Cicoh (part 2)


In Trengganu, we like to ‘cicoh’ (dip) when eating; we ‘cicoh’ our food in our drinks, curries, gravies, soups, dipping sauces and whatever that could further enhance the taste of our food. In my last post; ‘Cicoh Part 1‘, among others I wrote about ‘buoh ulu cicoh Milo’ (a Trengganu sweet cake dipped in Milo) and what will happen when ‘cicoh’ (dip) turned to ‘celok’ (over dipped/ dunk).

We normally eat our curries, gravies and soups with rice but we do not ‘cicoh’ our rice in kuoh (curry/gravy/soup) because it will take forever to finish eating if one tries ‘cicoh’ each grain of rice in kuoh. However, we ‘cicoh roti bata‘ (white bread) or ‘roti paung’ (buns) in ‘kuoh’. We have special breads such as ‘roti canai‘, ‘chapati‘, ‘putu mayam‘, ‘roti jala’ dan ‘roti ppayang’ (naan) that are tasty when eaten ‘cicoh’ curry or ‘gula’ (Terengganu curry).

Grilled fish is normally eaten ‘cicoh budu’ (a special dipping sauce – please refer to ‘ikang singgang’) and we ‘cicoh’ our ‘ulang’ (Malaysian salad) in ‘samba belacang’ (dipping sauce from red hot chili, shrimp paste and sugar pounded in a mortar until smooth; then squeeze enough lime juice).

We also have ‘air lade’ – a dipping sauce for ‘khepok leko‘, ‘khepok keping’ (fish cracker) and also for ‘ikang’ and ‘sutong goreng celok ttepung’ (fish and squid dipped in a special batter then deep-fry until golden brown). Mom said that when she was young they used to ‘cicoh pisang goreng celuk ttepung’ (banana dipped in batter then deep-fry just like ‘ikang celuk ttepung‘) in ‘air lada’ and it tasted good. Anyway the ‘air lada’ from Terengganu is much tastier than the ones in KL.

If in Western countries people dip their fruits in melted chocolate; in Trengganu we dipped them in ‘ccolek‘. ‘Ccolek’ is usually freshly made by pounding red hot chilies, palm sugar, shrimp paste and may be a bit of tamarind paste in a mortar until smooth. The tricky part is to get the right balance of the ingredients for a perfect ‘ccolek‘. Traditionally we eat ‘buoh ppelang putik’ (unripe mango), ‘jambu air’ (water apple), jambu buteir banyok’ (guava) and other local sour fruits dipped in ‘ccolek’ but I also like to dip Granny Smith apples in ‘ccolek’ when ‘buoh ppelang’ is not in season. Who knows, may be strawberries ‘cicoh ccolek’ taste better than dipped in chocolate; at least for ‘orang Tranung’ (Trengganufolks).

We also cicoh a variety of food in grated young coconut (cicoh nyor). Boiled tapioca, ‘apang’ (a type of steamed cake), ‘kusu’ and a number of other ‘kueh’ (traditional cakes) are also eaten ‘cicoh nyor‘. Condensed milk (susu manih) is also used for dipping and so is sugar. ‘Roti cana’ (a Malaysian Indian flat bread) which is usually eaten ‘cicoh kari’ (dipped in kari) is also tasty when ‘cicoh susu manih’ or ‘gule’ (sugar) especially for the children who can’t take the spicy curry.

When it is fine to over dipped or dunk (celok) one’s food in drinks, please do not celok (dunk) your fish in ‘budu’ for your fish will be ‘maseng ppekkok’ (very, very salty) nor your ‘ulang’ (salad) in ‘samba blacang’ and ‘buoh’ (fruits) in ‘ccolek’ because it will then be ‘pedah ddesik’ (very, very hot) and you will end up ‘minung air sapa nok pecoh perok‘ (drinking endless glasses of water).

Cicoh (Dip)


In Trengganuspeak we have two different words to describe the different manners of dipping. If a person dip just a small portion of (for example) a banana (pisang) in honey (madu); in Trengganuspeak we name the dipping process as ‘cicoh’. So we’ll say ‘pisang cicoh madu‘. But if a person dip the whole banana in honey; the dipping process is no more cicoh but celok. Hence we now say ‘pisang celok madu‘.

Trengganufolks like to ‘cicoh‘ (dip) their crackers, cookies, certain types of bread and cakes in their drinks. The most preferred drinks for dipping are coffee, tea and ‘Milo’. I’m not so sure if fresh fruit juice and fizzy drinks are also used for dippings. Anyway my siblings and I love to cicoh our cookies and crackers in ‘Milo‘. ‘Biskuk jagung’ (cream cracker) also known as ‘biskuk pak ssegi’ (according to mum) is usually eaten dipped in drinks – in our case, we dip the crackers in ‘Milo‘. Other cookies such as ‘Tiger Biskuat‘, ‘Tiger Susu’ and ‘Biskuk Marie’ are also tasty for cicoh ‘Milo’. During the Eid celebrations I often saw people cicoh their ‘biskuk raya’ (cookies baked for Eid) in their drinks back in Kuala Terengganu; but I prefer to eat my Eid cookies just the way they were.

One should try ‘buoh ulu cicoh Milo‘. ‘Buoh ulu’ or bahulu is a Malaysian sweet cake made from eggs, flour and sugar. They can be soft or crisp depending on how long they were baked. ‘Buoh ulu’ is actually tasty on its own but when dipped in ‘Milo’ -mmm… it surely tastes a lot better. The creamy and chocolaty taste of ‘Milo’ really enhanced the lovely taste of ‘buoh ulu‘. The ‘buoh ulu’ will then be very soft and just melt in my mouth. Sometimes I over ‘cicoh’ (over dip) the ‘buoh ulu’ until parts of my ‘buoh ulu’ sink to the bottom of my ‘Milo‘. I would then use a spoon to dig out my delicious ‘buoh ulu‘. Anyway not all type of cakes would be tasty when dip in drinks. I haven’t heard of anyone who dip their cheese cake or ‘nganang’ (a traditional Trengganu sweet cakes) in their drinks… but who knows?

Nenek (my grandmother) and dad loves to ‘cicoh’ their ‘roti kerah Kemamang’ (a special hard, dry and crispy bread from a district in Terengganu named Kemaman) in ‘kawe’ (black coffee). Another of nenek’s favourite is ‘kayu khammak’(a type of local Terengganu fried bread) cicoh tey o’ (plain tea). I do not like ‘kayu khammak cicoh air’ (drinks) for the drink will then become oily and I do not fancy drinking oily drinks. Oh yes; we drink the leftover drink used for dipping.

One should be creative in thinking of what to ‘cicoh’ in their drinks and of the type of drinks to choose as ‘nnyiccoh’ (a drink to cicoh in). Anyway don’t ever ‘cicoh’ your ‘ikang panggang’ (grilled fish) in your ‘kawe ‘(black coffee) or any other drink for it will then taste ‘anye’. Normally we ‘cicoh’ sweet or rather plain tasted food (eg: white bread) in our drinks but I know a few people who love the taste of ‘khepok kkeping’ (fish cracker) and ‘pulok lepa (please refer to Delicious Pulok) cicoh kawe‘; and I don’t mind to give that a try, I guess…

I perfectly understand the difference between ‘cicoh’ and ‘celok’ but when dad said ‘kicoh‘, I was puzzled. Fortunately mum was around and explained the meaning of ‘kicoh‘. So, if you plan to try dipping your ‘bouh ulu’ in your drink; please remember to ‘cicoh selo-selo’ (dip slowly) for if you over ‘cicoh’ it will be no more ‘cicoh’ but ‘celok‘ (dunk) and if that happens your ‘buoh ulu’ will sink to the bottom of your drink. But it is alright because you can still scoop the ‘buoh ulu’ with a spoon and eat it. However, never ever ‘kicoh’ (rinse) your ‘buoh ulu’ in your drink for it will break to tiny pieces and become too messy to be eaten.

Note: The ‘c’s in cicoh and celok are pronounced as the pronunciation of ‘ch’ in English. The act of ‘makang cicoh air’ (dipping food in drinks) should not be done in fancy restaurants or while eating in another people’s house. Infact it should not be done even in our house, if we have guests around. Anyway one can enjoy their food ‘cicoh air’ in food stalls, ordinary restaurants, very close relatives’ and friends’ houses (in Trengganu). Remember to ‘irup sapa abih’ (finish up) your drink after you are done dipping.