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The tasty ttupak pulok

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.

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A year ago I would be stunned if somebody were to tell me that I’m going to write on the subject of Trengganuspeak as I know almost nothing about it (please refer to ‘Solo Bolo’). It was Uncle AG‘s (Awang Goneng) GUIT (Growing Up In Trengganu) that started my interest to learn Trengganuspeak. Thank you again Uncle AG – you are a great sifu. Or is it siput in Trengganuspeak as Pok Chang Siput (in GUIT: pg 203)? (refer to ‘A New Trengganuspeak Word From Awang Goneng’)

How true it is that spelling words in Trengganuspeak is really challenging even for Terengganu folks in Terengganu. As for me; even to pronounce the words are challenging enough. Just now my little brother Ahmad Ali asked for his vitamin in English. I corrected his pronunciation and dad teasingly corrected mine to ‘bitameng’ (that means vitamin in Trengganuspeak). Upon hearing ‘bitameng’ mum asked, “Isn’t it ‘bitaming’?” Dad said it is ‘bitameng’ and left my mum puzzled…

That brings me back to ‘kerejong’ or ‘kherjong’ (refer to ‘A New Trengganuspeak Word From Awang Goneng’). When I first saw it in ‘Kecek-Kecek’, I thought it meant ‘keras’ (hard). But mum said that ‘kherjong’ got nothing to do with ‘keras’. The word that explain the state of ‘keras’ (hard) is ‘khejong’ – ‘kerah khejong’. Mum later explained that apart from ‘kerah khejong’, there is also ‘kerah ccokkeng’. ‘Kerah khejong’ refers to the feel of hardness or very chewy (for food). For example if one bite into a cold leftover fried keropok lekor; especially the ones sold in KL; one would say, “‘Kerah khejong’ doh khepok leko ning” (The keropok lekor had turned very chewy).

On the other hand, ‘kerah ccokkeng’ refers to the ‘visual’ state of hardness or may even be fresh in food. Mum gave an example of a sentence she used to hear, “‘Kerah ccokkeng’ ikang (fish) ni”.

Until now I guess I’m still confused and could not distinguish the meanings ‘khejong’ and ‘ccokkeng’ for they are too confusing and difficult. Worst , I may end up getting confuse of ‘kherjong’/’kerejong’ (straitjacket) and ‘khejong’ as in ‘kerah khejong’. So now, I’m getting more and more confused than I used to be.

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Last weekend, my family and I attended a wedding celebration and we were given some tokens in form of ‘bunga telur’ (‘bunga’ means flower and ‘telur’ means egg) by our host. Bunga telur is actually hard boiled egg decorated with plastic/ paper/ crystal flowers or decorated in boxes (or in container) made of paper, ceremic and even crystal.

Mum told me that in the old days (in Terengganu) the eggs for ‘bunga telur’ would be painted red using red food colouring. But mum has no idea of why the eggs were painted red and not other colour. It would made more sense if that (colouring the eggs red) were practiced by the Chinese since they believe that red brings them good luck. Anyway I do not have the chance to see ‘telur merah’ or red coloured eggs.

Now I’m wondering why did eggs were used as a wedding token in Malay tradition. However, nowadys sweets, candies, chocolates, cupcakes and others are sometimes used instead of eggs. But somehow eggs are still widely used and we would end up with lots of hard boiled eggs during the wedding season.

In Malaysia the Malays use hard boiled eggs to garnish their dishes such as fried noodle, salad, various kinds of ‘laksa’ and much more. Hard boiled egg is also used for egg curry, egg sambal, egg sandwiches and even in a special rice dish called nasi telur (nasi means rice and telur means egg).

It is interesting to note that certain people belief that eating raw eggs mixed with honey will make them healthier. Raw eggs are also used in other drinks such as mixed them with fresh milk or carrot juice.

So special are the eggs that in the old days (I heard this tale from my grandmother) they even find the use for rotten eggs. Rotten eggs or ‘telur tembelang’ in Trengganuspeak are used to show hatred and were thrown at an enemy or their house. What a bad attitude. Alhamdulillah such incidence does not happen anymore (or at least I hope so!)

*Note: I would like to thank my mum for the informations.

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Yesterday evening dad took home some “karipap” and “Seri Muka”. They were very, very delicious – it should be cos they were from Pak Cik Suhaimi (Uncle Suhaimi). Thank you, Pak Cik Suhaimi – we really miss your cooking.

Pak Cik Suhaimi is a very good cook. Among my favourites are his Laksa Johor, Roti Jala and of course his Sambal Tempoyak. Unfortunately Pak Cik Suhaimi only sells his Sambal Tempoyak during Ramadhan. He used various kind of herb (finely sliced) mixed with ‘tempoyak’ (fermented durian), cili padi, ikan bilis (Malaysian anchovies) and other secret ingredients!

Well, in Terengganu we have ‘Tok Aji Serbang’ which is quite similar to ‘Seri Muka’! Of course my family would prefer the ‘Tok Aji Serbang’ but Pak Cik Suhaimi’s ‘Seri Muka’ was good. Mum says that in Terengganu they use lots of eggs in their kuih (sweet cakes) – for example akok nganang (I’m not so sure what it is), jala mas, and much, much more.

Maybe the people of Terengganu loves using eggs in their kuih so much that my grandmother would crack an egg to mix with blede bodo (agar agar or a Malaysian jelly), pengat and sira pisang! And they taste very very good. My grandfather even love to have slices of hard boiled egg in his karipap’s filling.

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Both of my parents are from Kuala Terengganu and studied in Sultan Sulaiman Primary and Secondary School (refer to The Sulaimanians). And I’m proud to say that my father was once the head boy of Sultan Sulaiman Secondary School.

Anyway, I was born and grew up in Kuala Lumpur; hence I am not that familiar with Terengganu or Trengganuspeak (refer to ‘Solo Bolo’, Trengganuspeak and ‘Trengganuspeak 2‘). Nevertheless I do love Terengganu very much. Among my favourite places in Kuala Terengganu is my grandparents’ house. I’ll always remember the big smile on Atuk’s(my grandfather) face the moment we reached there. I love them very much. There are so many things to do over there- huge area to play and run around plus the endless dishes and kuih (sweet cakes) that can’t be found in Kuala Lumpur. My sisters and I would sleep in their room and spent our time talking and sharing stories.

The next place in my list would be my grandmother’s bookshop- Alam Akademik or Keda Pok Loh Yunang (as Uncle Awang Goneng remembered it! – Growing Up in Trengganu page 73). My siblings and I love books and we would be spending long hours at the bookshop. The best part is nenek (grandma) would give us lots and lots of books to take home to Kuala Lumpur!

Great Grandpa with Uncle Awang Goneng during GUiT launch Dec 2007 at Alam Akademik

Another favourite place of mine is my great grandfather’s house [a son of Abdullah Al-Yunani]. I always called his house ‘library’ for he has a huge collections of Reader Digest’s books. He always remember the type of books that I like and would excitedly picked the ones that I have not read (especially the new tittles). Great grand dad even gave me some books from his collections (which I know he loves so much) – knowing that I really would love to have them.

Sunrise at Batu Buruk beach, Kuala Terengganu - Dec 2006

And of course I love going to the beach. Dad would wake us up very early in the morning to watch the sun rise at Pantai Batu Buruk (the nearest beach). We would build sand castles, gather lots and lots of seashells, fly our kites or play with frees be. In the afternoon we can buy khepok leko, ikang celuk ttepong and a lot more.

At Batu Buruk beach Dec 2006

Dad like to take us around Kuala Terengganu . We visited his schools, Pulau Duyong, places where they make kerepok leko etc. Once dad took us on a boat ride along the scenic Terengganu River and on our last trip we drove around places mentioned in GUiT including Uncle Awang Goneng’s house in Tanjung (close to Atuk’s kitab shop-Jendela Ilmu).

My other fond memories of Terengganu is of course the food. Buah Khadeh (so far I still can’t pronounce it right), khepok leko, akok, rojok betik and a lot more that I don’t even know what their names are. Unfortunately mum says that rare fruits like buoh ppisang (not pisang or banana) are not easily found. I really wish that I can taste those fruits one day. Thank you Uncle Awang Goneng for telling the stories of rare fruits and old kuih of old Trengganu, the history and my roots, and thank you for teaching me Trengganuspeak. But so far I still cant speak ‘in Trengganuspeak’ and having a hard time trying to understand them!

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I love to keep things of sentimental value and things that I can reuse in the future [after all we should recycle!]. But the problem is… that means I just want to keep everything!

Rare and beautiful candy wrappers, pretty seashells , nice boxes, colourful pamphlets [especially from Cold Storage!], interesting articles, cereal boxes [the cardboard can be reused], to old exercise books and broken toys! Mum said that I’ll end up with a house full of junks. Junks? Well… maybe I should go through my ‘collection’!

I have lots of old articles [and even stories] that I kept for future reading but yet to be read, also cute little pencils [an inch long of used ordinary pencils!], broken pens, little pieces of used erasers, pieces of papers that means a lot to me, little mementos and the list would just go on and on. That causes mum a real headache. Can’t blame my mum ‘coz I just piled up my things everywhere I can around the house. In fact my personal ‘compartments’ are overloaded by all these that I ran out of space for more important things!

Whenever I [have to] spring-clean and be parted from some of my ‘collections’, it really breaks my heart. But sometimes it made me laugh and wonder why on Earth did I kept some of those things?

I guess I’m not the only person who have this [kind of] problem of choosing between precious and junk. But the real problem is – sometimes I was too busy keeping junks that I misplaced or worse threw away things that are really important; the ones which actually should be kept safely!

Maybe it is time for me to learn to be more organised. As they say – mum always knows what is best for us!

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Last weekend I learnt a few new (Trengganuspeak) words- ma’nga, pongoh and ‘ngamok. Ma’nga like solo bolo is also about being careless only that ma’nga is a habit of forgetting to do something while solo bolo is being extremely careless in doing things like running over something or knocking down things. But children who are forever running around, disturbing others and knocking down things are not solo bolo but nano (not the name of the candy – Nanonano.)

Pongoh is hot-tempered and when a pongoh person could not control their anger, they end up ‘ngamok’ (losing temper/ throwing tantrums/ uncontrolled violent rage). When mum was about my age, their helper brought a dish prepared by her mum named ‘Tok Kaya ‘Ngamok’ (a rich man ran amok). Upon tasting the dish Atuk (my grandpa) laughed and said that now he knew why they named it Tok Kaya ‘Ngamok – it tasted sour and extremely hot. No wonder that rich man lost control of his emotion and ran amok.

The version that mum tried was cubes of fresh (very sour) unriped pineapple soaked in a gravy of very, very hot chillies, shrimp paste, tamarind paste, a dash of salt and sugar that was grind to a paste and mixed with water. Well, I have not tasted it and do not really fancy to try it for fear I too would ‘ngamok like the poor old rich man.

Note: I’m sorry to say that my knowledge of Trengganuspeak (as Uncle Awang Goneng quote in GUIT) is very limited and I just can’t pronounce them right.

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