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.
I always love moringa curry; but I never imagine that the tree is so ‘special’ until highlighted by Dr. Azahar. According to Dr. Azahar moringa, murunggai, merunggai, kelo, or ‘mmungga’ (in Trengganuspeak) is rich in anti-oxidant and contains 7 times the vitamin C in orange, 4 times the calcium in milk, 4 times the vitamin A in carrots, 2 times the protein in milk and 3 times the potassium in bananas.
Moringa – compared with other foods
Impressed by the information, I did some reading on moringa. Moringa is a miracle tree and is one of the world most nutritious crops. It grows throughout the tropics and thrive in impossible places; even in bad soil. Not only it is a great source of nutrition for both human and animals, it can also be used for medicine (such as in fighting HIV and diabetes), dye water purification and biofuel.
The leaves contain complete protein which is rare for a plant. The growing tips and young leaves are tasty and very rich in iron. It is also good for sanctuary animal feed and livestock forage . The flowers are said to be effective in fighting cold and can be cooked as well as for making tea. They are also good for bee keepers. The pods and roots are edible too. The seeds can used to purify water by settling out sediment and organisms. Unlike Jatropha oil, the oil from moringa seeds is beneficial not only for making biofuel but also for human. The seeds are also effective against skin infection as they contain antibiotic.
[Moringa tree & fruit – courtesy of the respective sites]
This extremely fast growing tree can be planted from direct seeding, transplanting or using hard stem cutting. Anyway there are claims that moringa ‘attracts’ certain caterpillars that can cause allergic reaction to skin; if come in contact.
So now I have more good reasons to enjoy mum’s moringa curry. Imagine, eating the soft and tasty seeds and chewing on the skin at the end of the meal… plus all the vitamins, minerals and much more. Anyway sad to say that mum was down with flu last weekend, so no moringa curry for me this week! How I wish that I could give mum some moringa tea. I have not tried the moringa leaves but nenek(my grandma) used to fry them with eggs for omelets. And the Indians cook them in so many ways. The Sri Lankan love them too.
Note: I can’t recall if my Sri Lankan friend Aishah Salihue has a moringa tree among many other trees in her beautiful backyard in California. Her mum cooks wonderful vegetable dishes and I’m sure that her moringa dishes are delicious too!