Monday, November 23, 2009

Still Waiting


At first, we were told that it's not going to be more than 2 weeks. After the 3rd week, I was informed that it shouldn't take more than a month. After a month, i still find myself in my office downstairs, instead of my room upstairs, using the shared PC while my own PC (complete with much-needed data) is upstairs, locked away.

Yes, my office is being renovated, and building in a safety design. this is because, this year alone, our office was broken in 3 times and computers along with printers were stolen. The perk of having an old PC for my own use is: the thieves never stole it. Stealing PC might hurt our pockets, but the data stored inside, such as database of our property clients, hurts us worse.

The first week, they were putting up new ceilings, my "office" was temporarily located at the car porch...hey, work must go on. That, and despite the fact that the rainy season started.

Three weeks later, as my room is still not ready, I had to relocate to the office lobby. It's not as private as my room but, it's "progress." Cooler, drier but at the same time noisy and dusty.

It's been a month since I updated anything on this blog, despite preparing some excellent recipes and excellent restaurants visited. Now I still have to wait until my room upstairs is fully ready.

Not that I stay in the office that long anyway; the pounding and drilling usually drives me nuts and I usually concentrate on my work outside the office.

I'm hoping that these works will be done soon so that I can start updating my blog.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Can You Smell It?

We still remember November 2007 when some politicians and public marched to Majlis Bandaraya Alor Setar to hand over a memorandum on the issue of uncollected garbage in Alor Setar. The politician chided the council, in the name of the people of Kedah, for this act of negligence and vowed changes.

It has been almost 2 years since that event, and a year after his party became the new state government, still, nothing has been done. The rubbish seems to pile higher and in some places, spread wider. What's shocking is the fact that the same politicians chided the public for being responsible in creating too much garbage. Well, I guess whoever the state government is, it's just the same. The theatrics' over, nothing done, just finger-pointing actions taken.

It's embarrassing that during Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, relatives and friends from out of state keep asking why most places in Alor Setar stinks. They are not from Kedah, that is good enough, what about the people who lives here? I go out to the grocery shop, there's stink coming from the huge trash bin by the road; I went to Pasar Malam, the stench was quite unbearable as i destroyed the aroma of food being sold there. In some places, you can't even see the water in the drain as the surface is saturated with bottles, plastic, diapers, wasted food and every now and then, dead animals.

In certain areas, garbage has not been collected for more than 3 months. So you can actually imagine how it looks.

I do hope the state government would actually stop politicizing and actually tackle this issue. Kedahans use to mock Penang as "Darul Sampah", but at this moment, we are getting closer in wresting that title from them.

The rainy season is coming up fast, that's not a good sign if the state fails to take care of the

situation. Garbage might just clog up the drainage system, and we don't want that to happen, do we?

Do something, or we might end up "stinking in the rain."

My Private Stash - Misai Kuching

It has been more than a year since I planted my first Misai Kucing. Not that many, about 6 pots, but I have harvested them more than 3 times. Since I make my own Misai Kucing tea to my own design, I never buy any of those pharmaceutical products anymore.

What is the Misai Kucing plant? Well, here's a brief description of it:

Misai Kuching (Orthosiphon Stamineus) is a medicinal herb found mainly throughout South East Asia and tropical Australia. It is believed to have antiallergic, antihypertensive, antiinflammatory and diuretic properties. It is used as a remedy for arteriosclerosis (capillary and circulatory disorders), kidney stones, diabetes and nephritis.

It is trusted for many centuries for treating ailments of the kidney, bladder stone, urinary tract infection, liver and bladder problems, diabetes, rheumatism and gout. It is also used to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.

Misai Kuching has a mild diuretic action, so it is very useful for flushing the kidneys and urinary tract. It also relieves spasms of the smooth muscle in the walls of the internal organs, making it valuable for gallbladder problems. Researchers have found it to be mildly antiseptic as well.

Misai Kuching (misai kucing) is also known as Kumis Kuching (kumis kucing) or Remujung. Other names for Misai Kuching are Orthosiphon Stamineus Benth, Orthosiphon Aristatus, Orthosiphonblaetter, Indisher Nierentee, Feuilles de Barbiflore, Java Tea, Javatee, Kidney Tea, Koemis Koetjing and Yaa Nuat Maeo.

The plant is from the family of Lippenblütengewächse /Lamiaceae / Labiatae.

One thing about making your own Misai Kucing tea, it has a very distinct flavor and/or aroma. There are people who treat it like normal tea, with milk, honey and/or even lemon/lime. Me? I like it plain, no other additives and flavorings, it is refreshing.

After some research, I managed to make Misai Kucing tea on my own. Let me share it with you:

1. Harvesting

The leaves are harvested, usually along with its branches. Take care to leave some so that it can grow back. This will ensure continuity. The leaves have to be cleaned first, first by submerging them under water for a minute or so to remove dust, dirt and grit. Then use running water to clean them.

Leave it overnight or so to ensure the water dries off from the leaves.

2. Drying

Spread the leaves on a clean, flat surface and leave them out under the sun for the whole day. Every 2-3 hours, turn or spread them to make sure all the leaves get the proper heat.

3. Picking

Once the leaves are dry, it is easier to strip the leaves from the small branches. If there are flowers, do not discard them. Put them along with the leaves.

4. Oven-Roasting

This particular process seals the flavor and gives the leaves a unique smoky flavor. Depending on the heat of the oven, which should be around 150-180F, roast them on a flat baking tray between 8-20 minutes or until the leaves are fully dry/roasted.

5. Once the roasting is done, leave for about 2 minutes, then you can start crumbling the roasted leaves into powder. It doesn't

have to be fine, just make sure your hands are clean. Place them in a clean, dry container for storage.

Enjoy it. 

Note: I was reminded by my cousin that I did not specify the fact that you should always use the plant that hasn't produced any flowers yet. This is true, but if certain other brach of the plant has, don't worry about it. I usually cut off any flowers that starts to sprout, leaving only one. A check with another friend who is doing the same thing confirms this.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


To all visitors of this blog and all my friends, we wish you a Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Maaf Zahir dan Batin. May this Aidilfitri bring peace and prosperity to all of us, and to all our brothers who might not share the same atmosphere of this joyful occassion, such as Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, let us not forget them.

Let's make this celebration a safe and peaceful one, let's not be a statistic on the roads or in hospital beds, be it from overstuffing ourselves or exploding firecrackers.

All in all, again, have a safe and pleasant Hari Raya from all of us.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Activity During The Fasting Season

Ramadhan is here again! As usual, this year, I'll be at my roadside stall again, selling some kuih (if you can call it kuih) next to my cousin's Nasi Arab Stall at Lebuhraya Sultanah Bahiyah, or more famously known as Jalan Sultanah.

This is the 4th year I'm doing this. I must confess that I just cannot stay still during the fasting month. Rather stay in my cold, air-conditioned room in the office and getting drowsier, I'd rather spend a bit of time outside doing some business.

What I sell?

i) Godam - okay, the name might not justify the delicacy. It is basically a pie made of beef (specially cooked with secret ingredients) covered with mashed potato. This delicacy was brought to Malaysia by my ancestors who came from Yaman & Palembang. The act of bashing/mashing the boiled potato with a hard object is often referred to as "godam"

ii) Baked Macaroni With Cheese: no need for explanation

iii) Bengkang Susu: this is one of the most treasured delicacy. It is very popular amongst the Syed/Sharifah group in Alor Setar. It is a sweet dish made of milk, cooked to a consistency and then baked. It is quite a rigorous work, but with a sweet result.

I make the Godam and Baked Macaroni, my wife makes the Bengkang Susu. I might add my sister's karipap this week, if she is able to make any for my supply. My sister runs her own frozen food business and this fasting season, she "tak menang tangan" or has more than she could handle. Among her specialities include Black pepper Beef/Chicken Currypuff.

My cousin, Syed Nasir (Chet) has been selling the one and only authentic Nasi Arab for more than 10 years. The original recipe comes from his grandmother, a well known cook back in first half of the 20th century. She and her children have been preparing and selling kuih behind the Masjid Zahir back then. The kuihs were different from the local ones, of course.

His Nasi Arab is one of the most imitated in Alor Setar, with some even going to the extent of claiming that they have the original recipe from the arabs. I must admit that when tasted, they were right: it was nice for the arabs.

Getting back to Chet, he usually starts at 4-4.15pm at his tent and usually the whole huge pot finished by 5-5.15pm. Roughly, I'd say that around 45% of his customers called earlier to make a booking and come later just to pick it up. this saves time and less hassle too.

Anyway, I need to go home now. the godam and macaroni needs to be freshly baked before i sell. If you have time (and in Alor Setar), do drop by.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Assalamu'alaikum, and welcome to my blog. First and foremost, I must confess that I am not that good at this blogging business. I'm doing this as a hobby, and just to share a journal of everyday things.

I am located in Alor Setar, Kedah Darul Aman. Married with one son, I am with a property development company. Alhamdulillah, despite the fact that there's not much business in Kedah since last year, there is a sudden rush for properties.

Hobby? Well, apart from listening to 80s music, I do enjoy reading.

Anyway, I hope you'll enjoy reading whatever postings that I may scribble.