Cheese over Nasi Lemak Anyone?

Oh Yes...I woke up yesterday morning with a Birthday wish from my two little angels. I was overwhelmed. They gave me a kiss each on my cheek and that was enough to keep me smiling all day. My mom wished me a happy birtday and cooked a delicious nasi lemak. Her nasi lemak is one of the best nasi lemak I have ever eaten. In the cooking department, this is one of her signature dishes that I still cannot come at par with. Her nasi lemak or coconut rice is always rich and flavourful, with a distinct ginger aroma. Her sambal ikan bilis always turn out beautifully.

When mom cooks nasi lemak, I will always have a second serving...Not good for those who are dieting or on a strict diet, but, well...who's not that you get to eat mom's nasi lemak everyday anyway. On my birthday, she cooked nasi lemak and so I enjoyed the taste every minute I put the rice and the sambal in my mouth. No cakes, no balloons....only nasi lemak. Lemak or not, the empty stomach neeeded some filling...

And so I enjoyed my meals oblivious to my two little angels. I have put a plate each for them but they refused to eat the rice.

"'s rice again....I want fries,and sausages," my eldest muttered, complaining in between her breath. The younger sister was echoing the same sentiment.

"Today, opah cooked nasi lemak. You like nasi lemak. Why not today?" I was baffled.

"No...I want fries....pleasee....and sausages," the eldest went to the fridge and looked inside the freezer. To her dismay there was only a packet of chicken nuggets. She took the packet out and 'ordered' me to fry them for her. And opah, her grandma, came to the rescue and took the packet away. it my fault or are the younger generations today are more interested in fast food that are not too healthy for them? My eldest daughter sometimes refuses to eat rice at all. She prefers biscuits dipped in MILO, or tuna sandwishes, sausages and fries...and mashed potatoes. She eats cheese by itself like we eat the rice. She likes to lick salt and bites lime. Or is it in her genes? Hmm...maybe....maybe it's in her genes...she is not 100% Malay anyway...eventhough I prefer to think she is. We cannot live without mom even worse...Eventhough my eating habits have changed a lot over the years, I still must eat rice at least once a day.

Anyway, the younger generations have more choices and exposure in their eating habits and preferences. Even the older ones, like me have changed a lot in the way we look at food. I will never eat biscuits or cookies at tea-time but now I do. I eat bread like I eat rice now. Sometimes I do not eat rice in a day at all. Hmm...maybe it's my fault. What I eat will be an example for them, wouldn't it? Anyway, I will give them a few days...after that, they will be asking for nasi lemak...I bet they will!

I reluctantly took out the nuggets and fried them anyway!


Fried Noodles or Mee Goreng

WE eat this as breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner....even supper! The favourite is mee kuning or yellow noodles that are fried with prawn,chicken and beef. Some even add squids or ikan bilis to their noodles. For me, I prefer less. I mean, when I cook noodles, mee kuning or bee hoon (vermicelli rice noodles) I prefer to add only one or two main ingredients, normally prawns and fish balls or cakes. The prawns give the noodles a sweet taste and the fish balls add contrasting flavours to it. Topped up with fried onions, chinese leeks and taugeh, the taste can linger in your mouth for some time.

Here is the recipe that can serve 2-3 people.


500 gm mee kuning
300 gm prawns,cleaned and skin off
10 fish balls,cut into half
3 garlic, finely chopped
1 big onion, finely chopped
1tsp chilli paste
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp pepper
2 eggs, beaten
a few strands of chinese leeks, cut into an inch
300 gm taugeh
fried onions


1. Heat oil in a wok.
2. Add garlic, onion and chilli paste. Stir for a minute.
3. Add prawns. Cook until tender.
4. Add fish balls, oyster sauce and dark soy sauce.
5. Add mee kuning. Stir until all ingredients are blended well together.
6. When all are blended together, make a well in the middle and pour in the eggs.
7. Let the eggs cook halfway before mixing it with the noodles.
8. Add pepper and salt to taste.
9. Add taugeh and chinese leeks.
10. Serve in a plate. Scatter dried onions on top.

A Malaysian in London...Some time ago.

I watched a programme, Langkah Mawi... World over ASTRO Ria a fortnight ago. About Mawi and his travels around the world. The one I was watching was his travel in London. What seems to be a 'shy' guy before, Mawi has now progressing a lot... considering that he is still new to the entertainment industry. What attracts me the most is his confidence level...which has soared...rocketed high. I remember a kampung boy who was giggling and sometimes 'malu-malu' in answering question. But now he is not like that anymore. His style and manner has been polished. His performance on stage has also improved, with more vigour and confidence.

But what I am interested to talk today is not about Mawi and his full pocket, not about his love life or his marriage that soon to take place. It's about this Malaysian restaurant that he visited in London that brings back old memories. I first visited London in 1993, following my university programme when I was in my third year. I stayed with a British family for two weeks in Leeds and had the experience to sample the British lifestyle. I got to know Sandra and Christopher who happened to work at the Leeds University, which I visited. I still remember how concern Sandra was about me. She made sure I had my meals, drove me to the mall even washed and folded my clothes. I still remember the sweet frangrant floral smell from her kitchen that might come from her laundry detergent. Two weeks were not enough but I had to say goodbye. I knew I would return.

In 1996,I returned to do my masters degree. With no scholarship, thanks to my mom who supported me LOL, I headed to London with her. We stayed in my mom's friend house in Finchley before heading up a bit north...Leicester. My mom has been a great source of support for me. Coming to think again, she has done a lot of wonderful things, in terms of finance and her energy to help and be with me during that time. She stayed with me for a week until I found a place to live before returning home.

I was practically a Malaysian living alone. When I arrived, I knew nobody and my circle of friends were quite limited. I got to know a few Malaysian families and some Malaysian students. I got to know two graduate students who live nearby and with them I often mingle. We would go shopping, eating out and visiting friends. Sometimes we would bump into one another at campus. As students living abroad, to find Malaysian food that could stop our cravings was quite difficult. We had to cook on our own and sometimes with a tight budget, our 'soruu' became limited.

There, I realised how lucky I was being a Malaysian. If I think of nasi lemak or mee goreng, or goreng pisang or ais kacang, I can just drive the car and get them instantly...But where can you find mamak restaurants or Mak Minah Nasi Lemak by the roadside in England? What I missed most was the atmosphere...The street and night stalls, teh tarik and roti canai...where can you get this in London with a true Malaysian ambience? I don't think you can.

In Leicester City, there was an Indian Fast Food restaurant situated at a corner...Mc Indian. If I crave for KFC style fried chicken or briani rice or samosa, I would drop in and buy them after a long queue. Or I would order from a Malaysian housewife who sometimes sold some foodstuff, like laksa without chilli,bunga kantan and daun kesum, which ended up looking like a thin mud and tasted like air asam jawa. Or mee goreng which was actually spaghetti goreng..Huk..huk...sorry Kak...Tapi, lapar dan teringin punya pasal, sapu ajelah sampai habis.

And seeing Mawi on TV two weeks ago in a stylish restaurant, Satay House reminded me of my visit there. I was with a classmate visiting London to watch the musical Miss Saigon. The day before returning, we decided to go to this Malay owned restaurant situated in Paddington. I have had seen a documentary on Satay House and its owner back home in Malaysia a few years back and I knew I would eat there one day.

From Sussex Garden we walked and headed to the restaurant. A British lady took our order. We were both hungry...and kempunan nak makan...We ordered satay, keow teow goreng, rojak, soto and sugar cane drinks. We ate like we haven't seen food for a year! The food were fantastic...the pricing reasonable.

That night we slept at Malaysia Hall with a full stomach, a smile and a fulfilled mission. At night we dreamed of satay and nasi lemak. The next morning we ate our breakfast at the canteen. The food was superb! The murtabak and the fried noodles were like what you can get back home. However, I do not know if Malaysia Hall still exist now. I heard it has moved but I am not sure where.

For Malaysians who happen to be in London, and feel like eating sambal belacan,nasi lemak, ,lontong,sambal tumis udang dan petai and drinking teh tarik or ais kacang...Satay House is the place for you. I understand the cravings...

Satay House has been around for thirty years and is managed by the second generation now. All the prices are below ten pounds and you can get a generous portion.

Satay House is situated in 13, Sale Place, Paddington London W21PX. You can visit their website for more details.

Fried Fish Recipe and How to Fry Them Without Sticking to the Pan!

Malaysians love their fried fish. We normally marinade them with tumeric powder and salt for about half an hour before frying them. My daughters cannot live without their fried fish...and chicken. I have no problem with that because it is very easy to prepare, in fact one of the easiest ways to cook is frying. The only big problem is the oil and the pan. If you are not a regular cook, the oil may splatter (you need to acquire a technique to do this!) and the fish may get stuck to the pan. I remember a friend who stands too far away from the hot oil to avoid oil splattering. Another one will cover her body with lids as a protection shield!

Frying fish or chicken or relatively easy. Heat the wok or pan and wait until it is hot. Then pour in the oil. Do not pour the oil before heating the pan. The heat from the pan will prevent the fish from sticking. If you follow this simple step, the fish will be easy to flip over. When the oil is hot, put in the fish gently, facing the opposite way from your direction. This way the oil will not splatter. You can use kitchen spatula for easy gripping.

Once the fish is in the pan, do not flip the fish until the other side is cooked, about 3-5 mins (depending on the size and thickness of the fish). When the oil begins to reduce its sizzling sound, then you can flip the fish to the other side. Voila! It always works on me!

I have a simple Fried Fish recipe for you to try.


10 fish,mackarel or sardines
2 tbsp tumeric powder
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp chilli paste
3 garlic, finely pounded
salt to taste


1. Clean fish thoroughly.
2. In a bowl, marinade all the ingredients with the fish. Leave for half an hour.
3. In a big plate, splatter some flour. Coat each fish with the flour making sure all areas are coated well.
4. Heat pan and oil. Fry the fish until brown.
5. Ready to serve on its own or with rice or bread.


Pineapple Curry

Curry Anyone? Go to any corner in Malaysia and curry will be in one of the menus. Almost everybody loves curry here. I said almost...Some cannot stand the strong aroma of the spices but others cannot live without it. Go to the street stalls, fine restaurants, cafe or big hotels, curry will be the all time favourite. The more the merrier. The spicier the better. We have curry originated from Southern India, where it's thicker and darker. You can get this at any Mamak stalls or restaurants around the country. You can get a generous portion of chicken, fish, prawn or squid curries at a competitive price. Fish head curry will be served in a big bowl and usually the price will double or triple the normal curry.

For the Malay community, its curry is milder, still carry the pungent spicy aroma of the mixed spices but airier, lighter and less thick. Yogurt or cream is substituted with coconut milk to get a smooth texture. Eventhough the spicies are not as strong as the Indian curry, the taste is still unbelievable. I love curry and so do the rest of the family. Chicken curry with potatoes, vegetable curry with meat, fish curry, egg curry, eggplant curry...all are fingers licking good!

I have a special recipe that has been my favourite. Pineapple Curry. It is cooked with a special ingredient, kerisik or roasted coconut that has been pounded. It's mild and is very nice eaten with fried chicken and white rice. Top up with a good spoonful of sambal belacan and ice lime tea, you can forget that you are on earth. I will share the recipe with you. Enjoy!


Half pineapple, cut rounded abt 1 cm thick
1 big onion, chopped
2 garlic, chopped
2 inch ginger, chopped
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
100 gm dried prawns, pounded (can be substituted with dried anchovies or ikan bilis)
1 cup coconut milk
4 tbsp chicken curry paste (mixed with water until it forms a thick batter)
2 tbsp kerisik
2 tsbp sugar
salt to taste


1. Heat pot, add oil. When the oil is heating, put chopped onion, garlic, ginger,star anise, cinnamon stick and cloves. Stir until golden brown.
2. Add chicken curry paste. Stir until the oil begins to appear and the curry paste becomes separated from the oil (abt 5 minutes)
3. Add dried prawns and sugar. Stir about 30 seconds.
4. Add kerisik. Stir about 1 minute.
5. Add pineapple and coconut milk. Add salt to taste.
6. Cook until the pineapple is tender and the curry becomes thicker.
7. Serve hot.

How to make kerisik?

Fry grated coconut in a pan (with NO oil) until they become brown. Transfer the browned coconut into a pounder and pound until it forms a thick paste. By this stage the coconut will produce oil. When this happens, your kerisik is ready to be cooked. You can use kerisik for rendang, meat curry or chicken for extra flavour. Try!


A Weekend in Tarbush

The morning was rather lame. Everybody was lazying in front of the television. My little angels were giggling and playing with their niece, oblivious to the surrounding. Having spent the last two days at my sister's house (which I will tell later in my blog), this time me, my mum and my two little angels spent a couple of days at our 'hideaway' place before returning home.

While sipping tea, mum suggested we go to Mydin at USJ 1. Her favourite is the food court. Good price. Good varieties. Hmm...I had planned to go to Subang Parade alone. The RM5o coupon of Hush Puppies shoes was still folded inside my purse. My intention was to go shopping and spend on shoes, perfume and clothing.Hmm...The mid year Sale turned my eyes sideways. I had planned this since a month ago.

But who can deter what fate has got in store for you. Mum and brother were discussing when out of the blue, someone suggested we went to Sunway Pyramid. I did not remember who. Or maybe I was not paying attention. But what I remember, my plans to go shopping at Subang Parade was marred by the lure of Sunway Pyramid. Soon, without knowing what came first, all of us were cramped into one car heading to the land of the pharoah...oh...I mean the miniature one.

The mood was rather solemn. Everybody was hungry. The RM 1000 in my purse was still there. When we arrived, lunch was at the back of the mind. And, voila! I suggested we tried this Lebanese Cafe in Marakkesh Alley so as to quench the mystical side of me. As I was paying, everybody had to follow.

Soon, we were sitting in this lush and exotic stripe seats or cushions amid arabic decor and display. Tarbush Cafe. Maybe taken from the I forgot to ask why it was named Tarbush. The waitress was pleasant, helping us out with the menus. I was at awe. How can I choose from all the lists from starters to desserts. Finallly, after arguing and discussing, we settled for the Fettush Salad, Maroukesh Chicken, Tarbush Grill...I forgot the name, it seems the favourite of the customers. We tried the Grill spring chicken, crispy falafel and the dessert...forgot the name again...but a soft milky dessert resembles a white milky jelly with crushed pistachios on top.

Wow! The food filled us all! They were up to my taste and likings. The garlic sauce was perfect. The chicken and meat tender. The bread were soft and the drinks were superb! (If only the glasses could be bigger, if compared to the price$$$). I could not finish my salads. My tummy was too full to stuff any more food. Eventhough one of my angels was busying herself playing hide and seek under the table, eating only a few bites of chicken...I was okay. She was only interested in the small pond...and the fish...and her older sister. But I was too busy filling my stomach that I almost forgot that she was under the table most of the time!

Besides the perfect and exotic food, I love the ambience. I like the decor and the tiles that I stepped on. The pond was small but it reminded me of the mystical interest that I have in mediterranean and islamic art and decor since a long time ago...since I learned the beauty of art through the ages at the university,especially. I will definitely come again. Although it emptied my purse and robbed me a whopping RM 238...I enjoyed every minute munching and biting every flavour that came from the food. I will scout for more foreign taste...and hopefully, it will bring me a great feeling as this one.


Mum's Chicken Soup

Soup is easy to prepare. It's healthy, delicious and time consuming. To my family, this is a traditional cuisine at its simplicity. When I was young, mum always prepare hot chicken soup to make me sweat. It is good for metabolism and can make you crave for more. There is nothing I like most than a watery soup with soft and tender chicken flesh grinding between your teeth. Yummy!



Half chicken, cut into small pieces

Items A

2 garlic, chopped
2 inch of ginger,chopped
1 big onion,chopped
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
6 cloves
3 cardamon pods

Items B

3 potatoes, halves
1 carrot, cut 1 inch
1 celery stick,cut 1 inch

Items C

fried onions (sliced onions fried with oil until dark brown)
coriander leaves
salt and pepper to taste


1. In a hot pan, fry Items A until fragrant.
2. Add chicken pieces and cook for five minutes.
3. Add Items B and add 3 cups of water. Cook until the chicken and vegetables are tender.
4. When the broth reduced to quarter, add Items C and cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Serve the hot soup with some bread or white rice.


This is the ALL TIME Malaysian favourites! You can get them at the road stalls, restaurants or at six star hotels all over the country. Famous for its exquisite taste, satay is dipped into sweet and hot peanut sauce that can be eaten with cucumber, onion wedges and local specialty, nasi impit or ketupat (pressed rice or rice cake). Try this original recipe and you will know what I mean.


Items A

1 kg beef tenderloin, rib eye or flank steak (cut into small pieces)
1 kg chicken breast (cut into small pieces)
1 tsp tumeric powder
4 tbsp sugar
salt to taste

Items B ( to be grounded)

14 shallots
5 cloves garlic
2 inch tumeric root
1 inch ginger
1 tsp peppercorn
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp belacan (dried shrimp paste)

Methods: Combine Items A and Items B and marinade overnight in a refrigerator or minimum three hours.


Items A (to be grounded)

2-3 big onions
5 tbsp dried chilli paste
2-4 stalks of lemongrass
1 tsp belacan

Items B

500 gm roasted peanuts (grounded)
1/2 cup tamarind juice
4-5 tbsp sugar
salt to taste


1. Take out the marinaded beef/chicken from refrigerator.
2. Treadle 3 to 5 strips of meat into bamboo skewers, leaving 3 at the bottom inch as a handle.
3. Grill satay on a hot charcoal bbq grill until golden brown. Turn often and brush the meat occassionally with oil by using the 'lemongrass brush' (hit the end of the lemongrass slightly with a pounder so it resembles a brush)
4. Serve satay with a small bowl of peanut sauce.
5. Also serve with cucumber slices, onion wedges and nasi impit or ketupat (Malay rice cake)


1. In a saucepan, heat oil and put Items A. Stir until the mixture becomes aromatic.
2. When the oil starts to seep out, put the roasted coconut, tamarind juice, sugar,salt (Items B) and bring to a boil.
3. You may add about 2 glasses of water and let the gravy simmer slowly until it becomes thick.
4. Make sure the peanut is cooked throughly and soaked into the gravy. Simmer slowly for about an hour.
5. Serve the sauce with satay in individual plate.