Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Raya’s looming over us, in fact we’ll find out tonite at 7pm.  No point debating if it’s going to be Wednesday or Thursday, although many I’ve talked to were certain it’s going to be tomorrow. I haven’t seen our Raya cakes at home yet; they’ll arrive late on the first day. But here’s a taster of what you can expect during the celebrations.

Kuih Mor (Snowballs) are a must during raya. No Kuih mor, no raya.

Kuih Lapis Sarawak is a work of art as well as engineering. The separate layers are intricately organized with such geometric precision.

More pics coming soon.

In the mean time, Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir dan Batin, everyone!! Enjoy the celebrations!

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A bit of Pakistan

I went to a North Indian/ Pakistani restaurant in Kiulap the other day for sungkai and had awesome curry the way I like it. Just look at these pics.

Sweet Lassi and Bandung, dates and the world’s best Pakora to break the fast.

Kofta Karahi

Chicken Jalfrezi

Vegetable Lahori

Briyani

Lamb Karahi

Thick fluffy nan bread to go with the curry.

For dessert, Sweet Semolina

Excellent stuff!

Sungkai Delights

We’re at the end of Ramadan today, and tomorrow we’ll be celebrating Hari Raya or Eid (if the ‘baby’ moon is sighted tonite). But i’ve somewhat fallen behind in posting up pics of food here (blame my photo editing programme that shuts down while you’re still working on something). As usual Ramadan has not disappointed me this time as even though we fast the whole month, the most beautiful and delicious foods seem to just conjure from nowhere (but perhaps from pots, belangas and periuks… you know what I mean lah).  I suppose it’s just natural, coz when you’ve been fasting the whole day, even the simplest dish like Maggi Kari campur talur would seem like precious truffles… not that I know what truffles taste like – sia-sia pon…  But here are a few more drool-inducing beauties I had these past few weeks.

This is Wajid Temburong or Wajid Jawa.  The normal Wajid is sticky rice mixed with natural palm sugar, rolled into fingers as above, and wrapped in Daun Nyirik. Wajid Temburong uses fine grain rice, which gives the cake a finer texture.  It is so named apparently because the tradition started in the Temburong District. It’s also called Wajid Jawa after the type of fine rice used.

Katu Mayang is soft noodle cakes made from rice flour served with coconut and pandan cream.  The contrast between the Pandan green and the white noodles is enough to entice anyone to try it.

The Popiah Udang (this is the small triangular version) is always a winner in the savoury snacks department. This pic is of the stock I have in my bedroom, so obviously I love it. The fried curry leaves add a beautiful aroma to the popia. A Raya favourite this.

Another savoury is the Kuih Jala, so called due to it’s a rolled up net-like appearance (‘jala’ means ‘net’). Inside the roll is usually curried chicken or beef and potato. (NOTE: Apparently if the ‘roll’ is filled as such, it’s then called Kuih Renjis – Thanks Kalbi!).

I’m rather undecided if this Pulut Kuning and Kelapa is savoury or sweet. The yellow colour comes from turmeric added to sticky rice, which gives it that savoury flavour as well. But the dessicated coconut with brown sugar is sweet. So what you get is an interesting contrast of flavours in this very simple dish.

These muffin-like cakes are steamed Apam made from Tapai rice (i’ve been told) and palm sugar. In the background you’ll see famous Kuih Malaya. This particular one is by far the best Kuih Malay I’ve ever had (i’ve made many return trips to the Bu Hajah who made them in the Tutong Gerai Ramadan since). The peanut, sugar and raisin filling is shown below.

This is Bubur Kacang Hijau with Durian or Green Mung Bean Sweet porridge with Durian.

These green Spring roll-looking kuih is called Kuih Lenggang (literally ‘Wiggle cake’ – wonder why). Essentially it’s a pandan crepe filled with sweet dessicated coconut and rolled up.

Pandan is also a key ingredient in this Kuih Talam (correct me here!) particularly to create the green layer. The bottom layer is sweet glutinous rice. (NOTE: I have been corrected- this Kueh is actually called Seri Muka – Thanks again Kalbi!).

This pretty combo was what I had at Nyonya Restaurant Sungkai Buffet the other week.  On the plate is Prawn Folded Popia, a heart-shaped Apam and Mulitcoloured Bingka Lapis (close up below).  The pink drink is Bandung, rose-syrup with milk.

Gorgeous to look at, even better to eat.  Till next year, Ramadan.

Dimsum… the finish.

I’d earlier posted the steamed Dim sums. There were also other dishes and desserts.

The item on the right is my favourite Yam dumpling with chicken filling, see below. The other one is crispy prawn fritter.

This was nice too, can’t remember what it’s called.

In the fore you’ll see probably the most tasty dish we had that night, very tender chicken cuts.  At the back is Fried carrot cake (i’ve  never understood this dish. where’s the carrot??).

Fried rice. You can see I went for seconds with the chicken… or was it thirds?

Glutinous rice ball filled with lotus paste, and covered in sesame seeds. The inside, below. (er… sorry bout the bitemarks).

For dessert, we had Longan Tofu Fah. Very, very nice.

And a freeflow of Chinese tea to go with the cakes.

Kudos…

L’aliments délicieux!

… hope the French is correct, or maybe I should just stick to Tutong… ‘Lakanon jia anyam!’

Let’s start with the Ulam. This is Daun Membangan or Mambangan leaves or Daun Esom in Tutong. Very aromatic leaves that whets the appetite.  Next to it are beans, Kacang Bedibit?? (apa kan sebanarnya namanya in the Speeking London? please enlighten me).

You’ll keep getting pics of these different kinds of rice, not sure what this one’s called though. I remember it being fibrous, with a nutty flavour and ‘lamah-liat’ texture.

Kacang panjang masak tumis that went well with the squid in tangy chilli sauce.

Perhaps one of the most versatile plants alongside the Coconut is the Ubi Kayu (Tapioca).  The Tube can be made into various cakes, or simply boiled and eaten to replace rice.  The Shoots (Pucuk in Malay, Telus in Tutong) of the tapioca can be blanched and eaten as ulam (will upload pic soon) or cooked into a savoury veg, with or without coconut cream or santan.  (Aminah Ariff does beautiful Pucuk Ubi in Santan). This one is without santan, a healthier option, if you care about these things…

The Watermelon doesn’t just give you heavenly juice, but the white part of its thick skin can be cooked into veg as above. Remove the green outer skin and remove the red flesh. Use only the white bit, but waste not what not. Sweat some garlic, shallots/ onions, chilli, add a bit of water, and then follow tradition by adding a bit of belacan ( it adds sweetness; no harm using chicken or veg stock). Throw in some dried or fresh prawns. Basically the watermelon is boiled. I sometimes have this on its own as a soup with loads of chilli. Wicked stuff.

I’ve featured this one before (malas check), but this is bamboo shoots with pucuk bagu (bagu leaves).  Fresh bamboo shoots should always have a natural sweetness to it. If it doesn’t, then it’s not fresh. This pic is deliberately blurry from the steam off the veg. Nice effect, one thinks! Hohoho

This was chicken tandoori sheesh kali. Bought from some nice restaurant in town. Very tasty actually.

Also very tasty was this Sup Tulang, bits of tender meat on the bone. Nice if you’re feeling a bit under the weather.

Now here’s something to talk about! This is Berubut or Tripe.  If you saw the actual thing for the first time, you’d probably think it was large piece of towel. But in case you didn’t know, Berubut is actually the large intestine of the cow/buffalo. I’ve seen it being prepared before and by God, it smelled like holy crap! Well, it is THAT part of the animal… Sorry if you’ve suddenly lost your appetite now, I know ignorance is bliss some times… But now you know. I’ve always known. So i’ll just take people’s word that it tastes really nyaman.

Some roast chicken or Ayam panggang.

How’s about some Kerang masak Kicap / Clams in soy sauce? Yes, please!

… ou le poisson pour vous, pourqois non?  Fish in spicy sambal ‘usptairs’, or this grilled Mackerel you see ‘downstairs’… heheh a bit of Brunei English for you.

and for drinks, there’s Puspa or Rose syrup with milk and grass jelly, palm seeds, red bean, and sweetcorn.

Traditionally this drink used to be available only during Ramadan, as was the case for Cendol, but now most restaurants serve this all year round. Blasphemy!! We make our own at home, but only during puasa.

That’s it for this time. Selamat berpuasa!

Of strange Ulams, and even stranger kuihs…

In the last two weeks I came across an array of makanan. But to those who think gluttony is my favourite sin past time, I must clarify I did NOT eat them all, as difficult as that may be to believe.

On the left here you see Cakoi, a kind of bread that’s fried to a fluff and filled with Kaya (coconut and egg jam) and butter.  A favourite in Brunei.  And so is the Kuih Malaya on the right. A Waffle-like base that’s folded into half with sweet peanuts, raisin and condensed milk as filling.

Beef in soy sauce. To be more precise, Buffalo meat in Soy sauce. Nice with white rice.

I have a love affair with this dish. It’s Ikan Pusu sauteed with dried chilli and cubed potatoes.  Mum used to put this over a serving of rice and wrap it in Daun Jengang (Simpur) and feed her naughty kids yang inda mau makan.  We of course took her bait and ate our meal to our hearts’ content.  Pusu goreng and nasi puteh, on Daun Jengang- no contest!

Hati Ayam! Chicken liver!

Sayur masin.  I think this is salted cabbage(fermented)  sauteed with dried shrimps.

This Prawn Curry was beautiful! The curry was just the right thickness and with just the right heat and the prawns were not overcooked.

Umai or raw fish in lime juice (?) and chilli. The citric acid from the lime ‘cooks’ the fish slowly. It’s nice, I’m sure…

My parents must have ulam/salad with their meals, at least cucumber and belacan. But they also had this last week, young, unripe bananas (peel on), taken as ulam with belacan and pusu paste. I’d never tried this before, but it turned out to be very nice. I suppose if we can have Banana chips, we shouldn’t bat an eyelid on this ulam.

Hati Buyah marinated in sweet soy sauce and fried. Another favourite.

This was obviously bought from the Gerai Ramadan in Tutong.  Calamari/ Sotong in sambal sauce and grilled over slow burning charcoal.  The sotong was tender and not rubbery, as is often the case. Very nice.

Grilled Tongking/ Bishop’s nose/ Chicken tail/ Coccyx (spelling?). Dangerously nyaman.

The Pais Daging bought at the Gerai Ramadan was also really nice.  Some pais are mixed with very thin and runny ambuyat to coat the meat cuts and bind them. It adds a ‘slimy’ texture to the dish… slime can be good… some times…

I had fresh coconut juice with the pulp. Very refreshing drink to help wash down these gems below:

Cucur Ubi Kayu or (Mashed) Tapioca fritters. I love these!

And these were nice too, Kuih… *ahem*… Kuih Pukis….  No, that’s not a typo, that’s what it’s actually called!  A friend tells me that this Kuih originates from Indonesia; but the the peculiarity of its name in Brunei has meant a new moniker is in order. So you’ll probably have come across this very kuih under a different guise such as Kuih Pakis, Kuih Pungkis etc… Regardless, I love Pukis (No pun intended!)… Who doesn’t?? Geez…

Sabi Ula mian Seafood

Was 1.30 am. Craving for teh tarik. Drove to Bandar from Tutong. Saw crabs, kerang and yang sewaktu dengannya… and the rest was history…

“Take me to your leader…!!”

These crabs were SO beautiful I just had to eat them…

Bluest crab ever!!

“Wow, those are massive conques you have there, madam!!… Yes, I said ‘Conques’!!”

These boiled clams were really simple and delicious. Boiled in salted water with ginger. Sprinkled with lime juice and dipped in chillied soy sauce. But we also had Chilli Clams which were just as nice.

Aha! Finally!

Fresh coconuts to boot…

But perhaps the weirdest drink i ever came across was this…

Yes, Red Bull and Evaporated Milk!!  It tasted like the juice of canned Fruit Cocktail actually, so it werent too bad after all…  a crazy drink to wash away our midnite madness…