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Piece by piece…

I did not cook anything really special when my girl came home on Friday for the weekend but I made these bergedil or potato patties or croquettes for her. She loves bergedil and at times, they are available at my regular Malay kuih stall at Bandong here. They’re not bad, I would say, though they are usually a tad too oily.

There were two potatoes left in the house so that was all I had to work upon. I washed them, cut them into quarters (so it would be easier to cook) and boiled them. In the meantime, I chopped some spring onions from my garden and peeled, sliced and pounded one Bombay onion…

spring onionsBombay onion

…and I also soaked some udang kering (dried prawns) and pounded them to add to the ingredients. After that, I added some breadcrumbs…

Udang keringBread crumbs

In the past, I had pounded my own cheese crackers but there wasn’t any in the house and I saw a half-used pack of breadcrumbs in one of the airtight containers in the pantry so I just decided to use that instead. Of course, it would be nice to add minced meat, beef especially, but I decided to do it differently.

I mixed everything together and then I put in the boiled potatoes, peeled and eyes removed…

Mix wellAdd potatoes

…and mashed them well. I broke an egg and beat it and added a bit to the mixture as a binding agent…and saved the rest for use later.

Once everything was ready…

Ready to roll

…I rolled the mixture into little balls and flattened them into pieces…

Pieces

…ready to be fried.

I heated some oil in a pan and once it was hot enough, I dipped each piece into the aforementioned egg, coated it with breadcrumbs and dropped it into the oil to fry till golden brown…

Potato croquettes 1

There you are! I let the pieces stand on some kitchen towel for a while to absorb any excess oil…before putting them in a plate to serve…

Potato croquettes 2

It certainly was not difficult to make and I sure would want to make some more some other time and try adding some other ingredients like cheese or ham or bacon. I bet with those, they would taste great too!

Blank space…

“What is this?” I asked.

Mystery sambal 1

I had seen the bottle in the fridge for a few days but I did not know what it was that was inside.

It looked like some kind of sambal that she would use to fry paku or midin (wild jungle fern) or sweet potato leaves or vegetables such as kangkong (water spinach) or long beans. However, it did not look like it had any udang kering (dried prawns) inside but it sure had a very nice fragrance whatever that went into the pounded sambal

Mystery sambal 2

“I don’t know,” she replied…and then she added, “Maybe it’s your tom yam paste?”

No, it was definitely not my tom yam paste – that was still in the original bottle stashed away nicely in the fridge and this sure was not it. Maybe it was some sambal for her ayam balada – I could vaguely recall we had something like that not too long ago but never mind, since she said it was not hers, I decided to just use it and cooked this…

Sambal fried rice 1

Hehehehehehe!!!!

 I fried some ikan bilis in a bit of oil until golden brown and then I removed it to use later for garnishing. Then, I added the sambal into the oil and fried it till it was done before I put in the leftover rice that was in the fridge that morning. Finally, I added two eggs…and it was done! I garnished it with the aforementioned ikan bilis and some chopped spring onions from my garden…

Garnishings

…and served.

It certainly was very very nice and I would want to cook it this way again…

Sambal fried rice 2

– maybe I could add some prawns, pineapple…and lemon grass and curry and Thai basil leaves…and serve it with crushed peanut sprinkled over it. I bet that would be really good but the problem now is…I do not know what went into that mysterious bit of sambal though I am pretty sure I know where that came from. Wink! Wink!

I guess this temporary loss of memory or blackout comes with old age – the mind going blank suddenly. Sometimes, I was telling friends where to go and eat some nice dish…and I just could not recall the name of the place at that point in time…and ever so often, I had just put down my phone some place and I could not remember exactly where so I had to search high and low for it.

That has also happened before when I met my ex-students from way back when. Often, I would shock them by calling out their names and they would exclaim, “Wowwww!!!! You can remember, sir!!!” Of course, I could and I would take pride in that…but there had been occasions when I just could not put a finger on the student’s name and at times like this, I wished they would just tell me, “Hello, sir! Remember me? I’m so and so!” instead of letting me struggle, racking my brain for the elusive name…and the funny thing was, after a few days, the name would just pop up in my head like magic! Tsk! Tsk!

Anybody else in this same boat?

The choice is yours…

I dropped by this place again the other morning and I decided to try their kway teow goreng (fried flat rice noodles)…

De'Mas kway teow goreng

It seemed to have the exact same taste as the fried noodles I had the last time I was here. I guess it must be the same recipe, the same ingredients – they just substituted the yellow noodles with the kway teow…but it was nice, the way they did it, so I did not have any cause for complaint over the fact.

However, I could remember when I had the noodles the last time, though it tasted great, it was devoid of any added ingredients so when I saw them taking out the fried chicken wings from the kitchen, hot from the wok, I asked for one…

De'Mas fried chicken wing

…to go with my kway teow. That was a mistake! No, no…it tasted fine but when I was paying for my orders, I found out that it was RM3.00 each! Oh me oh my! I wonder how much the Colonel charges for one piece of chicken at his place. Long ago, chicken wings (usually the barbecued ones at the roadside stalls…or the deep fried ones at my school canteen before I retired) were RM1.00 each and then it went up to RM1.50…and then, RM2.00…but RM3.00!!! I might as well order a second plate of the kway teow! Tsk! Tsk!

And talking about the kway teow, it certainly was very reasonably charged – at RM3.00 only…compared to those chu-char places where they used to charge RM3.50 a plate (dunno if they have jacked up the prices now) and no, they would not have a lot of added ingredients either – bits of meat, egg and green veg that are hardly visible to the naked eye. So, what I had that morning – the kway teow and the chicken wing…

De'Mas kway teow and chicken wing

…came up to RM6.00. Ouch!!!

Thankfully, the kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee)…

De'Mas kopi-o-peng

…was only RM1.30 compared to RM1.50 at the Chinese coffee shops or RM1.80 for quite a while already at some others. It wasn’t really great though, not as kao (strong) as I would like it to be and typical of many Malay shops, it was very sweet. I certainly would have to put in a kurangkan gula (less sugar) request if ever I would have that again.

Works are going on in the area right now to give the place a nice new image – Bandong Walk, it will be called…

Bandong Walk in the making

…so all the makeshift stalls have shifted to the other side of the road for the time being but this one is new…

New stall

…located in the open space right beside my regular car wash place opposite. One of the guys told me that they would put out tables and chairs and the boys working at the car wash would help out with the serving at night. For one thing, they would be using electric ovens for their pizzas, not the traditional wood-fired stone ones and while I was getting my car washed that morning, the boys had turned the tv on…

Dangdut

…full blast, with some lady belting out a dangdut song.

Of course, the choice is mine…but if it is going to be that noisy, I think I’d pass…thank you very much!

I choose you…

If I were to choose one brand of luncheon meat that I like, it would be this one…

Porkies 1

…made in Denmark…

Porkies 2

…and because there isn’t all that much fat in it…

Porkies 3

…it is not so mushy like some brands and that would put me off right away.

It is salty though so one would have to eat it with rice or bread or add more egg when cooking. To reduce the fat/oil and to get a nice red crusty exterior, I grilled the pieces in a non-stick pan first till all the oil came out  and then I used the oil to fry the sliced Bombay onion and the eggs…and mixing all those together, it was done…

Porkies 4

So very easy! If you want to see photographs of what I did step by step, it is all here in my 2012 post…except that this time around, I did not add any curry leaves as it was raining very heavily that morning and I had no intention of going out to pluck some.

This is available at a number of places in town and prices vary around RM7-8.00 a can. I bought mine at RM7 something but I can’t remember exactly where now. These days, I jolly well can’t afford any of these…

SPAM

…anymore as I saw some at the supermarket near my house going for over RM12.00…and the last time I checked at another supermarket in the town centre, it was already over RM16.00. Absolutely outrageous, those prices…and they’re kind of hard and dry, anyway – not as nice.

These made-in-Singapore ones…

Singapore-made

…and these made-in-the EU, Singapore recipe…

Made in EU Singapore recipe

…are good too but I have not bought any for quite a while now so I am not sure of the current prices of these.

I was ok with the made-in-China Gulong brand at one time but if I’m not wrong, theirs do not come cheap anymore, around RM8.00 a can, and I did read somewhere that there are imitations. Anyway, as long as it is from China, my missus would not touch it…like the RM2.00 something (compared to RM5 something at least these days for the other regular brands) can of sardines that I thought was very nice but because of the bad press the products from there have been getting, I guess it is best to play safe and avoid buying any.

Let’s give it a try…

I still had two little sengkuang/mangkuang, two pieces of tau kua, a bit of prawns and some French beans left so I decided to fry some more popiah filling the same way that I did the other day. We had finished all the skin that we used the previous time but there was this pack…

Popiah skin 1

…in the fridge that my missus bought a while ago – though I wondered why since she has never been into making popiah. other than those little rolls with prawn sambal inside for occasions like Chinese New Year.

Well, this one isn’t as easy as the other peel-and-use type…

Popiah skin 2

…that one would only need to thaw once taken out of the freezer, that’s all.

It sure looks more like the freshly-made popiah skin…

Popiah skin 3

…though, just a little thicker and harder but once steamed, it would turn soft.

However, it tears rather easily though…

Popiah 1

…so it would be best…

Popiah 2

…not to apply the pounded chili or put the filling first. It was fine when I put the thinly-sliced omelette and lettuce first, before adding the filling and the chili, in whichever order, and crushed peanut (this could be at the bottom too, actually) on top and rolled…

Popiah 3

…and yes, one should not be over-ambitious and add too much filling to make one big popiah – the skin will give way, that’s for sure.

I would say it was all right and as the title of the song goes – ain’t nothing like the real thing!

And moving away from the subject of popiahs, I fried this for the girls for breakfast…

Fried bihun

…before sending them back to their school on Sunday – fried bihun with canned stewed pork chop and thinly-sliced French beans and egg. If anyone is interested, I’ve blogged about cooking it before right here…and like what I mentioned then, make sure you get the canned stewed pork chops as this would be mostly lean and all you need to do would be to get rid of the bones and mash the meat into bits and pieces.

Come, give it a try…

White as snow…

My girl loves this – they call it pek koi, literally translated as white cake but on the packet, it says rice cake. We used to get it from China and we had to soak it overnight in order to soften it before cooking. I tried it once but no, it was still hard, tough like rubber, so I never bothered to do it again. After all, I can’t say that I am particularly fond of it.

Well, it seems that freshly-made ones are available now…

Fresh pek koi

…at the wet markets or those shops selling vegetables and stuff like the one in the vicinity of the Dewan Suarah here, opposite Grace – the dianpianngu shop. There’s a shop near my house too but my missus says it’s available only twice a week – Thursdays and Sundays.

There are 5 pieces in one pack…

Pieces

…with the double happiness character embossed on each and each pack is selling for RM2.00 though I have heard people saying that they have paid more elsewhere.

To cook, one would need to cut the pieces into thin slices like this…

Sliced

…and one way to cook it would be like char kway teow. After all, kway teow is, in fact, rice noodles as well.

I just fried it with garlic, soy sauce, a bit of sugar and pepper, prawns and fish balls, egg and chopped spring onions…

Fried pek koi 1

…though I would want to add some taugeh (bean sprouts) as well but there wasn’t any in the fridge…

Fried pek koi 2

…so I had to do without that.

It was nice and there was enough for at least 3 or 4 plates of the same outside…

Kong Ma Ma pek koi
*Archive photo*

…usually going for RM3.50 each.

Of course, it is up to each individual how one wants to cook it…

Uncle Teh pek koi
*Archive photo*

…and I certainly would try some other recipes the next time I buy this to cook.

Second to none…

It was Friday again and my girl would be coming home from her school. The previous week, I cooked Sarawak laksa as a special treat for her and this week, I decided to make some popiah (spring rolls).

Yes, we can get these very nice ones here but nothing can beat our own home-made ones, a recipe that has been in my family since God knows when. I don’t know where my mum or aunties or whoever got the recipe from but all these years, ever since I was small, the popiah in my family has always been done this way and of course, if you ask me, I would state in no uncertain terms that it is second to none.

This is the very basic and the ingredients I prepared…

Filling ingredients

…for the filling included some prawns, peeled and de-veined and chopped, French beans, very finely sliced (I prefer these to long beans but that may be an alternative), tau kua (firm bean curd), cut into small slices, mangkuang/sengkuang (turnip), grated and one whole bulb of garlic, peeled and finely chopped.

I fried the garlic in a bit of oil till golden brown before adding the French beans followed by the prawns. Then, I added the tau kua and stirred well to break the slices up into smaller bits and after that, I added the mangkuang/sengkuang. I kept frying until it was good and ready…

Filling, done

…and then, I dished everything out. I said this is the basic as at times, we may add some minced pork as well…or even crab meat. Some people like to add carrots cut into thin strips to give it a bit of colour but I do not recall any of us ever doing that in our family.

Other than the filling, I had to fry some omelette and cut it into fine thin strips…

Others

…and I also had to prepare the “glue” – which is actually caramelised sugar, with cornflour added to make it thick and starchy and that is used for taste and also to hold down the skin after rolling. For the kacang tumbuk (crushed peanut), I just used the very nice khong therng that I still had in the house and my missus had just made some fresh chili dip so I did not have to do that…and I also bought some greens to go into the popiah.

There was some popiah skin in the freezer…

Frozen popiah skin

…so I did not bother to order any of the freshly-made ones, not that it is easy to do so here in Sibu. There is only one place where one can get that here – a tofu stall…and one would have to go there and place and order and collect the next day…and I am quite doubtful they would bother to entertain an order for just one kg or two and I think the last time I bought some, it was already RM10.00 a kg. So, these frozen ones would just have to do.

I placed the skin on a flat plate, coat a layer of the chili, place some bits of lettuce and on top of the leaves, I added the filling, followed by the omelette strips and lastly, the crushed peanut…

Add filling

…and then I rolled it up…

Rolled

 There you have it! One popiah, ready for the eating…

First bite

Yum! Yummmmm!!!!