some potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks…

Potatoes

…to add to the dish.

It looked all right…

Beef curry 1

…and tasted fine but no, it was not quite like the curry that I imagined it to be. I don’t know if I had gone a bit overboard in throwing in all the extras…

Beef curry 2

…but in comparison, I would say that our Malaysian own A1 Mountain Globe curry pastes for meat or for seafood would win hands down.

Ah well! As they say, you’ll never know unless you try…and to me, this isn’t that good…or to me, at least.

Offer…

I did say in a recent post that I would not be all that keen to buy Bovril or Marmite these days as they do not come cheap and I would just have to learn to live without them. However, I came across this special offer…

Bovril special offer

…at a supermarket the other day, selling for RM26.00 but one would get a small bottle valued at RM10.50 so it would work out to only RM15.50 for the big bottle. Incidentally, I saw a similar offer for Marmite at another supermarket but I had already bought this one so I would not want to buy that even though the expiry date is not until the end of 2019.

I saw this photograph…

Photograph

…at the back of the box and of course, I wasted no time in reading their recipe for the dish…

Recipe

It sure looked like how I would cook my Bovril noodles or mee sua except that I would never add that bit of water for the sauce. As a matter of fact, in the preparation of kampua or kolo mee or my version of the mee sua, the noodles must be drained absolutely dry. If you go for the noodles at a stall or shop in town and there is a bit of water at bottom, it would be best that you go elsewhere next time – there should not be anything of the sort, no sauce whatsoever unlike wanton mee over in the peninsula.

I had never  tried cooking pasta of any kind this way though and I heard that they serve this…

Bovril pasta
*Photo from their Facebook page*

…at this café in town but I never dropped by there as it did not look like they had anything much that would be gluten-free. Probably I can stop by one of these days to give it a try and write a review of it – it sure looks good in the photograph.

In the meantime, I went and took some of my girl’s gluten-free spaghetti to try and cook my own. I peeled and sliced one shallot and fried it in some oil…

Fried shallot and oil

…till it had turned slightly brown – that would be the time to remove it from the hot oil as it would eventually turn golden brown in the residual heat. If you wait a little later, it might get burnt and not only would it look bad, it would taste bad too, and kind of bitter as well.

I poured the oil onto a plate and added a spoonful of Bovril and chopped spring onions…

Ingredients

…from the ones growing in abundance in my garden, saving a bit for garnishing later. You can add a pinch of msg…and pepper and pounded chili/chili sauce, if you so desire.

After boiling the spaghetti – this gluten-free one took much longer, around 15 minutes till it was al dente, I drained it well and tossed it with the aforementioned ingredients and served it with some slices of my missus’ own-made fish cake (there was still one left in the fridge at the time), garnished with the fried shallots and spring onions and I also fried an egg to go with it…

My Bovril gluten-free spaghetti 1

Personally, I felt it was, at best, just all right…

My Bovril gluten-free spaghetti 2

– nowhere near our freshly-made kampua mee or mee pok…or the dried mee kua/mee sanggul or those instant noodle-like egg noodles sold in the supermarket nor was it in any way, nicer than mee sua.

Let me go and try that one at that café one of these days and I’ll get back to all of you on this.

Same on the inside…

No, not really. Actually it was the same on the outside but different inside.

I bought two packets of the puff pastry, over RM6.00 each with 10 sheets inside one packet so it works out to over 60 sen per sheet. Personally, I thought that was inexpensive and the best part, of course, was that the pastry was really very flaky and very nice after baking. I used a packet to make the sardine rolls so I had one left and I decided to make some tuna curry puffs with it.

I went and bought a can of the tuna curry…

Tuna curry

…and prepared the ingredients – one Bombay onion chopped, curry leaves and chilies, sliced…

Ingredients

…and I also peeled some potatoes and cut them into tiny cubes…

Potatoes

…and once, that was done, I proceeded to fry the filling…

Filling

I also boiled some eggs and cut them into wedges…

Eggs

…and once everything was ready, I started to make the puffs…

Wrapping

…with the filling and the egg inside. I used a fork to press down the edges and to poke some holes on top to let the air out whilst baking…

Wrapped

…and of course, I egg-washed each of them on top before putting them into the oven…

Baking

It turned out really well…

Baked

…but unfortunately, unlike the sardine rolls, because the triangles occupied more space, I could only bake 5 at a time in the tray.

With the remaining pastry, I made three rolls and two regular curry puffs with the twisted edges…

Twisted edges

…just that I could not do that very well.

It turned out all right…

Done

…though and the pastry was great…

Not enough filling

…just that I wished I could stuff in a lot more filling. Maybe if I rolled the pastry, I could make the pieces bigger and thinner and then I would be able wrap more inside – I’ll try that the next time I buy another packet.

For Pete’s sake…

My good friend, Peter, the boss of Payung, mentioned to me before that he loved sardine rolls but they were not available anywhere in town so that day, I decided to make some to give to him.

I remember way back in the good ol’ days, the girl students were taught to make these in their Home or Domestic Science lessons, among a whole lot of other useful things but of course, they do not have that subject in school anymore and if I am not wrong, they would use shortcrust pastry to make the rolls.

I do not have a problem at all making shortcrust pastry but I do not want to buy a box or a bag of wheat flour and use about half and end up stuck with the rest – we would not be using that for anything these days as my girl is gluten intolerant. That was why I went to the supermarket and bought this frozen puff pastry…

Puff pastry

My girl bought and used it before and we all agreed that it was very good but of course, we cannot buy that and use anymore these days.

It is so very easy to use – you just take it out of the freeze and let it thaw…

Let it thaw

…and that does not take very long. In the meantime, you can work on the filling and that was exactly what I did.

I had these two small cans of mackerel…

Canned mackerel

…in the pantry so I decided to use those. I mashed the fish…

mashed

…keeping just a bit of the sauce in case if it was too wet, it might flow out of the rolls during the process of baking and make quite a mess.

These were the ingredients I prepared…

Ingredients

– one Bombay onion, chopped, sliced chilies and Thai Basil leaves and some spring onions (I just added these simply because I had a lot growing in my garden)…and after frying the onion in a bit of oil till softened and cooked, I added all the rest before adding the mackerel. Easy-peasy, done in no time at all…

Filling

Next came the process of wrapping the rolls. I egg-washed the sides and placed the filling in the middle of the pastry…

Wrapping 1

…and then I folded in one end like this…

Wrapping 2

…and rolled it over the other end. After that, I sealed the ends and pressed them down well using a fork and I cut slits on top…

Finishing touches

…using a knife to let the air escape whilst baking.

Of course, I had to egg-wash all the rolls on top as well…

Egg-washed

…so that once they were done, they would have the nice golden coating like this…

Done

As soon as they were done…

Mackerel rolls

…I quickly sent them over to the café for Peter and all the nice people there to enjoy. Of course I was delighted when everyone starting praising the rolls to the skies – they all loved them, it seemed.