Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Mama J's Bakso

Yes, its Mama J's Bakso. Mama J or Kakak is my sister in law's (Lin) eldest sister. My children and her nephews and nieces call her Mama J because she use to live in PJ, I call her Kakak. Kakak is like Lin's family's guardian angel as her mom passed away when she was very little. Since she takes care of the family, so does the family's tummies and ours too...Her food is briiliant!

I decided to prepare Bakso last Saturday after reading Eating Asia blog which featured "Not so rubbery bakso", looks very appetising. I got the meatballs (ready to be cooked) from Pasar Tani Melawati. Kakak says if you are in Ulu Langat, where she now lives, you can get the meatballs from AA Minimarket.

So, here's Bakso, adaptation from Ngaini, Lin's previous Indonesian maid...

1 kg meatballs
2 tsp white peppercorns, mildly roasted
2 tsp corriander, mildly roasted
10 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
4 tbsp oil
1 litre water
salt to taste
choice of rice, yellow noodle or rice vermicelli
choice of bak choi, cabbage, beansprout, carrots, soaked in boiling water, to garnish
spring onion
caramelised onion

1. Mill roasted white pepper and corriander. Pound or blend garlic and ginger adding the milled white pepper and corriander.

2.Heat oil, fry 1 above until fragrant.

3.Add water, leave to boil and add in meat balls. Add salt to taste.

4. Serve with rice or yellow noodles or rice vermicelli, garnish with vegetables of choice, spring onion and caramelised onion. If you like add a dash of soya sauce and chilly sauce,hmmmm brilliant! Love it.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

My Mom-in-law's Assam Pedas

Hi everyone. In the last posting, the reference himalayan sea salt should actually be himalayan rock salt! Hiya, dont know tt there exist a sea on top of the himalayas!!

Now I'd like to share the recipe that I will never forget. Took me a while to master this, ever since I was dating.... ye ke? my husband. Anyway, how my mom prepares this dish is totally different from how my my mom-in-law does it. And for the Johorean (the southern state of the peninsular), assam pedas is like curry in Kedah(the norther part of the peninsular), they have it every day! My father-in-laws obsession with assam pedas in that he has it with rice for lunch, with bread for dinner and cream crackers for tea or breakfast. Now, my daughter Khadijah has it with bread and Yusof likes it with cream crackers.

I dare not improvise this recipe, choi! So, here's assam pedas muar....


20-25 dried chillies, deseed, soaked or boiled
(I also like to add about 5 fresh chillies, to give a "fresher" taste to the gravy)
10-15 shallots (or 2 large red onion)
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 inch ginger
1 1/2 inch fresh turmeric
1 teaspoon belacan(dried shrimp paste, the maggie belacan granules is equally good)
2 tbsp tamarind paste, add with water to dilute
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 bunga kantan (torch ginger), sliced or quartered
5 stalks daun kesum (polygunom leaves)
3 cups water
2 pieces parang/ jenahak/red snapper/pomfret fillet


1. Blend dried chillies, fresh chillies, shallots, ginger, garlic and belacan with a bit of water to form a paste.

2. Heat oil, fry the assam pedas paste on a slow medium fire until fragrant. Add tamarind paste.

3. Add water, leave to boil.

4. Add fish fillet, torch ginger and daun kesum.

5. Add salt to taste.

I have tried cooking ikan pari (stingray), and adding a few dash of black pepper milled into the paste, to get rid of the "fishy" smell from the fish. My mom loves adding tomatoes and/or ladies fingers into her assam pedas. I have never tried that, before. However, yesterday whilst having dinner at "Cable Car" in Jaya Supermarket in PJ, I notice that in their assam pedas was red bell peppers, ladies fingers and tomatoes, and the assam pedas is more of a "Nyonya" style. Try the recipe and tell me waht it is like.

Shilla, I'll give you the crab curry recipe later. Better still, when I make it , I'll pass over to your house!

Monday, 12 February 2007

Mak's Fish Curry

I am not a professional cook as in I have not attended any courses in the area. But as a mom and wife I feel that one should know at least the very basic of recipies and cooking styles to feed your love ones like Long (panggilan cinta for hubby) and my askar-askar at home. Reason why I call my children askar (army) coz literraly they are like askar, very active, demanding, commanding, but not very regimented in the areas that I want them to be.

Hence, I have tried to better my skills by following the recipe books, but I find that most of the time there are missing ingredients. With exceptions to those recipes from the mat salleh cook. Tu boleh percaya sikit.

So, what I will do is to share with you all the recipes that I have tried, though non are originally mine, probably adaptations but have been impoved by me that I collect over the years. And I shall start from the very, very basic like how to cook rice....

How to cook rice (Khadijah! Take note!)
If you use the local white rice like the ones produced by Bernas, Jati, Jasmine, etc, cook 1 cup of rice with 1 1/3 cup of water, to have a nice texture, not too soft and not too hard. And the leftovers, when you make nasi goreng, will give a very nice result and of course with the right ingredient, will definitely will the talk of your mom inlaw. (We'll go to resipi nasi goreng later...)

If you use the Siamese rice, use 1:1 rice and water. Because the rice is very starchy, too much water will make it too soft.

For those who take brown rice or mix grain occassionally, that's melah bila teringat pasal all those "spare tyre", cook 1 portion of rice to 2 1/2 portions of water. Actually for someone like me who loves rice, yelah I ni orang bendang from Baling, eating this rice is the best to keep your weight, sugar and cholesterol in check!!

I started cooking fish curry when I was twelve, that time we lived in Taman Nakishah, Alor Setar. I always envy my neghbour Aunt Rohani, whose father in law is an Indian Muslim, she cooks brilliant fish curry, the mamak style. So, here the improved recipe...

Mak's Fish Curry (and improved by using Laxmi's (Thusha's helper) and Devika's (my flatmate in Aberystwyth) recipe)


1/2 cup cooking oil (sinful, yes, otherwise your curry tak "kick")
2 pieces ikan jenahak fillet
(the fishes that are nice for curry are jenahak, tenggiri, bawal, ploktan(that's how it is called in Kedah, difficult to find in KL)
4 small red onions, to slice
3 cloves garlic, to slice
curry leaves, more the better
1 teaspoon rempah tumis, (consisting of fenugreek, fennel and mustard seed) can get this from any mamak shop or supermarket
4 small red onions, to pound with 2 cloves garlic*
2 1/2 tablespoon fish curry powder*
1 teaspoon chilly powder*
(* nowadays I like to use Baba's, when I first learnt I used Peladang, very popular in Kedah, but if you the mamak style curry, use Baba's!)
1 teaspoon tomato paste (optional)*
1 teaspoon tamarind paste, add water


Heat the cooking oil, add the scliced onion and garlic, curry leaves and rempah tumis#. Fry until fragrant, jangan sampai hangit, medium high fire! Mix * together, add a bit of water to make it a paste. Then, add * into earlier ingredients#, slow cook on small fire until you see oil coming out from the paste.
Add tamarind paste (diluted with water), leave to simmer.Probably takes about 15 mins. Add 2 1/2 cups of water. If you want it thick, 1 1/2 cup of water will do. I never use coconut milk in my curry, coz I dont see the need to.

Once the gravy have started to simmer add the fish fillet and salt to taste. One tip, I have been using himalayan sea salt for its mineral contents and believe me it does make my dishes tastes better, try it! You can also add some vegies like tomatoes, brinjal (the round ones tastes better) and long beans (french beans are nicer).

Wulla, have a go!
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