Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tomato-Based Delicacy

This is a recipe that seem to be stuck in my memory since childhood. My mom used to make this dish, usually to accompany nasi minyal, but I find it delicious going with plain white rice, or even with bread. I have no idea where this dish came from, it could be local, it could be handed down; anybody who knows this dish, if possible, please tell me what this dish is called or where it originated from. Based on the simple ingredients, the use of tomato and cream/milk, it does give an impression of being somewhere between Mediterranean and/or Middle Eastern/North African-ish. However, do give it a try, maybe you will find it quite a surprising to the senses.


Half a chicken - cut into small pieces (If preferred, use boneless chicken, cubed or bite sized)
A small can to tomato puree/paste.
3 medium sized onions ( 1 to mince and 2 to slice)
1/2 inch ginger
5 cloves of garlic (You can use less, I'm a fanatic when it comes to garlic)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 can of evaporated milk/creamer.
A small can of peas

1. Peel onion, ginger and garlic - mince finely
2. In a hot wok, or a skillet, put some cooking oil
3. When oil is hot, fry the minced onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant
4. Pour the whole can of tomato paste/puree into the wok, keep stirring
5. Once oil breaks to the top of paste, give it another 1 or 2 minutes and add the chicken, cook until chicken is fully cooked.
6. Pour the evaporated milk/creamer into the wok. If you like it creamy, you can pour extra. If you don't like it too thick, add some water to the consistency that you prefer.
7. Add the sliced onions, stir until it softens
8. Turn off the fire and add the peas

Note: If you prefer fish, salmon or dory or fillet fish will be the best choice. Rub salt and pepper on the fish and sprinkle some flour, coating the fish but not too much. Pat off excess flour and pan-fry until the fish is cooked. For the sauce, follow the same recipe above without the chicken. Place fish on to a plate and pour the sauce over them.

It's very simple, have a nice time trying. Anybody who can identify this dish, please tell me.

Till The End Of 2010

My last article for 2010 was months ago, which seemingly to be millenias away. After that last posting, work suddenly caught up with me and more time spent in the office, leaving less and less time to try out new eateries, recipes and even less time to write.

At the end of October, Alor Setar was hit by a massive flood. I think it was one of the worst in the history of Kedah. Some blamed the currently in progress double railway tracking, some even blamed the Pedu Dam...though nobody seemed to notice the statistics of so much rainfall during that time, more than what caused the flood in 2005. Well, let's leave them and the speculations. My parents' house was hit by the floods, despite my father's attempt of raising certain portion of the ground level by a few feet. Lucky he did actually, if he didn't, all of his cars would've been submerged. So there I was, in the first few days of November, wading fast-moving, thigh-level waters towards my parents' house, eventually having to turn around and chase my slippers every now and then. My home in Mergong was unaffected though.

It was the scene of some houses, either half or fully submerged, that sinks the heart. While politicians talk of political manuovres and dividing and conquer, the flood water chose no politics, religion or even race in its wake. Properties destroyed, people made homeless and so many things. It was quite a relief to see the federal aid and various NGOs that raced to the welfare of the victims.

The days of wading the cold, smelly, polluted water took its toll on me when I went down with a flu-like fever which went on and off for a few weeks. During that time, I did manage to get better to celebrate my wife's birthday, which was about a week after the floods have fully subsided. As there were not much choice to go during that time, we ended at Kenny Rogers, which was located at Hotel Royale in Jalan Putra. The last time we went to Kenny Rogers was about 12 years ago. To my dismay, Kenny Rogers no longer has my favorite corn-bread...either that or the Alor Setar branch doesn't have any to offer. Largely, I have always favored Kenny Rogers over the boring local KFC and the questionable organic chicken of Radix Fried Chicken.

We actually took a break in December and went to Kuala Lumpur. I also came up with a plan whereby we would go to some of the famed or hyped-up eateries in KL and we'll rate it together for this blog. Amongst the planned premises were Burger Belemoih (Sloppy Burger) of Jalan Tangki Air in Ampang, Saba Middle Eastern Food of Jalan Jelatik and several others. Fate stepped in again, and on the third day of our trip, my wife and I went down with viral fever, which really sapped our energy away. Somehow, we did manage to bring our son to the much talked about I-City of Shah Alam. It was nice, but maybe it's still not completed. Hopefully there will be more addition to it.

After much hesitation and reconsiderations, I finally decided to start this blog again, and hopefully, there'll be more recipes and great eating places in Kedah that we can share.


P.S.: I actually wrote this on the 30th of December, 2010, but as usual, after 10 days of holidays, my mind and body seem to get numb and sluggish. It's still another holidays tomorrow though.