"A plate of happiness"
I had heard many bloggers and friends rave about the delicious Penang style CKT from a stall known as Robert’s so I decided to take a little lunchtime trip over there to try it out. Robert’s has 4 stalls: In Sec17, SS2, SS20, and Taman Mayang Emas. I headed over to the original one in Sec17, which is located in a coffee shop called Say Huat. It took a while to find and we got lost a few times so by the time we finally arrived I was ravenous!
The man cooking at Robert’s is actually his grandson, Lim Cheng Soo. He quit school at 15years old to learn the art of preparing CKT and has been doing it successfully for the past 15years. It was difficult to get it right at first but after a lot of practice he got the hang of it and has been cooking it ever since. “The secret to a good char kuey teow is the fresh seafood. I go to the Selayang market weekly for fresh prawns, and the cockles I get at the Sec17 market,” he explains.
"Delicious Kelantanese treats"
There is something deeply comforting about going to an eatery where the proprietors recognize you, ask how your parents are doing, and slip in extra sambal without you asking. You see familiar faces here every morning and on weekends: the same elderly couples who have brought their kids and grandkids throughout the years. The matriarch of Restoran Jaya, a grand old lady by the name of Makcik Naimah, occasionally drops by but no longer tends the counter herself. Her children now run the place, happily taking orders and bussing tables while conversing with everyone in Kelantanese. As you can tell, everyone here grew up in this little restaurant, and that is my favourite part of it.
My usual hankering for a good bowl of laksam hit a little hard this morning, signaling that it is time to head over to Kelana Jaya. It is a quiet morning this time, and the man behind the counter waves at me as usual. My sister and I peer down the buffet line, even though it has been serving the same dishes ever since we were kids. Accoutrements for nasi dagang, nasi kerabu, nasi lemak and laksam are on display, beckoning our appetites. There is also a roti canai station right outside the shop; the clanks and sizzles from it become the soundtrack to our breakfast.
This morning however, my sister and I choose their nasi dagang and laksam. This is by far my favourite place to have laksam. They have off days every once in a while, but it is generally well done. Laksam noodles scissor-cut to order with a mound of raw vegetables piled on the side, and sweet fish gravy poured all over. It is the laksam I grew up with and will always crave on weekends. Today's one was excellent, satiating my cravings efficiently.
We decided to try out a few typical Indian sweets in the FC kitchen. These are quite simple to make and the flavours are strong. Milk seems to be a very popular ingredient in Indian sweets as are spices such as cardamom. Our office was filled with the milky cardamom aroma for hours.
These treats tend to be extremely sweet and rich so a… More »
We kid you not. The moment my friend switched on the stove I timed it. In reality, getting the ingredients all in the pot took a mere 10 minutes! Leaving it to simmer for 5 minutes.
Now admittedly, not everyone cooks at the speed of light like this talented chum of mine, but what I want to emphasize here is that fish head curry is actually pretty simple and cheap to make.
We ended up with a nice fat jenahak head (since we are still in local fish mode) which costs about RM25, the same head eaten at a fish head restaurant can set you back about RM60 and that's not including your drinks, rice and other things.
Let's get cracking. The ingredients don't look so intimidating right? To Blend:
5 cloves garlic
1 big onion
A bit of water
1 fish head (merah, jenahak) easily 2 kg
2 round eggplants
10 lady's fingers (medium)
4 green chillies
1 stalk curry leaves
2 tbs pure assam jawa
3 tbs fish curry powder (we used Baba's)
1/2 (about 300g) packet santan (coconut milk)
3 tbs oil
1 cup water
2 tsp salt Method:
Wash the fish with coarse salt. This cleans out the 'muddy' smell to the fish. In fact, this is one of the main tips to making great fish head. The head has to be nice and clean.… Continue reading »
"Happiness in a styrofoam box..."
I have a little treat for burger lovers out there. About a year and a half ago, two brothers in Kelana Jaya named Mad and Afzal decided to open a burger stand with a bit of a twist; Steamed Ramly Burgers. During the day, the duo sell nasi lemak not far away (near the Health Clinic), by night they are happily steaming burgers, the oblong and the round kind. Their selections are quite impressive. Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Venison, Rabbit and Ostrich (only Chicken and Beef is Ramly's).
One brother mans the steamer grill section, and the other packs the burgers. The burger patty is first steamed in a stainless steel steamer for a few minutes and then transferred to a mobile gas griller, believe it or not. The steamed grilled burger is then dipped into a black pepper sauce pot for a few minutes before being fished out and handed to the 'packing' section.
Several things are done here. If someone orders a special, Afzal cracks open an egg, expertly spreads it on the flat pan and after a few moments, wraps the steamed burger with it. Buns are also toasted on this flat pan and the thing is, instead of using margarine or planta, they use vegetable shortening as the bun spread. Nice! Gives it the 'lemak'/rich taste. Next, styrofoam boxes are taken out and the burger is packed. By this time, patrons already have the "tak tahan look" on their faces. They know how good this will taste. Bun, mayo, salad, burger, onions, chili, secret sauce and lastly bun is neatly packed in. Basic set is RM2.80! or have it your own way with double burger, cheese top up, single egg wrap or go crazy with everything on Double Special Cheese at RM6.00!
We eat fish every which way we can. Sometimes in filet form, more often than not in its entirety. From the spicy concoctions of the south, to the curries of the north and every nuance in between, we Malaysians really cannot get enough of fish. It took a long while to whittle this list down to just 5, but now we have it: our favourite 5 Malaysian ways… More »
"It sits jauntily on the plate..."
"This is Maggie Goreng fried by an Indian man," my friend smiles. "So that's why its so good, only an Indian man knows how to fry noodles like this." My friend emphasised this point by tapping on the table animatedly. Still we were hoping it's the right Indian man because again how good the Maggi goreng is that night depends on who mans the wok.
Now here's what a great Maggi goreng is according to the connoisseurs. The noodles can't be soggy, it's springy. It has a wok hei taste but not too dry (that would be char maggi). Most importantly you must ask for it to be spicy, for the chilli to be cooked with the noodles.
Usually according to my MG expert, if you don't specify it, the dude would just fry the maggi and just put chilli padi in it. If that's the case there will be no 'kick' to the dish. So they must fry the dried chillies/ chilli paste with the noodles. There's also usually a hint of curry flavour in it.
My dish arrives. My friend beams. Just by looking at it, you can tell it's done right. It falls lovely on the plate- not mushy just rather jauntily. And you're lucky tonight my friend says, "you got juicy tofu in it, looks fresh." Wah! My head is spinning. So much about this dish is based on having your stars aligned at the right moment. I must be doing something right in the cosmos to hit pay dirt tonight.