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Archive for the ‘Celebrations’ Category


Throughout the last day of Ramadhan, our small kitchen was cramped with food and all of us were suddenly upgraded into ‘chefs of the day’. My little sister Aeshah baked trays of lovely cupcakes. At the other end of the kitchen, while singing at the top of her voice, Anisah helped my mother who was cooking rendang and kuah kacang, driving my mom quite mad. Even little Ali sat cross-legged on his chair, weaving kelongsong ketupat nasi for me to fill in with rice later. Usually, I would be preparing the ketupat nasi and weave most of the kelongsongs; but this Eid was special. For the first time, I made the true Terengganu ‘ttupak pulok’ instead!

Ketupat

Ttupak pulok‘, which is also known as  ‘ketupat daun palas’ in standard Malay, is a type of glutinous rice delicacy, steamed with coconut milk and wrapped in a special leaf named ‘daun palas’ before it is fried to perfection. Since it is so easy to get them in Kuala Terengganu where my parents came from, neither my mother nor my grandmothers know how to prepare them. To quote what my great grandmother told my mom when asked for the recipe, “Bakpe nok belajor sangak. Buak nyussoh je. Ppasor blambok, beli je senang.” “Why bother? You can buy loads of them from the market.”

However, living in Kuala Lumpur, we do not have the luxury of having those authentic Terengganu’s ‘ttupak pulok’ sold in markets or farmer’s markets around our place. It is not that nobody sells ketupat palas here, but the tasty, rich and firm textured Terengganu’s ‘ttupak pulok’ is none to be seen. And since we are unable to return to Terengganu for Eid due to my father’s tight schedule, my mother announced that she’ll be making her own ‘ttupak pulok’, which happens to be one of her favourite foods.

And imagine my mother’s delight a few weeks before Eid, when she caught the sight of daun palas being sold at the Pasar Tani (or the farmer’s market)!

Daun Palas

Daun Palas

“But mama, you said that you have never weaved a ‘ttupak pulok’ before,” I reminded her.

“No problem. We can always surf the internet for instructions later!” she exclaimed, her eyes sparkling with excitement.

So we spent the afternoon in front of our computer, our oily hands fragrant with coconut milk and sticky with glutinous rice as we tried again and again for a decent wrap. We had a great time and good laughs, mom squeezed most of her rice out of the wrap while I tore almost all of my leaves into half! It seems that while weaving a ketupat nasi looks harder than it actually is, it is the total opposite for ‘ttupak pulok” at least until one masters the technique. It took us a while to get to the hang of it but it was definitely worth it. In the end, we managed to come up with a batch of handsomely wrapped ‘ttupak puloks’. To speed up the process, while my mother was busy in the kitchen, I made a few ‘monster-sized’ ‘ttupak pulok’, which earned a stern warning from my mom, “That is a monster, not a ttupak, never, ever do that again”.

My mom took the ketupat to the kitchen and fried them to perfection. And the taste? They were so delicious, they tasted exactly like the good ol’ Terengganu’s ‘ttupak pulok’ which my mother missed so much. In fact, they tasted even better than some of those that we bought in Kuala Terengganu. Even my father was so impressed with the result that he suggested that we make should make ‘ttupak pulok’ to share with our close relatives and friends who happens to miss the delicious delicacy as much as we do for the Eid.

Ttupak pulok

It’s funny and ironic when you think of how modern technology is able to preserve the traditional cooking methods and recipes despite it also influences a lot of people to leave their traditional and healthier way of cooking and eating. With the invention of instant ‘plastic ketupat’, almost all of my parent’s friends prepare their ketupats the easier way, despite the hazard it poses to their health. However without the help of the world wide web, neither my mom nor I would be able to enjoy the true Terengganu ‘ttupak pulok’ made from scratch in our own kitchen in Kuala Lumpur!

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Happy New Year to all and may this year be a prosperous one, Insya Allah. I’d like to thank my loyal readers for their support despite the fact that the blog had not been updated on a regular basis (twice a month on average). I usually have a lot to write but sometimes I feel that they aren’t decent enough for a blog post. The idea of a blog post in my head is something WordPress would say ‘super-awesome’ that you should write with utmost care but as my mother had told me a million times, nobody likes a dormant blog. I intend to be more active this year and I hope that, Insya Allah, I will be more eager to write and share my views or experience.

And of course, a big thank you to my mother, the best teacher I’ve ever had, for helping me with my writing. I’ve seen my writing improve significantly throughout my blogging years and I am more independent in brainstorming for ideas which would help me a lot in college later and in life as well. She had also miraculously managed to improve my critical thinking and my interest in politics and world events; important things which I once thought boring and impossible to enjoy.

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And thank you to my father who had been the one to create this blog for me as a way to improve my English and for me to gain confidence in writing for the public. I can never forget that morning in Penang when you sat me by your laptop, introduced me to my freshly registered blog and made me write a post. I had pestered my mother for hours, asking her in a fit of panic, “What should I do? What should I write? I don’t have anything to write about.” And despite all of the distress, I managed to write 3 very short posts on the first things that came to my mind.

And to my dearest sisters, Aeshah and Anisah as well as my famous brother, Ahmad Ali, who seems to have fans everywhere (as it is quite often that when my father met one of his friends, they would as for ‘the blogger, Ahmad Ali’) thank you for your links, comments and support. Since one of the drawbacks of being the eldest is that you cannot bear to be beaten by a younger sibling, the intense competition you had given me urge me to write better.

Click on the link below to see the review WordPress prepared for my blog.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Ramadhan Mubarak to all Muslims worldwide. Alhamdulillah, the holy month of Ramadhan is back and once again, we would have our much awaited trips to Kampung Baru for the tastiest and the most delicious iftar food you could ever find in Malaysia, Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru! Bubur Lambuk is available throughout KL of course and most parts of Malaysia but yet, years after years, people from all over Selangor and Kuala Lumpur would stop by at the Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru or also known as Masjid Kampung Baru for the original version of the bubur lambuk Kampung Baru which is extremely hard to find elsewhere.

Ali and Aeshah watches as Aunty Sham prepared the bubur lambuk for her to sell.

I remember when I was younger and once my mother was admitted to the Kampung Baru Medical Center, which stands just across the road from the mosque, during Ramadhan, I stood by the window watching the queue grew and grew until there were probably fifty people lining up at one time for the bubur lambuk from the mosque. The place wasn’t packed with vendors at it is now. If you live nearby or regularly visit the area during Ramadhan, you would know how crowded the area is; sometimes it feels like you’re driving through a marketplace.

Of course, simply anyone could set up a stall and sell their own version of bubur lambuk Kampung Baru, so if you do not wish to wait in the mosque’s long queue, you have to be very selective in choosing which vendor to buy your bubur lambuk from. The taste can differ drastically, so it’s wise to ask advice from a person who regularly buys their bubur lambuk from the area. And I have to say, the best bubur lambuk Kampung Baru I could find would be Aunty Sham’s. The secret is, Aunty Sham cooks her bubur lambuk using the original recipe as those from the famous Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru’s. So now you can have your original Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru without waiting in the long queue! And at RM2 per pack (a very generous pack, I may add) it’s more than worth the long trip… after all, bubur lambuk isn’t available throughout the year.

Rows of bubur lambuk packed and ready to be sold

Oh, and there are a few things to keep in mind when buying bubur lambuk. One thing is that you’ll have to come and buy yours early. Once, my father arrived at the stall at around 2:30pm but came back empty-handed as Aunty Sham had sold out her bubur lambuk although the other vendors were still selling their wares. So it’s important to be there early if you do not want to be disappointed. Also, we have heard that some of the vendors would claim to be anyone, including Kak Sham so you’ll have to be careful. Use the picture below as a guide to Aunty Sham’s stall and look for the banner, ‘Bubur Lambuk Warisan Kampung Baru Kak Sham’.

Bubur Lambuk Warisan Kampung Baru Kak Sham. Her stall is on the second from right from the Jalan Raja Alang – Jalan Raja Abdullah crossroad. It’s right in front of the carpark of Al-Islam Hospital and is on the opposite side of the road from the Kampung Baru Mosque. Please click for a bigger and better image.

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Both mum and I not only have our birthdays in March but also in the same week. I am 16 this year, Alhamdulillah, and my family members had given me wonderful presents.

Mum gave me a lot of her Australian, American, Canadian and New Zealand stamps wrapped in a lovely silver coloured box. My dad bought me stamps at the stamp fair and an A3 sized document file which I now use to keep my stamps in. My sister Aeshah gave me some Vietnamese stamps featuring dolphins that are missing from my collection and lots of odds and ends that I could use for my craftworks. Anisah gave me a number of her drawings and Ali gave me a hairdryer, a ‘Snoopy’ clock and a watch.

My parents gave me a beautiful birthday card with a picture of a flower drawn by mum (the artist), using soft pastels. Ahmad Ali gave me three birthday cards for he enjoyed card making so much that he couldn’t stop making them… Abang Muhammad sent me a birthday card too, all the way from Chicago together with lots of gorgeous U.S.S.R. stamps.

My mother had a marvellous birthday too. Again, most of her presents were stamps from all of us. I secretly looked through her stamp albums and picked out stamps that I own but is missing from her collection. I’m delighted that she was thrilled to receive the stamps that I gave her. I also gave her some Machin stamps (the British definitive stamps with a picture of Queen Elizabeth’s head – mum simply love them, she has a few pages of those lovely stamps in her stamp album and wishes to own as much as she could). Aeshah gave her stamps too. Anisah gave her an envelope with a picture of a cat that she ‘bought’ for 6 stars (our play-money currency) from my little brother.  And Ahmad Ali gave mum a beautiful egg cup and a special Machin stamp(the 1840 Anniversary Machins) with pictures of both Queen Elizabeth as in other Machin stamps and Queen Victoria as in Penny Black.

That night,we had pizzas from Domino’s Pizza for our dinner. Everyone love Domino’s Pizza and we celebrated most of our birthdays with them. It was only last month when we had pizza for my little brother’s birthday!

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A stamp booklet!

Many wonderful things happened on our birthdays and my brother, Ahmad Ali, told me that his 8th birthday was his best. Ahmad turned 8 only six days ago and many wonderful things happened on his special day.

Coincidentally, he also started his silat (Malay martial art) class on his birthday. He had been waiting for years for the day when he could join my sisters and I to our silat class. He amazed our instructor by being able to do a lot of the simple moves (since Ahmad had been ‘practicing’ with his sisters at home).

Back at home, dad brought him an envelope addressed to him from Abang Muhammad (the letter actually arrived the day before but our mail-girl, Anisah, had forgotten to pick up the Saturday’s mail). When he read the sender’s name and address, Ahmad didn’t believe that it was from Abang Muhammad. He insisted that my dad was teasing him until he opened the birthday card and saw Abang Muhammad’s signature. He was speechless with pleasure and surprise at the thought of Abang Muhammad sending him a birthday gift all the way from Chicago. Ahmad was also delighted with the mint stamps that Abang Muhammad sent him.

A stamp album from mum

Unwrapping gifts had always been the main part of our birthday celebrations. It was fun to look at him shaking his presents and peeking into the openings of the wrappers as he tried to guess what was inside and whom it was from. It is also very rewarding to look at his facial expression when he opened his gifts. His joy and delight was painted all over his face. Amazingly, his best birthday present was a pack of menthol flavoured sunflower seeds from mum, followed up by a DIY model airplane (from me) and a ‘Maisto‘ Assembly Line Enzo Ferrari from my dad which tied in 2nd place. A stamp album from my mum with 132 stamps inside for him to start his stamp collection was chosen as Ahmad’s 3rd best birthday present followed by the mint stamps from Abang Muhammad. However, Abang Muhammad was very lucky because Ahmad chose Abang Muhammad’s card as his best.

He had a beautiful birthday e-card with a cute teddy bear from Aunty Selina who lives in Maryland, USA. That night, we had pizza from Domino’s Pizza for his birthday dinner. And Ahmad (who had been a fussy eater) finished 3 enormous slices of the extra large sized pizza!

Note: For more photos, click here.

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Today is my father’s good friend, Pak Cik Burhan’s birthday. They were close friends since their college days in Carbondale.

Pak Cik Burhan is really fun to be with and certainly great to talk to. He always has interesting answers whenever I ask him  simple questions. By the way, he claimed that he has no favourite colour since different colours fit into different things. Coincidentally, my mother gave me the same answer a few days earlier…

From the photos my dad showed me, I believe my dad had had some very good time with Pak Cik Burhan back in USA. Oh, and speaking of good times, Pak Cik Burhan is a barbecue expert. We twice had Pak Cik Burhan over for barbeque parties and they were really fun. My dad said that Pak Cik Burhan loves barbecuing ever since they were in Carbondale!

I hope that Pak Cik Burhan has a wonderful birthday and enjoyed the birthday song from my little brother, Ahmad Ali 😉

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Aromatic smell of spices rose up with the mist

From pots of porridge that you can never resist

Everyday hundreds lined up patiently in the queue

For their share of the well-known Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru

Ramadhan Mubarak to all Muslims worldwide. Starting from today, we can once again enjoy the Malaysia’s best iftar – the ‘bubur lambuk’. Although this wonderful porridge can be found all over Malaysia, ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’ from the famous Masjid Jamek stole the show.

Everyday, hundreds of people from all parts of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor could be seen lining up for some of this mouth-watering delicacy. But for those who are willing to pay RM 2.00 (for a pack of bubur lambuk) to skip the extremely long queue, I suggest that you should buy the ‘Bubur Lambuk Kak Sham’ sold by Aunty Sham who is a good friend of mum’s. As far as I know, Aunty Sham’s bubur lambuk is the best compared to the many other bubuk lambuk stalls around the mosque, with the taste as authentic as the famous Kampung Baru’s Masjid Jamek’s bubur lambuk.

(please click here to read more about ‘Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru‘)

Today, my dad came home from the mosque with a gigantic bag of bubur lambuk. The aromatic scent immediately spread throughout the house. My little brother (who is trying to fast for a full day for the first time)  was walking down the stairs when he stopped in his tracks. The familiar appetizing smell floated into his tiny nose and forced him to run back fearing of breaking his fast. He announced that he is going to stay upstairs until Maghrib approaches. I once had an experience like his when I was a year older than him. Only that in the end, I had to break my fast after struggling really hard to hold back my hunger. But how could I not when I was in the car sitting right beside packs of aromatic bubur lambuk throughout the whole journey back home from Kampung Baru?

If you are a fan of bubur lambuk and have not yet tried the Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru, please make a trip to Kampung Baru before the end of Ramadhan. Try the famous Masjid Jamek’s or those from Aunty Sham’s stall and you’ll be back for more! And for the Bubur Lambuk Kampung Baru’s lovers, well, I don’t think that I need to remind you of this incredibly tasty dish. Ramadhan will remind us of the delicious smell of spices and will send us all the way to Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru for this lovely savoury porridge!

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