Alternative…

This is bubuk

Bubuk

…those tiny shrimps that they use to ferment and make cincaluk, dried and sold in packs of RM2.00 or RM4-5 each for the bigger ones.

It is seasonal and when they appear at our shores, that would be the time when they would start making belacan (dried prawn paste), cincaluk (fermented shrimps) or just dry them for sale and that would be the best time to buy and stock up on these things as they would be very fresh.

With the soaring prices of hay bee/udang kering (dried prawns) these days, going up to over RM100 at times, those straight ones from Igan, this would be a good alternative to use for sambal like what I did when I fried some rice that day.

I soaked a handful in hot water for a while to soften and then, I pounded it, adding a little bit of belacan to it, and I also pounded these ingredients…

Ingredients

…as well.

Once done, I was ready to roll…

Pounded

I heated some oil in the wok and yes, you may need a bit more than usual as the pounded shrimps (left) may soak up all of it later. Once it was hot enough, I added the pounded ingredients (right) and fried till brown before adding the serai (lemon grass), bruised…

Ingredients, fried

…and then, the rice went in.

I added a sprinkling of salt and an egg and mix it all together thoroughly before dishing it all out…

Nasi goreng udang kering 1

…and yes, it was very nice…

Nasi goreng udang kering 2

…just like when frying rice with the regular hay bee/udang kering but when I used it for my sambal buah emplam that day, I could see some tiny black spots in the sambal – those would be the eyes of the bubuk, perfectly safe for consumption.

Do you like it…

I have not had canned sardines for a long time now as it has tomato sauce in it. I did not have a closer look at the ingredients but if it is the bottled tomato sauce, there is wheat in it and so it is not gluten-free. Besides, we’re just okay with it, will eat but no, we’re not all that crazy about it and the same goes to the grilled ones…

Sardin panggang
*Archive photo*

…that they sell at the roadside stalls at the kampung…and so far, I’ve never ordered those roti (canai)/murtabak sardin that they would have on their menu at most, if not all, of the shops and stalls.

I did blog about having it straight from the can with sliced shallots and chilies added and a squeeze of calamansi lime, no cooking required, but my missus would cook it sometimes…and that was exactly what I did that day.

This is my favourite brand…

My favourite

…when it comes to canned sardines but my missus will always buy Ayam – maybe she likes it better, I wouldn’t know. Yes, to cook it, one would need one Bombay onion, peeled and sliced and chilies.

I fried the onions in a little bit of oil in the pan…

Onions

…just enough to do the job so I did not really need that much. Once the layers had been loosened, I added the chilies…

Chilies

…before I poured in the sauce from inside the can…

Sauce

It would be good to turn down the heat as once the sauce gets into contact with the aforementioned oil, it would splutter and you may make a horrible mess all over your cooker top.

I added a bit of tomato sauce and a sprinkling of sugar…

Tomato sauce & sugar

…for a thicker and stronger sweet and sour sauce. If I am not wrong, my missus would add a bit of soy sauce too and some garlic as well perhaps but I did not do that.

Lastly, I put the sardines in and brought everything back to boil before dishing it all out…

Sardines, cooked 1

Yes, that was our dinner…

Sardines, cooked 2

…that evening and I would say that I enjoyed it and no, we did not finish all the sardines in the big-sized can so the rest went into the fridge to be eaten another day.

So, tell me – how do you want your sardines done? Do you like it this way too?

FOOTNOTE:
KINDLY BE INFORMED THAT OWING TO MY PRESENT SITUATION AT HOME, THERE SHALL NOT BE ANY REGULAR DAILY POSTS ONCE THE ONES SCHEDULED TO BE PUBLISHED RUN OUT. HOPEFULLY, THEY WILL RESUME WHEN DEEMED FIT. Thank you

So simple…

If you eat at the Malay stalls and shops, you may get this by the side of your plate of nasi lemak or whatever you are having like the one here, for instance…

Cucumber pickle by the side
*Archive photo*

– what they call the acar timun (pickled cucumber).

There are nice ones but at times, some may be somewhat disappointing while others may be too sour or the cucumber is sliced too thickly and when I googled to see the recipe, the one I found only had cucumber (skin removed), Bombay onions, vinegar and sugar. For one thing, this is definitely a whole lot easier to make than the nyonya version…

Nyonya acar timun with keropok
*Archive photo*

…which we always enjoy eating with keropok (prawn crackers) – I wouldn’t want to try making that! Shudders!!!

When I decided to make my own the other day, I had cucumber…

Cucumber

…sliced thinly but no, I did not peel off the skin and I also had pineapples…

Pineapples

I added some thinly sliced chilies

Chilies

…and also some shallots…

Shallots

– I reckoned that would be more fragrant and would taste nicer than Bombay onions.

I also had some Thai basil leaves…

Thai Basil leaves

…whole as well as chopped, from my garden for the added fragrance and taste. I guess it is up to you what you see fit and would like to add. If I remember correctly, I think I’ve had some with star anise even but I was too lazy to rummage through the pantry to search for that.

I took around half a cup of vinegar, or maybe a little less than that, and added two tablespoons of sugar to balance the sour taste with the sweetness and stirred well to dissolve the latter, as much as possible. Then, I poured the solution into the bowl and mixed everything together well…

Acar timun

Yes, it was very nice so I put everything in a glass jar for storage in the fridge.

Now I have this acar timun to enjoy with my meals and the best part, of course, was the fact that it was so simple to make and no, there is no oil, no salt (though some recipes may call of a pinch of it) and no msg. Ain’t that great?

Did it before…

I did blog about this once last year but I had tuak, our traditional ethnic Dayak rice wine, then and unfortunately, I have run out of that so this time around, I would have to do without it.

This is so very simple really. To start off, place some daun kesum (Vietnamese mint or cilantro) and serai (lemon grass), bruised, in a container…

Daun kesum & serai

Marinate your chicken with some cincaluk (fermented shrimps). I just used a spoonful that day as my girl was home and I was afraid that she might not like it too strong.

Place the chicken in the container with the daun kesum and serai

Chicken & cincaluk

I did cut a few slits in the drumsticks to make sure that it would cook better inside.

Add some sliced ginger and Thai basil leaves…

Ginger & Thai basil leaves

…and I did add a bit of thinly sliced chili…

Chili

…as well for a bit of colour. It would be nice if the chili had been spicy but unfortunately, the ones I had in the fridge were not, not even a bit.

Steam that for around an hour or so…

Steamed

The longer you steam, the nicer the taste would be.

There is no need to add any water as in the process of steaming, the juices and the oils would come out of the chicken and there would also be the moisture from the steaming. Combined, the two would make a really delicious broth with the sweetness and taste of the chicken plus all the ingredients added, the leaves and all the rest, that is. Of course, you are free to add more of those if you would like a very much stronger taste.

This is definitely one healthy dish as there is no oil used in the cooking, no salt – the saltiness of the cincaluk would suffice and of course, there is no msg too. Perhaps you would like to give it a try?

Not so good…

I used to fry bihun with the canned clams in soy sauce or the canned stewed pork or pork chops, like what my mother used to do before. However, there is soy sauce in those tinned stuff and hence, they are not gluten-free so I’ve stopped doing that altogether.

We would use these canned oysters…

Canned oysters

…for our Foochow tofu soup, what we call tau hu tear…

Tau hu tear
*Archive photo*

…but the other morning, I decided to use that to fry some bihun to see if it would be any good. There is no soy sauce in it, just oysters and salted water…

Oysters and salted water

I had the usual ingredients…

Ingredients

…that I would use for my fried rice and the rest – some sliced shallots and chilies and chopped garlic and I also had some serai (lemon grass) harvested from my garden and kept in the freezer for use and some curry leaves that my missus had dried to make tea and drink – it was raining that morning so I could not go out to get some fresh ones but I planted my spring onions in a shaded area so I was able to get some and use.

I added some curry powder to the bihun, pre-soaked in hot water to soften, and mixed thoroughly…

Mix with curry powder

I reckon that doing it first this way, I would not have to do it while frying the bihun causing it to pecah-pecah (broken into little bits and pieces). I fried the shallots and garlic till golden brown, added the chili and the serai and curry leaves before putting in the oysters and then, the bihun went in.

When it was about done, I added eggs and the spring onions before I dished it all out…

Fried bihun with oysters

I would say it was all right but no, there was no taste of the oysters unless I bit into one of them and I felt I should have added more curry powder for a much stronger taste.

Other than that, it would be much nicer, I’m sure, with prawns or sotong (squid) and some vegetables or bean sprouts added or fried in other ways such as with belacan or tom yam paste or corned beef.

Just a little bit more…

Usually, when I baked chicken, I would rub the meat with salt and pepper and pop it into the oven to cook and yes, it always tasted great despite its simplicity and no, I am never one to bother about those very complicated recipes with a long list of ingredients…and an equally long description of the preparation and cooking procedure. Why make one’s life so hard when one is no gourmet chef and it’s for one’s own consumption?

Well, the other day, I decided to do just a little bit more with the chicken drumsticks that I bought. I cut slits in the meat and I rubbed it with salt and added freshly crushed pepper, crushed garlic, chili powder and thyme…

Marinating the chicken

…to marinate it.

My missus would usually put whatever meat onto the baking tray and place it in the oven but the juices would run out of the meat and turn black and end up burnt which means that she would have to soak the tray in the kitchen sink overnight and do a whole lot of scrubbing the next morning. I wouldn’t want to do that so I lined the tray with aluminium foil and place a rack over it. I don’t know why I did it but I did it all the same – I cut slices of lemon and place them on the rack…

Foil, rack and lemon

…and I squeezed the juice of the ends onto the meat and mix it altogether well.

I placed the drumsticks on top…

Drumsticks on top

…and in it went into the oven to bake. After sometime, I turned the drumsticks over to brown the other side as well and very soon, they were done…

Done

They sure looked gorgeous, don’t you think? Well, if you’re wondering whether they were any good, the lovely fragrance that filled the whole house sure said it all…

No, not much…

We’re coming to the end of the two-week mid-year school holidays and if you ask me what we’ve done, I’ll probably just say no, not much, just the usual stuff.

We went back here again one morning to buy the roti canai and the murtabak ayam (chicken) for my mum and while we were there, I had a second go at the very nice thosai masala (RM3.50)…

Curry House thosai masala

…while my girl wanted the thosai kosong (RM2.00)…

Curry House thosai kosong

The mum had the thosai bawang (RM2.70), 70 sen more than the plain one but there was nothing much inside, just some bits of chopped Bombay onion and everyone agreed that the thosai masala that I had was the best.

I also dropped by the Malay kueh stall at the kampung (Kampung Hilir) one morning when the ladies wanted to go to the supermarket there and I was delighted that they had the much coveted Kate panggang for sale…

Kate panggang

…However, though they were priced the same, at RM1.10 sen each, they had shrunk so much – each of them used to be around a foot long but now they were barely half the length and could fit nicely in a saucer! They tasted all right but some were quite disappointing. I think they panggang-ed it too long till the pulut (glutinous rice) on one side was kind of hard and not all that palatable. If that is their standard these days, I sure will think twice before I buy anymore of their panggang.

I enjoy eating these too – the sambal pulut (50 sen each)…

Sambal pulut

…but they used to be wrapped in banana leaves. Well, it did not really matter that they are not as I thought the ones I bought that day were quite good.

I went to our central market that morning, Sunday. I have not gone for a long long time, not since before Chap Goh Meh early in the year, I think. One reason is that I would be busy in the morning doing my gardening till past 9.00 a.m. and after that, we would make our way to my parents’ house to spend the rest of the morning there with them till it was time for brunch/lunch.

It was not a good idea going on a Sunday as I could not find a place to park anywhere near the market so I had to leave my car in a distance and walk all the way there. Walking there was fine but when I had to walk back with all my purchases, I must say I did not enjoy that.

Well, I had to go there as I wanted to buy some of those giant freshwater udang galah or tua thow hay (big-headed prawns), RM50.00 a kilo this size and I saw some huge sotong (squid) about the size of my arm, going for RM23.00 a kilo and since my girl loves squid, I had to buy that too. My missus cooked this asam seafood dish…

Asam seafood

…that day and if I calculate, I think that would be around RM30.00 for the prawns and the sotong used. Well, we do not eat this every day so I guess it is perfectly all right to indulge a bit and pamper ourselves sometimes.

You can imagine my delight when I saw that buah emplam was in season – there were a lot of stalls at the jungle produce section selling it and of course, I wasted no time in buying a kilo (RM10.00) to make the sambal

Buah emplam sambal

…to go with rice during our meals. It sure was good and I had to control myself not to go for a second plate of rice every meal. Yum yummmm!!!

So what have you all been up to lately? Anything interesting to share?

CURRY HOUSE (2.304051, 111.848937) is located on the right along Lorong Pahlawan 7B/3, the lane heading straight towards the Sibu Bus Terminal while the KAMPUNG HILIR MALAY KUEH STALL (2.306518, 111.818691) is located to the right of the SEDC Hawker Centre, opposite the MDS Supermarket at Simpang Tiga – the confluence of Jalan Kampung Hilir, Jalan Kampung Nangka, Jalan Awang Ramli Amit and Jalan Bunga Normah 4.