Thursday, December 15, 2011

And We Proudly Proclaim That Dadih Lives...For Now

After much debatre and speculation, I was made to understand that Abang Jo, the dadih-maker is still around. The fact that he sells murtabak at Taman PKNK really deceived me, and certain other people who were searching for him.

As my wife's birthday fell on the 11th of November 2011 (11/11/11), I thought that will be the perfect day to get original, no agar-agar dadih susu lembu. I called and ordered around 50pax of dadih, which he replied that he will have to look for fresh milk first before he can confirm. Now this guy is really rooted to his original recipe: no milk from cartons, no powdered milk, just real fresh cow's milk. However, the price has also changed: it is now RM1.50 instead of RM1.

I met up with Jo to pick up my order on the 11th of November evening, and he explained that he does not make rounds to sell dadih on motorcycle anymore because of his eye condition. I understand he went for an eye surgery previously. I don't blame him for that, he was peddling dadih on motorcycle ever since I was about 5 years old (as I remember it), and now 37 years later, age has taken its toll on him. Even then, he still looks strong and steady.

Despite the fact he does not make his rounds on the motorcycle in the late evenings anymore, one can still call and order the dadih, and arrange to pick up either at his stall or at his house.

The taste of dadih, made of fresh milk with sugar and enzyme from kasinai bark, is consistent as I remember it: creamy, not too sweet, soft buy slightly stiffer compared to the wet, wiggly milk agar-agar, and it is best when it's freshly made, still warm.

A note to remember is, when you keep in the fridge, always remove the lid so that the condensation will not turn the dadih sour. Some people enjoy the dadih after being refrigerated overnight as the dehydration by the enzymes goes a step further, making the dadih shrink slightly more and sweeter. The guests for the my wife's birthday dinner really enjoyed the dadih as the whole box finished within 15 minutes.

He simply laughed at the notion that he had stopped making dadih. To Jo, making dadih is a daily affair, even at his age. What surprises is that he told me that some of uncles and aunts who live nearby constantly orders from him almost every week...and they kept this fact away from me. I am just glad that we still have the chance to savour the taste of the original dadih.

Jo told me that he and his wife have been making dadih for the past 40 years or so, but it is now in danger of extinction. None of his children are interested to continue his legacy, and even the younger generations are more interested in easy jobs, in air-conditioned offices, without much labor work. That is quite sad to hear. There were a number of dadih makers in the 20th century, but will the new millenium witness its extinction? I am just hoping that somebody somewhere will find it in their heart to take up the legacy of Jo's original dadih, or we will be doomed to recognize the milk agar-agar as dadih.

To those who would like to try the original dadih, you can try contacting Abang Jo at 016-484-5685.

For my previous article on dadih, click here

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