Special Ramadhan treats from Terengganu

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

Malay Kueh In Ramadhan

I just love looking at Malay kueh (sweet and savoury Malay cakes) sold during Ramadhan. They are so colourful and seems more delicious when I am fasting.

Anyway we avoid buying those colourful kueh for the artificial colouring and flavouring used is bad for our health. In fact mum cooks everyday for we prefer to eat in during Ramadhan. It is tastier and healthier too.

Mum buys a lot of fruits for she loves them very much. And she prefers to serve fruits instead of sweet kueh. We also eat lots of dates for Rasulullah peace be upon him loved to eat dates and how I wish that we can have the zam-zam (water) everyday.

Watching what I eat is easier in KL but when we are back at nenek’s house in Kuala Terengganu during the last days of Ramadhan, things would be real hard for me. Every evening nenek would be buying all kinds of Terengganu kueh for my siblings and me. She always remembers the kueh that we love and even buys the ones that she thinks we may like! And who can say no to those delicios Traditional Terengganu kueh such as Akok, Nganang, Tok Aji Serebang, Pulok Lepa, Jale Mas, Lopak Tikang, blede, Kue Belimbing and lots more. So I’ll ended up consuming extra sugar, eggs and coconut milk. Alhamdulillah, I am lucky because I am not spending the whole Ramadhan eating the way I did in Terengganu. Anyway I must  try to control myself this Ramadhan.

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.