Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fishball Soup - Historically

We had this as dinner last night. This, along with that tofu finger, is an all-time-favorite back in my household. Kakak kept on complementing me while finishing her small bowl. (auwww.. that little girl is such an angel these days, she even handed us a tissue each to wipe our mouth while eating) And she even shared mine and mdh’s. The recipe is easy-peasy that I don’t even have the heart to pen it down here. You know, the usual sautee of ginger and garlic, the adding of water. Then add chunks of potato and finally carrot wedges. The ‘star’ of this dish is homemade fishball.

The homemade fishball was purely coincidental when I first did my FISHBALL SOUP. We were at Pasar Sungei Besi doing our usual shopping for lauk and sayur. Mdh was looking for some crabs for our CHILLI CRAB lunch. They say, when it’s at the middle of bulan Islam, crabs will have more flesh. But I guess living not so near the sea, I can’t use that judgement for buying some. The crabs may have been caught days ago, or even week. Anyway, when it comes to crab, mdh always does the testing and selecting. He’d ‘jentik’ (what’s the word in English eh?) the shell and from the way it sounds, he’d know if the crab has full flesh or not. So, on that day, I was waiting for him doing his testing and selecting. I couldn’t help but to notice the guy at stall nearby scraping the flesh of tenggiri papan. The he pounded the flesh dengan gigihnya until it was all mashed and tender. That was the first time I bought his produce. We came again many times later, more often than not, standing impatiently while he did his job. I remember at one time, he told me that I could very well do that at home actually. He even gave me his trade secret! But I prefer to wait on. There was one time we decided to go have breakfast while he pounded and only remember about that when we were almost at the car to go back home. Nevertheless, mdh fetched it. The guy had already finish selling actually but he waited on for us to take a portion which he had kept. Eventho it was just fish, I was a bit terharu with his gestures.

Anyway, usually I add ‘suun’ (glass noodle) into it but last night mdh suggested that we use dried noodle he purchased from Jusco. I boiled them until tender and put them into small bowls. While sembahyang Isya’ I let the soup to simmer and when I’m done with prayer, I just scooped the steaming hot soup into the bowl. Memang pantang mdh makan soup sejuk or even yang suam-suam. He likes it steaming hot. Itupun dia komplen dah sejuk sikit (sebab sibuk ambik gambo punya pasal). Yang oi, kalau you nak sentiasa mendidih, kenalah makan dalam periuk yang tertenggek atas dapur tu! Anyway, we’re eyeing for that electric pot we often find in steamboat restaurants. Kalau ada rezeki, insyaAllah kami beli.

oh.. it's called Beijing Noodles.. pretty exotic huh?

got halal maaa

That's the history of FISHBALL SOUP. Pretty boring huh?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Crispy Tofu Fingers

It was a hit in our little household. Big and small alike. Young and old alike. Boys and girls alike. Kakak loves it. I had to literally chased kakak and mdh away from the kitchen while I was frying. So, sharing the recipe here..


1. *Egg tofu - 5 pcs - blended finely
2. *Fish meat - about 200gm - blended finely
3. *Prawn - about 200gm - buang kulit and blended finely
4. Salt, sugar and pepper
5. Sesame oil - 1/2 teaspoon
6. Egg - 2
7. Oil - for frying
8. Corn flour - to coat

- Mix items marked *.
- Add salt, sugar, pepper and sesame oil. Mix well.
- Add eggs. Mix well.
- Steam for 15-20 minutes.
- Let to cool. Cut into fingers.
- Coat in corn-flour.
- Fry till golden brown.

1. Add bits of carrots, chillies and daun sup to enhance flavour.
2. I need to line the periuk with tracing paper as the mixture stuck a bit after steaming albeit the oil I carefully sental inside the periuk.

Pau Kacang Merah


9.35 a.m. – Began careful mixing of ingredients while thinking what to do with Nurul Athirah to entertain her other than breaking promises to go round-round petang nanti since it rains almost everyday late afternoon. Berpeluh wei, the recipe says kneading should take about 10 minutes, at least. Memula buat kat counter-top, then went down on the floor then went up back when Iman started to showed interest in what I was doing.

9.45 a.m.
– Kneading ended. Decided to bring Kakak and Iman to Jusco. Told mdh, in English. Kakak was getting curious at the word Jusco (our official language at home is Bahasa Melayu with heavy accent from the east-coast, English is used as secret codes) and demanded explanation. Told her about the plan but we were not going until I’m done with my pau thingy. Divided the big dough into small balls. Uneven tho. I was tensed inbetween Kakak’s interrogations and my curiosity on how well will the yeast react.

10.00 a.m.
– The dough was well rested I guess, so I started to press them flat and put the filling and shaped them back into balls. Placed them on tracing papers which was unevenly cut. (I was tensed, she kept on asking me when we were actually leaving for Jusco).

10.30 a.m.
– Prepared the steamer.

10.40 a.m. – Steamed first batch. Kakak was getting upset and impatient. I had to pretend I was busy preparing for the outing. I paced around with a backpack while she paced around alongside me.

10.50 a.m.
– Voila, my first effort in doing pau. Bangganya hatiku bila pau kembang gebu dan menawan. At this point, I couldn’t take it anymore with Kakak. I just left the other batch, covered with damp towel and left for Jusco. Bring along 2 sampels to taste and received good comments from mdh and Kakak.

1.00 p.m. – Came back from Jusco. Full stomach from the lunch we had in Johnny’s. Kakak got herself a storybook ‘Barbie – 12 Dancing Princesses’ and Iman ‘Dance Along with Baby Mumble’ (Happy Feet – but he says it as happy tits…. ngeh.. ngeh.. ngehh..). But look at my dough… uwaaaa…… they became overly fluffy and grew so big that they stuck together. Even Kakak said, ‘macam bungalah ummi’. Yarrighttt Athirah, you are among the contributors that caused them so big. I think they even resembles cleavage in some ways, don’t you think? But I steamed them anyway.

3.00 p.m. – Done eating all pau. In total we ate 10 pau that day.

OFI (Opportunity for Improvement)

1. I need to mash the filling more finely and put a little bit more sugar and … the great ‘nnesang kerek’

2. Do not leave your uncooked pau unattended for a longggg time, they’ll act funny and turn out funny


1. Does yeast makes you fart more?

2. Can I use a mixer to do the kneading? If so, which ‘pemutar’ should I use? I’m sure it’s not the thing that resembles a whisker, right. Is it the thing that looks like spring tu ke? Can somebody tell me?

Btw, the recipe is here..
:: PAU KACANG MERAH (it goes in 2 parts: i. The filling ii. The dough)


1. Red beans – 2 or 3 handfuls
2. Sugar – 6 tablespoon (I used 4 tablespoon + ¼ nnesang kerek)
3. Cooking oil – just a bit

4. Water


- Soak red beans, preferably overnight. Wash clean and put in a pot.
- Add water and boil until tender.

- Add sugar and nnesang kerek.

- When the water recede, add a bit of cooking oil and continue cooking until the water dries off.

- Mash finely.



1. Wheat flour – 500gm (I used tepung pau from Blue Key)

2. Dry yeast – 1 ½ teaspoon

3. Corn oil – ¼ cup

4. Sugar – ½ cup
5. Warm water – 1 ½ cup


- Mix flour, yeast and corn oil in a bowl.

- Dilute sugar in warm water.
- Add water into flour-mix bit by bit.
- Knead into a dough. (Approximately 10 minutes) and divide into small balls. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
- Roll flat the balls and put in the filling.

- Roll back into a shape of a ball and place them on tracing paper.
- Leave to rest for 40 minutes under damp towel. They’ll double the size.
- Steam for 10 minutes.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Nasi Dagang & Gulai Ikan Tongkol

Nota ~ bukan hasil masakan kami. Ni dibeli di pasar malam semalam

Balik Raya Haji baru-baru ni, MIL buat Nasi Dagang. Katanya mdh yang nak makan. Bila saya tanya mdh, dia kata takde pun dia berhajat gitu. Anyway, dah terlanjur membuat tu, saya salin resepinya. It comes in 2, one part untuk gulainya, the other untuk nasinya. Sebenarnya ada acar tapi masa tu kami tak buat.

:: Do you know ikan aya/tongkol comes in at least 2 types? One is all-black body, the other is grey-black (aya kurik, as the trengganuspeak goes). Opt for all-black. The flesh is more tender and tastes better.

:: Do you know ikan kerisi (ikan uji rashid) also comes in at least 2 types? One is all white-orange while the other has a yellow-stripe that goes from the body right up almost to its tail. Choose the one without. One with the stripe has harder flesh.

Back to our recipe..

1. Ikan aya hitam – 1-2 ekor (cut into big chunks and ‘mati air’)

2. Rempah gulai - 1 1/5 senduk
3. Bawang kisar – 5 senduk (aiseh, this one is available in abundant back in Tgg, kat KL tak sure nak cari kat mana, nanti kalau saya balik kampung boleh order)
4. Cili boh – 3 senduk
5. Halia+kunyit+lengkuas (kisar)
6. Nnesang kerek – ¼ kerek
7. Santan – 750 ml
8. Asam keeping

- Panaskan minyak dalam periuk
- Tumis bahan 2-6 hinga wangi dan pecah minyak
- Masukkan asam keping.
- Masukkan air, biarkan mereneh.
- Masukkan santau, biarkan mendidih.
- Masukkan ikan.
- Didihkan hingga masak.
*Lepas dimatikan api, boleh masukkan cili padi. Tak perlu potong. Whole cili padi.

1. 12 pot beras biasa
2. 1 pot beras pulut
(1&2 dicampur dan direndam semalaman atau 6 jam, kemudian basuh dan toskan)
3. Santan – campurkan dengan sedikit garam dan gula pasir
4. Halba
5. Halia – hiris halus (matchstick)
6. Bawang merah – hiris halus

- Kukuskan beras selama 45 minit - 1 jam. Lapik kukusan dengan daun pisang supaya beras tak jatuh masuk dalam air kukusan)
- Angkat dan gaul rata. Tambah sedikit air dan gaul lagi.
- Kukus lagi selama 45 minit – 1 jam
- Angkat dan gaul sekali lagi
- Masukkan santan. Gaul rata
- Masukkan halba, halia dan bawang merah (ramas-ramas sikit waktu nak tabor tu). Gaul sebati
- Sedia untuk dihidangkan
*Lepas masuk santan, nasi tak dikukus lagi. Tak sesuai kalau nak simpan lama-lama, takut basi.

Rebus ikan dengan halia, lengkuas, asam keeping, garam dan sedikit nnesang kerek hingga masak.
Kalau goreng pun sodapp. Atau buat sambal berlada makan dengan nasi lemak. Perghh.. kalau mak mertua saya masak, suami saya mesti makan banyak. Dia mesti refer, sambal nasi lemak mi. I have a lot to live up to, don’t you think?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eating In vs Eating Out

It used to be such a ceremony when we ate at home. It was like a celebration in a way. Reason being, we rarely ate home. Likewise celebration, it is done once in a while only. We don't celebrate everything everyday, right. Things changed when we got older and have more kids. It is no longer economical to feast outside plus, at home we need not worry where Iman roams. We can still enjoy our meals when he does that. The other reason - it is better for our health. Note - we still eat outside but minimally.

I always got the impression that cooking will take a lot of our time as opposed to eating outside. It's true but somehow we are managing ourselves better. Somehow, for some reason I cannot explain, we now have better time management, our home is much more neater and cleaner. I even mop the house 2-3 times a week. I can get up earlier and I feel much heathier and energetic (plus, I take ELKEN spirulina and drink a lot of water). I rarely have bundles of laundry sitting on the couch like I used to. You really have to try this out (eating in or ELKEN).

By venturing into this, there's a lot that we've learnt and there's more to come, undoubtedly. We explore new recipes, new ways of cooking. We asked around and been told of hows, whats and wheres pertaining to cooking. And that is one of the reason why my inlaws packed us such a huge bundle of beef during recent Eidul Adha (hence, the Daging No49 and Murtabak. Murtabak has been 2 weekends in a row already!)

We hope to get ourselves an oven so we can move into baking and roasting and explore into break, buns and cakes in future.

Anyway, I'm sharing 3 recipes (refer to my 3 recent posts before this one). Please note that I don't write the quantity. This is something hard when you use your opinion and calculated everything based on experience and gut-feeling.

Despite that, I hope you can still enjoy what we share here.

Murtabak Daging & Kari Ayam Sempoi

We had these for today's breakfast. Easy yet tasty. The murtabak filling, specially prepared by mdh the night before. We didn't prepare the skin tho, we used the instant one instead. I don't know about KL but in mdh's hometown, it can be easily purchased. We intend to do it ourselves in future. So, if you know how, please share it with us.

I prepared the Kari Sempoi, to be eaten with Murtabak. I used chicken fillet and instant coconut milk aje.
So, here goes the recipe

1. Murtabak skin
2. Beef - minced finely
3. A bulb of onion - diced
4. Coriander leave - minced
5. Kurma powder
6. Salt, sugar & pepper to taste
7. A bit of water
8. Garlic - minced
9. Egg

- Mix beef with kurma powder, set aside
- Heat oil in a pan/wok
- Fry garlic until fragrant
- Add beef and fry for a while
- Add water and let the beef to soften
- Add diced-onion and coriance leave - mix well
- Add salt, sugar and pepper to taste
- Leave to cook
- Set aside to cool a bit.
- Break egg into the mixture, mix well
- Set in the skin and fold to cover
- Fry with just a little oil until fully cook

1. Chicken fillet - diced
2. Bawang kisar
3. Chilli boh
(Mix 1,2 and 3. Set aside)
4. Rempah-4-sekawan (cinnamon stick, cardamom, star anise and clove)
5. Salt and nnesang to taste (Nnesang ->gula kelapa or known as nisan kerek)
6. Asam keping
7. Santan
8. A bit of water

- Heat oil in a wok/pan/pot
- Fry rempah-4-sekawan till fragrant
- Add chicken, fry for a little while
- Add water and let to simmer
- Add santan and let to boil. Stir occasionally
- Add salt, nnesang and asam keping
- Let to boil until cooked

Steamed Fish

1. Whole fish - cleaned, dried and cut in such a way that it 'lies' down (as seen in TV or magazine)
2. Garlic - slice thinly
3. Ginger - slice thinly
4. Juice of a limau nipis
5. Coriander leaves + onion spring - chopped coarsely
6. Tomato - slice thickly
7. Nampla (fish sauce)

- Prepare steamer
- Put fish in a dish and add all ingredients except tomato
- Steam for 15-20 minutes
- Tutup api, add tomato and close back the lid, leave for 5 minutes or until tomato soften

We didn't get to buy ikan kerapu as we wish. (Ikan siakap, which was available, is not suitable for steaming since it has one kind of smell and taste. But it's good for frying) And guess what we used yesterday? Dory fillet! (Originally bought to be batter-fried and eaten with potato wedges) It was so-so lahh. But it would be a whole lot better with kerapu I think!

Daging No49

1. Daging - cut into small, thin pieces, washed and dried
2. Garlic - minced
3. Chicken stock - thin stock
4. Salt, sugar & pepper to taste
5. Oyster sauce
6. Corn flour - mix with a bit of water
7. Chillies (deseeded) & spring onion - cut for garnishing

1. Wheat flour + corn flour - 7:3 ratio
2. Salt & pepper
3. Egg
4. Water
(mix together to form a batter for coating)

- Heat oil in a wok
- Coat beef slices in batter and deep-fry
- Remove and set aside
- Remove oil from wok, leaving just enough to 'tumis'
- Fry garlic until fragrant
- Add chicken stock. Let to simmer
- Add oyster sauce, salt, pepper and sugar to taste
- Add corn flour to thicken
- Add fried beef and mix well
- Remove from wok and garnish with chillies and onion spring