Monday 16 September 2013

Merdeka Open House 2013: Treasures From Sabah & Sarawak Round Up

This year Malaysia celebrated her 56th Independence Day but the establishment of Malaysian Federation was only marked on 16 September 1963. This day commemorates the day where Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore joined together to form Malaysia. This was the main reason why I've pushed the 8th Merdeka Open House to today in celebration of the union with the theme Treasures From Sabah & Sarawak. It's a pity as I did not push hard enough to email past participants to invite them to take part hence there is really just a handful of entries.

Just wished this could have been a real open house rather than a virtual one as I imagine how delicious it would be to taste dishes from Sabah and Sarawak as I've never been to that part of the country personally. I've heard so much of the cuisine from friends and relatives who have been there. For this open house, participants need to cook a special dish from Sabah or Sarawak and post up the recipe and a bit of write up about the dish.

So here's the round up:

My utmost supportive friends, Nate and Annie, from House of Annie, who were based in Kuching for a while but now back home in San Jose, California, USA. Nate mentioned that a friend had shown them how to make this Dabai Paste while they were still in Kuching. This "Sibu olives" is technically not a true olive but is only grown in central Sarawak around the town of Sibu. It's a pity that we might be able to taste this only in Sarawak as I was told these dabai doesn't last long when fresh hence it can never get travel out of the state. I know one day, yes one day, I will get to try some of these babies.

Ardent cook cum masterchef, Wendy (Table for 2 or... More) had submitted Fish with Iban Eggplant. The special eggplant was sent to her by a fellow blogger who resides in Sarawak. It is always great to see something new, what more than cooking something new and learn to love it too.

Ayam Likku

On my front end, I did 3 Borneo dishes for dinner in one shot and had a great time exploring the dishes and getting to know the dishes as well. The first is Ayam Likku which is literally galangal chicken, famous in Tawau. Surprisingly it turned out very delicious and I supposed if bake the chicken after cooking ala ayam percik would render a crispy skin :p but that would have been bastardising the recipe already!

Sambal Bawang Kampu

Another surprisingly delish dish was this Sambal Bawang Kampu. Totally different from our usual sambal as this sambal does not have any chillies except for the fresh green chillies to be stirred fried with the spring onions. This recipe is a keeper.

Stir Fried Manicai with Egg

Next, a recipe loved by Sarawakians using manicai. Simple and pretty straightforward, Stir Fried Manicai with Egg but absolutely tasted amazing.

Well, that's all for the round up for this edition of Merdeka Open House. Thank you for all the participants for submitting your entries for this virtual open house.

Check out the different themes from our previous round ups:

2006 - Malaysian Recipe Long Forgotten
2007 - Muhibbah
2008 - Mee and My Malaysia
2009 - My Sweet Malaysia
2010 - Food From Our Heart
2011 - Makan Through Malaysia
2012 - Uniquely Malaysia

Selamat Hari Merdeka & Selamat Hari Malaysia!

Friday 13 September 2013

Merdeka Open House 2013: Stir-Fried Manicai with Eggs

Was first introduced to this Stir-Fried Manicai with Eggs in my earlier days of blogging when I used to stalk blogs belonged to Sarawakians. They were literally crazy over manicai which in Cantonese is shue tzai choy or in Malay cekur manis. One of them, Eddie who lives in USA literally have a box of these plants growing in his living room and he really took care of the plants like babies :p

I've never got around to cooking this dish cos preparing the vegetable is ermmm quite time consuming. The plucking and picking the leaves that is. I do love manicai in soups and especially so in pan meen. Hates it when they serve pan meen soup using substitute vegetables.

And so I did a bit of search and what more from a pretty lass with beautiful voice, Kelly Siew, who is a native of Bintulu. She had carefully listed down the steps to do with the leaves which I would never have known to salt the leaves to squeeze out the liquid before using. The reason for doing so is to get rid of the certain bitterness from the leaves.

Being the ever careless cook, I tend to forget to add ingredients hehe yeah even at work. Can you imagine the amount of times my boss would roll her eyes over this carelessness! And so I did the same with this dish which was so simple to make hahahaha... sighhh I've forgotten to add the water even though I've measured and place next to the pan, can you believe it? Darn fail!

Anyway the verdict from Capt'n Hook was good and I thought so too. I think I like my manicai slightly crunchy with a bite but would have gone if I had added the water. So in my recipe, I would say water is optional. You can even use chicken stock if you wish. I've also omitted chicken powder nor MSG since I don't use them in my cookings.

Stir Fried Manicai with Egg

Stir-Fried Manicai with Eggs
Serves 2 - 4

200 g manicai (plucked weight)
1 Tbsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
50 ml water (optional)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp soy sauce

Pluck manicai leaves, wash and soak like the usual way you would do it. Drain and mix in the salt, tearing some of the leaves in between. Set aside for 10 minutes. Squeeze out the liquid from the manicai. Rinse out the leaves with a few washes of water and squeeze them dry another round. Set aside.

In a hot pan, heat up the oil. Add garlic and fry till fragrant. Stir in the manicai leaves. Add in water now if using. When it's quite dry, make a well in the centre and pour in the eggs. Let the eggs set before stirring them all together. Stir in soy sauce and mix evenly before dishing up.

This is my third entry for 8th Merdeka Open House 2013 Date & Theme: Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak.

Merdeka Open House 2013: Sambal Bawang Kampu

Sambal Bawang Kampu

Out of the three dishes I've made for 8th Merdeka Open House 2013 Date & Theme: Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak, this Sambal Bawang Kampu came out unexpectedly delicious! Just that they're a tad salty so I've adjusted the recipe a little. This recipe also came from Her World CookBook Vol 78.

This sambal has no red chillies but aromatics like shallots, garlic and galangal. What's so unique is the sambal is stir fried with loads of spring onions (that's where the bawang name comes from) and green chillies! Kampu is actually Kampung!!!

I've used much less green chillies than I should but I really think the freshness of the green chillies add a whole lot more dimension to the dish. So essentially the spring onions and green chillies are the star of the dish together with the sambal. This is something that I will make again and again as Capt'n Hook seems to agree with me, other than too salty because of the sheer amount of dried shrimp, this dish is a winner.

Sambal Bawang Kampu
Serves 3 - 4

200 g spring onions, cut into 5 cm lengths
3 green chillies, slice thinly at an angle
50 g dried shrimp, wash and rinse until water is clear then soak for 30 mins
4 shallots (40 g), thinly sliced
1 cm galangal, minced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cm piece belacan (10 g), roasted
2 Tbsp tamarind water
1 tsp palm sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Heat oil in a pan and fry dried shrimps will lightly golden brown. Stir in galangal, garlic and shallots. Fry until fragrant. Crumble in the belacan and stir. Add tamarind water and palm sugar.

Add in green chillies and spring onion, stir to mix well quickly. Dish up and serve with rice immediately.

Thursday 12 September 2013

Merdeka Open House 2013: Ayam Likku

Ayam Likku

My first entry for 8th Merdeka Open House 2013 Date & Theme: Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak would be this Ayam Likku which is actually Galangal Chicken. I've first discovered this recipe in Her World Cook Book Vol 78 which has the theme Food Journey Across Malaysia.

This was introduced by Amber Chia who says that this Ayam Likku is a very famous dish from Tawau, Sabah. It's a traditional Bugis dish where the main ingredient is galangal (likku).

As I browsed through the ingredients, sounds simple enough to prepare. However, I was a bit concerned when it need to cook coconut milk with the chicken for 45 minutes... won't it split? As I was cooking, then I realised that the coconut milk was merely the liquid to get the chicken cooking and as it cooks, it actually turn into oil which in turns will saute the aromatics as it continues to cook. Brilliant I would say!

Capt'n Hook said this chicken was really delicious which is quite rare lol when it comes to my cooking as my low salt nature really turns him off! He loves how aromatic the gravy was. Anyway, I've reduced the recipe size using 2 chicken legs instead of 4. So the recipe is my take with observations and whatever not.

Ayam Likku (Galangal Chicken)
Serves 2 - 3

(A) Finely minced:
5 cm galangal
1 stalk lemongrass
2 cloves garlic
4 shallots (40 g)

2 chicken legs
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
125 ml thick coconut milk
1/2 Tbsp turmeric powder
Sugar & salt to taste

In a hot pan with lid, heat up the oil and saute (A) on medium high heat until the aromatics are properly fried through and smells fragrant (takes about 15 - 20 mins).

Pour in coconut milk and turmeric powder, mix in well. Season with salt and sugar (remember to taste). Slip in the chicken legs and coat them evenly with the mixture in the pan. Cover the pan and simmer on low heat.

You'll need to stir and scrape the aromatics at the bottom of the pan to prevent burning and sticking every now and then. To add a little colour to the chicken skin, do cook them skin down and turn them around when done.

I've used free range chicken so the cooking time was about 25 minutes. Serve hot with rice. Yums!

Last Day of Submission for 8th Merdeka Open House 2013

Just a gentle reminder that today is the last day of submission for The 8th Merdeka Open House 2013 Date & Theme: Treasures from Sabah & Sarawak. Dead line is midnight but as usual late comers are welcome as well, will slot in when I can.

Thank you ;-)

Blog Revamping

Hello... I'm in the midst of revamping my blog to make my life a little easier. So do not be alarmed as work is still under construction.

16 Oct 2012