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Posts Tagged ‘Ikang singgang’


Two weeks in Kuala Terengganu was really enjoyable. I visited a lot of interesting places and met lots of wonderful people. I also had the chances to sample a lot of Terengganu foods.

Pak Chik Changgeh mentioned about a restaurant in Rusila named Kedai Lempeng that serves ‘ttupak sutong’ everyday (Please refer to ‘TTupak Sutong’). We went there on the first day they started their business after their Eid break. I like the place and the owners are very friendly and polite. We tried their ‘ikang and sutong celuk ttepong’ (please refer to Cicoh – part 2), ‘ttupak sutong’ (please refer to ‘Ttupak Sutong’) ‘lepeng nyor’ (lempeng), ‘rojok ceranang’ (a type of Terengganu salad), ‘rojok kateh’ and ‘keropok lekor’.

The fish and squid were fresh and tasty; and so were their ‘ikang singgang’ and ‘budu’ (please refer to ‘ikang Singgang’). The ‘rojok kateh’ was also tasty  but the ‘ttupak sutong’ was rather “cero“. The ‘kuoh’ or the curry soup of the ‘ttupak sutong’ was not thick enough (too watery) and did not have either that wonderful flavour nor the lovely aroma of a tasty ‘ttupak sutong’. Anyway the ‘air nira’ and the young coconut drink which were both mixed with ice-cream were really tasty. And so were the lempeng or “coconut pancake” as my siblings called them. Actually that was the first time I tried the ‘lepeng nyor’!

The next day I ate ‘lempeng’ at another stall close to the Primula Hotel known as ‘Keda Atak Nipoh’ (Nipah Roof Stall). We prefered their ‘lempeng’ compared to the ones served at Kedai Lempeng. The people who run this stall were very nice and friendly. They also sell delicious Terengganu style ‘nasi lemak’.

Another place that sells delicious ‘nasi lemak’ was a stall in Jalan Kampung Kolam which was run by Mak Cik Ani and her husband. Mak Cik Ani used to work for Alam Akademik, a bookstore  that belongs to my grandmother. Mak Cik Ani’s ‘nasi minyak’ was delicious too.

We also had our ‘nasi minyak’ at a very popular ‘nasi minyak’ and ‘roti canai’ stall opposite the Sekolah Kebangsaan Ladang. When we reached there, the stall was almost full but we managed to get our seats. We waited for ages but nobody came to take our order and when we called the staff, she just looked at us rudely and ignored us!

The worst part of their bad service was there were customers who just came in could get their ‘nasi minyak’ almost at once while others had to wait for ages to order their breakfast! Infact another customer who was seated next to us just walked out of the place after telling us that he was already tired of waiting for his ‘nasi minyak’. At last we got our ‘nasi minyak’; but the ‘roti canai’ never came. Another customer said that being so popular, the  stall owner do not care if their customers walked out or gave up on them ‘cos more will come for their ‘nasi minyak’ and ‘roti canai’. And that reminds me of the rude lady at the sales counter of the very popular keropok lekor place in Bukit Tok Beng! (please refer to ‘Two Weeks in Kuala Terengganu’)

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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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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).

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I love ‘ikang singgang’ or ikan singgang in standard speak; and I guess so do most of Terengganu folks that I know. The singgang soup or ‘kuah singgang’ is so tasty that mum has to cook extra rice whenever she cooks the dish.

In our family ‘ikang singgang’ should be accompanied by ‘ikang panggang’ (grilled fish), a good quality ‘budu’ (a special sauce from Terengganu), ‘ppoyok’ or tempoyak (fermented durian), ‘lada jarung’ (bird’s eye chili) and ‘ulang’ or ulam (Malaysian salad) especially ‘pucuk jambu golok’ or pucuk gajus in standard speak (cashew shoots).

‘Ikang singgang’ is a simple dish – mum would boil some asam, galangal, turmeric and garlic in a pot of water. Next, she’ll add some fish and soon we’ll be sniffing the mouth watering aroma of tasty boiling ‘ikang sinnggang’ that sends us running to the kitchen asking how much longer we have to wait for our lunch. ‘Ikang singgang’ can be eaten hot or cold and some even prefer overnight ‘ikang singgang’. One can just add the ‘ikang singgang’ to their rice but both of my grandfathers prefer to first mix some ‘ppoyok’ and crush some green chilies in the ‘kuah’ (soup) before eating. Some, like nenek (my grandmother) prefers fresh durian instead of ‘ppoyok’.

According to mum, the right choice of fish and the freshness of the fish plays an important role in producing a good ‘kuah singgang’. The most popular fish for this dish is

ikang aye’ or ikan tongkol. There are 3 types of ‘ikang aye’ but the tastiest is the ‘ikang aye itang’. Infact ‘ikang aye itang’ is the prime choice in most of Terengganu fish dishes.

Next is how to prepare ‘budu’. First one has to buy a good quality ‘budu’. We can buy ‘budu’ easily but a good ‘budu’ is hard to get even in Terengganu. Squeeze a bit of lime juice and add a bit of ‘kuah singgang’, mix in some ‘ppoyok’, crush in some ‘lada jarung’ and garnish the ‘budu’ with some shallots and lemon grass. And do not forget the ‘pucuk jambu golok’ or cashew shoots.

A friend of dad (whose wife is not from Terengganu) used to complain that only Terengganu women can cook authentic ‘ikang singgang’ and he always misses his ‘kuah ikang singgang’ in KL. A not so tasty ‘kuah ikang singgang’ tastes ‘cero’. My conclusion is it is not that easy to cook a good ‘kuah ikang singgang’ after all!

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