Ginger and Cinnamon Tea


The yet to be crushed ginger and cinnamon. On the left is the traditional Malaysian pestle and mortar

There is nothing better than indulging myself to a warm cup of ginger and cinnamon tea after a long day of hard work. Only a whiff of the tea is enough to make me craving for a sip of this wonderful and aromatic tea. The aromatic and spicy flavour of ginger together with the sweet and warm taste of cinnamon blends wonderfully with that unique aroma of tea resulting a drink that is so flavourful and heavenly delicious. And the best part is, not only that the tea is so tasty but it is also loaded with tremendous medicinal benefits!

Cinnamon is known for its ability to improve blood circulation and the effectiveness of insulin which plays a role in lowering blood sugar and bad cholesterol level; while antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-clotting and anti-nausea are some of the many medicinal properties of ginger. And black tea has a good amount of antioxidant too! For a ‘spicier’ taste, I sometimes add some cloves which is an excellent source of manganese to the brew.

The result of the 'crushing' process.

The result of the 'crushing' process.

Every once in a while (since I am not that eager to crush the spices), I would prepare the ginger and cinnamon tea for both my mom and I. The process is not that hard actually, but I find grinding cinnamon quite tiring especially to avoid the pieces of cinnamon from ‘jumping’ all over the kitchen. While mom loves her tea the way it is, I prefer mine with a richer taste of milk. Since ginger and cinnamon tea has a unique blend of taste, it goes best without sugar which is all the better for your health!

Lakse Kuoh Masok


On Sunday, we had a very delicious ‘lakse kuoh masok’ (laksa kuah masak) for dinner at nenek’s place. ‘Lakse kuoh masok’ is a type of rice noodle (lakse) dish served with a spicy fish curry sauce (kuoh masok) and fresh raw vegetables called ‘ulang’ (ulam in standard speak). In Terengganu, we have two types of laksa dishes – ‘lakse kuoh masok’ (rice noodle in cooked fish curry sauce) and ‘lakse kuoh metoh’ (rice noodle in uncooked fish curry sauce. ‘Lakse kuoh masok’ is also known as ‘lakse kuoh meroh’ while ‘lakse kuoh metoh’ is also known as ‘lakse kuoh puteh’ due to the colours of their fish curry sauces.

The delicious ‘lakse kuoh masok’ that we enjoyed that evening was specially brought by Pak Cik Hisham who works in nenek’s bookstore, Alam Akademik in Kuala Terengganu. The ‘kuoh’ (fish curry sauce) was cooked by Pak Cik Hisham’s mother. She must be a very good cook for the ‘kuoh’ is very tasty. According to nenek, it is not easy to prepare a very tasty ‘kuoh masok’ for in cooking Terengganu traditional dishes, the amount of ingredients used for a recipe is just ‘agok-agok’ or about ‘a certain amount’- so one needs a lot of practice to master the recipe.

Even the laksa (rice noodle) is brought from Terengganu. In KL, mum uses the dried laksa because the kind of fresh laksa sold in KL tastes very differently from the ones sold in Terengganu. Of course the fresh laksa or ‘lakse kebok’ is much tastier than the dried laksa especially the one that Pak Cik Hisham brought to KL. Nenek said that Pak Cik Hisham’s ‘lakse’ was of high quality and stayed soft and fresh even after two days outside the refrigerator.

Preparing a traditional ‘lakse kuoh masok’ is rather tedious especially when the types of fish suitable for the fish curry sauce are quite bony. First we have to boil the fish and debone them. The process is tricky as we have to look out for fine fish bones. Then mash the fish using a mortar and pestle until smooth. Cook the fish in coconut milk together with shrimp paste, chili paste, asam, shallots, garlic, ginger and other spices and herbs on slow fire for at least four hours for a tasty ‘kuoh masok’.

For the vegetables, traditionally we use brinjals, cucumbers, bean sprouts, fresh basil leaves, cashew shoots, long beans and kesomleaves or polygonum. Slice (very fine) all the vegetables except brinjals and cucumbers that should be cut into fine cubes. Anyway for the modern version of ‘lakse kuoh masok’, any ulam (salad) such as pegaga, ulam raja, etc can be used instead of the vegetables mentioned above but the basil and kesom (polygonum) leaves are a must. If using the dried laksa, boil the laksa until soft, then rinse them in cold water. Please do not use the KL version of fresh laksa for it does not taste like the Terengganu ‘lakse at all. Serve the ‘lakse’ (lakse kebok’ if possible) with ‘kuoh‘, vegetables, slices of hard boiled eggs, lime and some shrimp paste and chili paste for an extra delicious ‘lakse kuoh masok‘. ‘Pok Cik Shang‘, thank you very much for the delicious lakse – we really enjoyed the ‘akok’ and egg tarts too.’Sedak sunggoh kuoh lakse mok Pok Cik Shang. Rase macang nok lagi je’.