Sometime last week, I saw some nice sweet potatoes so I decided to cook sayur masak lemak (vegetables cooked in coconut milk). Other than a few of those, I also bought one small cabbage, some tau hu phok (fried bean curd), a packet of fish balls and bean curd sticks; I didn’t have much to choose from at that supermarket near my house. Anyway, once I got home, I pounded some shallots, garlic, chillies, kunyit (tumeric) and belacan, all mixed together, some udang kering (dried prawns) pre-soaked in hot water and the ends of serai (lemon grass). I also peeled the sweet potatoes and cut them into cubes, cut the cabbage into large pieces and the tau hu phok into quarters and soaked the bean curd sticks. Then I was ready to roll…
I heated some oil in the wok and threw in the pounded ingredients…and when they’ve turned light brown, I put in the fish balls and tau hu phok and added water. Then I put in the sweet potatoes and bean curd sticks…and when it had started to boil, I added a can of santan (coconut milk). When it started to boil again, I added salt (according to taste; msg is optional as it will be very sweet already)…and then I threw in the cabbage, turned off the fire and covered the wok. The trapped heat would be sufficient to cook the vegetable without getting it all soft and soggy.
You can see the sayur masak lemak at the top of the photo. Other things that I could have added include prawns, pucuk paku (wild fern), young corn, black fungus and so on, and when you add a bit of this and a bit of that, you end up with a big pot that could feed an army. That was what happened in my case…so I gave some to my mum, some to my in-laws and some to my aunt in the Jackfruit Village (Kpg Nangka) who said it was very nice and coming from her, THAT would be a compliment!!!
And as they say, what goes around comes around…and she gave me some beef curry and one whole ikan terubok masin (salted fish). I fried a bit and kept the rest for future consumption; you can see it at the bottom left of the photo. Besides, she also gave me some buah kepayang (It was very nice but I don’t know what that is! Maybe gundot can help?) in sambal ikan bilis. That’s the dish in the bottom right corner. Then my in-laws gave me a big pot of braised five-spice pork with hard boiled eggs. Gosh! I had enough food to last a week!!!
And since we’re on the subject of food and cooking, I would like to share with everybody something about cooking kailan. In the past, I used to cut off the stalks and the stems and slice them if they’re too big…and I would cook this first to soften them before adding the leafy parts. I found out recently that instead of doing that you can slice the stems and stalks into long, thin strips and when soaked in water, they will curl up and form nice flowery shapes. When you fry them, they will cook easily and yet retain the shape. I cooked some yesterday and here’s what it looked like…..
Attractive and appealling or not? I fried it in a bit of oil with chopped garlic, a bit of belacan and red chillies and added some chicken stock granules. Nice!!! And today, I fried some cangkuk manis with egg…
So what have all of you been cooking lately…..