Saturday, January 31, 2009

Penang Nyonya Food

It was a meeting worth gathering in the terraced house and home of my wife's god-sister. To me it was grander than the assembling of ourselves in a well-appointed restaurant. Totally Penangized food and resourcefully converted into a vegetarian fare.

Gathering in KL is sadly lacking in ideas and with plentiful of lethargic and feeble efforts. No joking here, as I have been to a number of them and guilty in organizing it. Not to insult my friends but this is a rallying call to rise up to take our place in food preparation that is well-organized, better ideaed from recipes passionately learned. Let's dig deeper into our heritage.

The Perut Ikan (Curry Nyonya Fish Stomach with Herbs and Vegetables). Since it was vegetarian there was no ikan perut and small prawns. But the aromatic leaves and vegetables play mind and taste game with me. Mint and basil leaves, kadok, tumeric and kaffir lime leaves, tamarind juices etc etc. Sweet, spicy, rich, savoury and sourish. Best of all most of these leaves were sourced from the cook 11 acres farm in Balik Pulau. Recipe from Rasa Malaysia and The Star (Kuali).
Mieng Kham though Thai has been Nyonyanized. Shallots, ginger, toasted dessicated coconut, pomelo sacs, toasted peanuts, brown Malacca syrup, bird's eye chili and kadok leaves for wrapping.Indian Salad-Pasembor/Indonesian-Gado Gado. All home-made. Julinned cucumbers and turnips. No shots were taken on the crispy crackers.
Crushed peanut to be tossed on the Pasembor to gives it a cunchy nutty flavour.Spicy Pasembor Gravy.Ubiquitous Fried Noodles for the Carbo-addicts.Sticky Rice (Pulut) with Kaya (Coconut Jam). The blue colour is not from artificial colouring but from home-grown Bunga Biru. Wonderful, wonderful desserts.Dessert - I detect a faint hint of salt added in to flavour this sweet dessert. Multi-coloured sweet potatoes, yam, starchy strips, santan Mo Mo Cha-Cha.
Dessert - Bali Pineapples, the best in town?


Kenny Mah said...

This certainly a feast with a difference... more localised fare... and healthier too, I warrant with fresher ingredients.

Looks like you're off to a great start in the Year of the Ox! :D

minchow said...

A vegetarian feast like no other! That sticky rice with the natural colouring looks magnificent!!

The Malaysian Explorer said...

ummm nice blog. like the laksa and been a while since i had my fix of perut ikan.

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Unknown said...

wow, all the deliciuos food you do for a gathering... they take so much time, salute to you! :)

Little Inbox said...

Bubur Cha Cha is a must to eat dessert on Chap Goh Meh. :)

New Kid on the Blog said...

Gong Xi Fa Chai!!!! :)

CRIZ LAI said...

Hmmm... I thought when you mentioned about vegetarian, I had expected some mock this and that but yours is truly magnificent of its own kind... meatless Malaysian cuisine :)

Errr... I have not been having the Pulut Tai Tai (Blue Glutinous Rice Cakes/Lam Fa Fan) for some time. Where to get them at this hour? LOL! Somehow, the most important item is still the kaya. It's really hard to get good ones nowadays.. except from one of the pioneers of Nyonya Kuih in Penang... Tua Bak. :)

Selba said...

Whoaaa... New kind of food for me to see and maybe to try someday except the fried noodles :)

worldwindows said...

LfB... Its was a beautiful meal. Reminds me that Penang folks are still quite connected to their heritage.

550mljof... I fell in love with it instantly. It's so unlike those sold in the markets and even upmarket cafes.

QC... Its done be my wife's god-sister and her family! We were guests!

LI... Bubur Chacha, so hard to get the thick authentic ones.

NKotB... Gong Xi Fa Cai to you too!

CL... The spices and herbs...unforgettable. A few ladies statrted work at 6am for this meal! I think there is 2 cafes offering this, Nyonya Colours and Seri Penang (Ikano). I will always ordered the Lam Fa Fan! nad yes kaya is so important an accompaniment to it.

Selba... Penang food paradise!