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Archive for September, 2008


Starting my own blog taught me lots of new things. For instance during our journey back to Kuala Terengganu, I was more alert to the surroundings – taking notes and photos for my blog. Normally I would just sleep, watching the VCDs or lost in my own world.

There are lots of beautiful old traditional houses by the main road in Kemaman. I took photos of them wondering how much longer they would be standing there. I guess one day those houses will be replaced by modern shop houses or other buildings considering their strategic locations. I can’t blame their owners for destroying our heritage for the old houses are of no commercial value compared to the modern buildings.

We passed some beautiful rivers and scenic beaches. Born and grew up in Kuala Lumpur, far away from the beach my siblings and I are always excited to see beaches. How I wish that we can stop by at those beautiful beaches…

‘Amlr’ mentioned about a Pasar Ramadhan in Geliga where one can buy ‘ttupak sutong’ (please refer to ‘Ttupak Sutong’). Passing Geliga, I tried to look for the location but failed to locate the Pasar Ramadhan. Maybe it is not located near the main roads to Kuala Terengganu or maybe we were there too early as we passed Geliga at about 1p.m.

Reaching the Petronas Complex, my little 5 years old blogging brother, Ahmad Ali excitedly searched for the fire at the refinery complex. He just love counting them and searching for the biggest fire. He too was searching for things to write in his blog (which he posted on 27th Sept, entittled ‘Things I saw on the way to Terengganu’). He kept telling us that he wish to own  a real camera or a real phone with a camera so that he can take lots of photos of the things he likes by himself.

I passed the ‘Keda Lepeng’ in Rusila – another place that sells ‘ttupak sutong’ according to ‘changgeh’ (please refer to ‘Ttupak Sutong – 1st comment). And yes, I can see the words ‘ttupak sutong’ written big and clear on their banner. The place looked empty. I guess they are still closed as most restaurants starts operating their business late in the afternoon during Ramadhan.

Breaking fast (iftar) in Kuala Terengganu is exciting. I waited for the sound of the ‘bedil’ (please refer to ‘Special Ramadhan Treats from Terengganu’) to mark the time for iftar. And finally I ate the delicious ‘ttupak pulok‘ with ‘samba daging’/serunding daging’ or beef floss for iftar today. How I missed the delicious ‘ttupak pulok’ (as I wrote in ‘Ttupak Pulok‘). Mum enjoyed her ‘ttupak pulok’ with ‘ayang golek’. And talking about ‘ayang golek’ reminds me of the old fashioned ‘ayang golek’ on sugar cane sticks (as mentioned by ‘Pok Cik Luckganu’ in ‘Special Ramadhan Treats from Terengganu’). How I wish I can try them…

Note: Where do they fire the bedil? I’ll be writing about it in my next post, Insya Allah.

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These are some of the kelongsong ketupat nasi that mum and me weaved yesterday

These are some of the kelongsong ketupat nasi that mum and me weaved yesterday

In Malaysia, ‘ketupat nasi’ or traditional rice cakes are very popular during Eid celebrations. It is one of the most popular foods served in homes and hotels during the Eid celebrations. A greeting card with a picture of ‘ketupat nasi’ would be understood as an Eid greeting card even without any word written on the cover. By the way, I have never seen a birthday card with a picture of ‘ ketupat nasi’!

Neon lights in the shape of ‘ketupat nasi’ decorated houses, shops and buildings. Replicas of ‘ ketupat nasi’ in all sizes and colours are hanged in houses, shops, shopping complexes, offices, road side and other public places to mark the Eid season. Even shopping bags are decorated with pictures of ‘ketupat nasi’.

Even though in my hometown (Kuala Terengganu) ‘ketupat nasi’ is not as popular as ‘ketupat pulut’ as a special delicacy served during Eid, the significant of ‘ketupat nasi’ to Eid is still the same as in other parts of Malaysia. In fact, I’ve never seen of any decorative item in the shape of ‘ketupat pulut’ used in my hometown.

Since ‘ketupat nasi’ is not so popular in Terengganu, the Terengganu folks are not so familiar with the art of weaving the ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’ (ketupat nasi cover). Mum was lucky to master the art – learnt the skill from their Indonesian helper when mum was about my age. And yesterday my sister and I had the chance to learn the art of weaving ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’ from mum.

Learning to weave the ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’ was not as hard as i thought. But I really need to pay attention, concentrate and be patient. Mum weaved slowly so that we can follow and after 5 minutes, I managed to weave my first ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’! After a while I understand the ‘trick’ and be able to master the weaving process.

Since we were out of young coconut leaves, mum used ribbons instead of the leaves. Actually for cooking the rice cakes, we need to weave young coconut leaves into ‘kelongsong’ as moulds  to cook the rice cakes. The ‘kelongsong’ made from ribbons are used as Eid decorations.

Nowadays the city folks normally do not weave the ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’ for Eid anymore. They either buy the ready made ‘ketupat nasi’ or the ready made ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’ sold in farmer’s markets all around KL. In fact the easier and faster way of cooking ‘ketupat nasi’ is by using heat proof plastic covers as moulds instead of the traditional young coconut leaves ‘kelongsong’. There are even prepacked ‘ketupat nasi’ in plastic packets that only needed to be boiled in water.

No wonder nowadays the skill of weaving ‘kelongsong ketupat nasi’ is almost a forgotten art especially among city girls like me. What a pity when we prefer using plastics instead of leaves. Not only do the young coconut leaves give a nice aroma to the ‘ketupat nasi’; the leaves are also environmental friendly. And there is also the  question about which type of plastic that is safe to be used as the boiling process can take over an hour. So, using certain plastic to cook ‘ketupat’ could harm our health as well as our environment.

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The tasty ttupak pulok

The tasty ttupak pulok

The other day mum asked if I want to eat rendang… Rendang reminds me of ttupak pulok and no ttupak pulok  tastes as good as the ones from Kuala Terengganu. Ttupak pulok is a type of glutinous rice delicacy, steamed with coconut milk and wrapped in a special leaf before it is fried to perfection.

I’ve tried the ones sold in KL but none can match the tasty ttupak pulok of Kuala Terengganu. As I always wrote in my blog, the Terengganu folks love to eat fish and we eat fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Well, we do not use fish to make ttupak pulok but we eat ttupak pulok with grilled fish. Ttupak pulok is also tasty when eaten with rending ( a spicy beef / chicken dish) or samba ayang or daging/serunding in standardspeak (chicken or beef floss – another meat recipe). In fact ‘ttupak pulok’ is even tasty on its own especially when eaten fresh from the wok.

To make ‘ttupak pulok’ we first steam the rice. Half way through, add the thick coconut milk and salt. Next, continue steaming the rice until cooked. Then comes the tricky part – to wrap the steamed glutinous rice in special leaves. Too bad I do not master the art of wrapping the ttupak pulok neither did mum nor nenek. If the wrapping process is not done properly, the ttupak will be too soft and maybe too oily after it is fried. The final step is the easiest – fry the wrapped ttupak in hot oil and the ttupak is ready to be served with grilled fish, rendang or ‘samba daging’. How I wish that I can have them… But it always took me much longer than mum to unwrap the ttupak! Not only do we need a lot of practise to enable us to wrap the ttupak pulok, but we also need to learn how to unwrap it before eating the tasty ttupak pulok. But once you try them….you won’t mind the hassle of unwrapping them.

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A few days ago, mum cooked a very delicious ‘ttupak sotong’  for iftar. ‘Ttuppak sutong or ‘ketupat sotong’ in standardspeak is squids stuffed with steamed glutinous rice in coconut milk curry sauce. The picture of the gleaming white squids floating in a white sea of  coconut milk is as appealing to the eyes as it is to the palate. And the delightful fragrant of the ‘ttupak sotong’ brewing on the stove really made me yearning to have a sip of that creamy white curry sauce right at that very moment.

yummy ttupak sutong

yummy ttupak sutongThis Terengganu specialty is normally a home cooked treat. In fact my family and I have never come across any eatery serving or selling ‘ttupak sotong’ each time we were back in Kuala Terengganu. But again I might be wrong for we do not live there. Anyway dad said that he used to buy ‘ttupak sotong’ during his schooling years. May be nowadays it is only a special home cooked treat.

Everyone in my family loves the ‘ttupak sotong’ except my dear sister Aeshah. Just imagine the delightful taste of tender squid stuffed with soft steamed glutinous rice in an aromatic, delicious and creamy coconut milk curry sauce… This is the taste that my 5 years old little (blogging) brother Ahmad Ali (refer to ‘Ahmad Ali’) would described as mmmmm… as he always did in his blog* when he wrote about the taste of the food that he loves.

To make ‘ttupak sotong’ we first need to buy a lot of fresh ‘sutong’ or squids of a medium size . Try to look for the ones with egg for a tastier ‘ttuppak sutong’ .Next, steam the glutinous rice with some coconut milk. While waiting for the glutinous rice to be cooked, clean the squids and take out the outer layer skin leaving them gleaming white. Then, stuff the squids with the steamed glutinous rice and secure the open end using toothpicks. In a big pot (if cooking a lot of ‘ttupak sutong’!), heat the coconut milk or low fat milk. Add sliced shallots, ginger and some fenugreek and continue cooking on a medium heat. Next add the stuffed squids. Do not overcook or the squids will end up too chewy. The curry sauce should has the right balance of salt, sugar and the creamy taste of either coconut milk or low fat milk. Actually this is the most tricky part as one has to be   very familiar with the taste of the original ‘ttupak sutong’ to enable them to get it right and be able to produce a really delicious ‘ttupak sutong’.

It would be nice if I can have my ‘ttupak sutong’ more often but mum will only cook ‘ttupak sutong’ if she can get squids heavy with eggs which is nenek’s (my grandma) important secret in cooking her finger licking good ‘ttuppak sutong’. Don’t worry if there are left overs- they taste as good after a few day in the refrigerator or store them in the freezer if they are to be eaten much later. The squids’ heads can be fried or cooked in other recipeas prefered.

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The tasty Jala Mas. BTW the yellow colour comes 100% from the egg yolks. NO artificial colouring added.

The tasty Jala Mas. BTW the yellow colour comes 100% from the egg yolks. NO artificial colouring added.

Reading Awang Goneng’s post ‘The Sound of Heavy Metal’, reminds me of fasting and iftar in Kuala Terengganu. So it seems like Uncle Awang Goneng misses the ‘bubur lambuk’, ‘blede kerah’ and ‘akok’.

Iftar and imsak in Kuala Terengganu is marked by the sound of the ‘bede’(cannon shot) The best part is there will be two ‘bede’ for imsak. The first is a warning – to remind us to drink our last glass of ‘air nyo’ (young coconut drink) or to take the last bite of ‘akok’ (a type of sweet cake) before the sound of the final ‘bede’ that tells us to stop drinking and eating.

Ramadhan in Terengganu means an annual “Traditional Terengganu Food Fest”. This is the time of the year when I can see and taste the unfamiliar or hard to get ‘kueh’ (sweet/savoury traditional cakes) and dishes. The good part is, most of the traditonal Terengganu ‘kueh’ are free from artificial colouring, flavouring and also trans fat (refer to ‘Food Facts’). The main ingredients in our exotic sweet cakes such as ‘jala mas’ (jala mah), ’emas sejemput’ (mah jjeput), ‘pauh dilayang’ (pauh llayang), ‘bunga tanjong’, ‘akok’, ‘nganang’, ‘nekbak’,’ taik itek’, ‘skaye’, ‘puding telor’, and ‘tok aji serbang’ are eggs and sugar.

The delicious tok aji serbang.

The sweet and creamy Tok Aji Serbang. The brown colour came solely from palm sugar and contains NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURING

As in other parts of West Malaysia, the most special food in Ramadhan is the ‘bubur lambuk’. But unlike the ‘bubur lambuk’ in Kuala Lumpur (please refer to ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’) the main ingredients in our ‘Terengganu Bubur Lambuk’ are fish, herbs, sweet potato, special local vegetables, crushed black pepper and of course ‘budu’ (please refer to ‘Ikang Singgang’). In fact, our ‘bubur lambuk’ does not tasted or even looked like ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’ at all – their only similarity is that- both are special Ramadhan porridge sharing the same name.

Unlike ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’ which uses a lot of aromatic spices such as cloves, star anise, cinnamon, etc… the only spice used in our ‘Terengganu Bubur Lambuk’ is crushed black pepper. Nowadays prawn, squid and other seafood are added but fish is a must (use more fish for a tastier ‘bubur lambuk’). But sad to say, I do not really enjoy the rather ‘strong’ taste of our ‘Terengganu Bubur Lambuk’; instead I prefer the ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’.

Another special treat is the finger licking good ‘ayam golek’. For this tasty dish, the chicken is barbequed using a special creamy sauce that gives the ‘ayam golek’ its delicious taste and the mouth watering aroma. Next come ‘pulut lepa’, ‘sata’ and mum’s favourite ‘paih ikang’. Anyway the size of the fish or ‘ikang’ in the ‘paih’ is too small for me to enjoy them. Nenek and mum used to say that the size of the fish seems to be getting smaller and smaller year after year. Any way I can’t remember mum telling me about eating ‘Ceranang Mok Mek’ in Ramadhan… ‘Ceranang’ is a very tasty Terengganu salad and ‘ceranang Mok Mek’ was said to be the most popular ‘ceranang eatery’ in Kuala Terengganu and according to luckganu (please refer to luckganu’s comment). ‘Mok Mek’ also sells tasty ‘kerepok leko ikang yu’.

Fish is the important ingredient in most of Terengganu savoury ‘kueh’ as in ‘Pulok lepe’, ‘bekang kuoh puteh’, ‘sata’, ‘paong goreng’, ‘karipak ikang’ etc. ‘Orang Tranung berahi makang ikang, dok?’ (Guess the Terengganu folks love to eat fish). And by the way, two days ago we had ‘pulok gao nyo’ with grilled fish (refer to ‘Delicious pulok’) for iftar…’sedak sungguh’ (so delicious).

The yummy mah jjeput.

The yummy mah jjeput. Like the jala mas, it contains NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURING

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Bubur lambuk is a special kind of Malay porridge prepared especially for iftar/ futur (the break of fast) during the fasting month of Ramadhan. In Malaysia we have various versions of bubur lambuk which tastes differently from one another.

Yesterday we had  ‘bubur lambuk Kg Baru’ for iftar. My siblings and I really love the bubur lambuk. It is light but filling and also very, very tasty. The most famous bubur lambuk in KL (and one of the tastiest) are the ones prepared by the Kampung Baru Mosque known as ‘Bubur Lambuk Kambung Baru’.

Bubur Lambuk Kak Sham

You will not miss it – Bubur Lambuk Aunty Sham – just across the main gate of Masjid Kg Baru and a clear bunting!

What makes bubur lambuk Kampung Baru so delicious? I guess it must be the aromatic spices used in preparing this delicious porridge, it’s special recipe and also the expertise of the cooks. Somehow it is real hard to enjoy the original bubur lambuk that was given away by the Kampung Baru Mosque every Ramadhan; for the queue is always very, very long. I heard that people came from all over KL for the bubur lambuk. I had tried it and it was very, very delicious!

Auntie Sham

Smiling Aunty Sham

Nowadays there are lots of stalls selling bubur lambuk around the mosque but I think the tastiest is ‘Bubur Lambuk Kak Sham” in Jalan Raja Alang. We got to know the wonderful Aunty Sham years ago . At that time she ran her nasi lemak business next to Kampung Baru Medical Centre. Aunty Sham and her brothers used to be a part of the team that prepares the bubur lambuk at the Kampung Baru Mosque. Hence her bubur lambuk is as good as the original bubur lambuk Kampung Baru. So, one can enjoy the ‘real’ bubur lambuk Kampung Baru without having to queue for the ones given away by the mosque.

The aroma brewing ...

The aroma brewing ……

Imagine enjoying a hot bowl of the delicious bubur lambuk with it’s mouth watering aroma for iftar… When I was eight, I once had to break my fast at about 2 pm for the aroma of the bubur lambuk in the car makes me too hungry. Since then, I never follow dad to Kampung Baru to buy the bubur lambuk until I was much older. Even now the mouth watering aroma still can make me hungry!

... pots and pots of bubur lambuk ... [about 200 of RM2.00-pack per pot!!!]

… pots and pots of bubur lambuk … about 200 of RM2.00-pack per pot!!!

It must be Aunty Sham’s secret recipe that makes her bubur lambuk a hit among bubur lambuk lovers. I’ve tried others but they were not as tasty as the ones prepared by Aunty Sham. No wonder she cooks pots and pots (huge pots) of bubur lambuk everyday…  Since bubur lambuk is only sold during the fasting month , I always look forward to enjoy this delicious dish every Ramadhan.

Since bubur lambuk is only sold during the month of Ramadhan; Aunty Sham  would be selling her very delicious ‘Nasi Lemak Kak Sham’ for breakfast in Jalan Raja Uda during other time of the year. We have to reach her stall early in the morning to buy her nasi lemak because like her bubur lambuk, her nasi lemak would be sold out very fast!

UPDATE (Ramadhan 2012): Please click here for the latest post with a guide to Aunty Sham’s bubur lambuk stall

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I just love looking at Malay kueh (sweet and savoury Malay cakes) sold during Ramadhan. They are so colourful and seems more delicious when I am fasting.

Anyway we avoid buying those colourful kueh for the artificial colouring and flavouring used is bad for our health. In fact mum cooks everyday for we prefer to eat in during Ramadhan. It is tastier and healthier too.

Mum buys a lot of fruits for she loves them very much. And she prefers to serve fruits instead of sweet kueh. We also eat lots of dates for Rasulullah peace be upon him loved to eat dates and how I wish that we can have the zam-zam (water) everyday.

Watching what I eat is easier in KL but when we are back at nenek’s house in Kuala Terengganu during the last days of Ramadhan, things would be real hard for me. Every evening nenek would be buying all kinds of Terengganu kueh for my siblings and me. She always remembers the kueh that we love and even buys the ones that she thinks we may like! And who can say no to those delicios Traditional Terengganu kueh such as Akok, Nganang, Tok Aji Serebang, Pulok Lepa, Jale Mas, Lopak Tikang, blede, Kue Belimbing and lots more. So I’ll ended up consuming extra sugar, eggs and coconut milk. Alhamdulillah, I am lucky because I am not spending the whole Ramadhan eating the way I did in Terengganu. Anyway I must  try to control myself this Ramadhan.

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