Friday, October 20, 2006

Homemade Kaya

You've not lived until you've tasted homemade kaya which is aromatic, rich and smooth... YUMMM!

Homemade Kaya

Serikaya recipe (from Cecilia Tan's book "Foods of my Childhood: Penang Nyonya Cooking":

1 big coconut, grated
3 A-sized eggs
300g sugar
2 – 3 pandan leaves
2 tbsp sugar

1. Squeeze thick concentrated coconut cream from grated coconut into a piece of muslin cloth. Add no water to coconut. Set aside
2. Beat eggs and add 300g sugar into it. Beat mixture with a wooden spoon till sugar dissolves. Do not beat too hard.
3. Wash and tear screwpine leaves into two down the middle and knot.

1. Bring half a large pot of water to the boil. Lower heat and keep water below boiling point.
2. Select a container that will fit into the pot. Fill container with beaten sugar and egg, coconut milk and pandan leaves. Mix well.
3. Lower container into the large pot to steam. Stir mixture with wooden spoon continuously for about 15-20 minutes to prevent any curdling. Stir till a custard-like consistency is obtained.
4. Meanwhile, heat two tbsp sugar in a ladle until it melts and turns brown. Add quickly into coconut milk and egg mixture and stir well.
5. Remove container from pot and wrap a piece of cloth firmly round the top. This is to prevent steam from entering the jam.
6. Put container back into steaming pot, cover lid and steam on medium heat for 2 hours.
7. To prevent curdling and to ensure that the coconut jam has a smooth consistency, stir it once or twice after removing the cloth from the container. Rewrap the cloth each time after stirring.
8. The water level in the pot must be maintained throughout the process of steaming.
9. Turn heat off after two hours. Allow jam to cool. Store in bottles or jars. Serve

Note: More eggs may be added for a variation of texture and flavour. Increase sugar accordingly.

My version:

Santan from coconut (from market) which measures out to about 1 rice bowl
1 rice bowl of sugar (adjust for sweetness)
1 rice bowl of eggs (3 - 4 eggs depending on size of egg)

Then follow method as above. This words from my mother rings in my head every time I made kaya... "jee ua santan, jee ua t'ng, jee ua nui"

Very important to keep water just below boiling point for smooooooooth kaya. If water reaches boiling point, the kaya will curdle.

Homemade kaya on freshly baked bread..... DOUBLE YUMMM!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Hormone Hostage

Received this email today. So appropriate!

Women will understand this and the men should memorize it!

The Hormone Hostage

The Hormone Hostage knows that there are days in the month when all a man has to do is open his mouth and he takes his life in his own hands! This is a handy guide that should be as common as a driver's license in the wallet of every husband, boyfriend, co-worker or significant other!





What's for dinner?

Can I help you with dinner?

Where would you like to go for dinner?

Here, have some wine.

Are you wearing that?

Wow, you sure look good in brown!

WOW! Look at you!

Here, have some wine

What are you so worked up about?

Could we be overreacting?

Here's my paycheck.

Here, have some wine.

Should you be eating that?

You know, there are a lot of apples left.

Can I get you a piece of chocolate with that?

Here, have some wine.

What did you DO all day?

I hope you didn't over-do it today.

I've always loved you in that robe!

Here, have some more wine.

13 Things PMS Stands For:
1 Pass My Shotgun
2 Psychotic Mood Shift
3 Perpetual Munching Spree
4 Puffy Mid-Section
5 People Make me Sick
6 Provide Me with Sweets
7 Pardon My Sobbing
8 Pimples May Surface
9 Pass My Sweat pants
10. Pissy Mood Syndrome
11. Plainly; Men Suck
12. Pack My Stuff

and my favorite one.

13. Potential Murder Suspect

Pass this on to all of your hormonal friends and those who might need a good laugh!
...Or men who need a warning.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Happy DeepaRaya!

My kids and I baked and decorated these cookies for the security guard who works at Laura's kindie. The security guard makes sure the kids get from and to the car safely in the school compound. Laura cut out the cookies shapes and she and Adam decorated the cookies. I helped a little. The most "artistic" ones were decorated by Laura and Adam.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Languages and what it means to be Malaysian

My greatgrandmother (Father's side) and her brood

As usual, my brain has gone on overdrive at night. I started to think about what it is to be Malaysian. Is it about being multi-racial? We keep being reminded about being multi-racial and how we are all very tolerant about other races. Alright, I need to put this in. I do not want to be tolerant of other races. Being tolerant means we really do not agree or like what we see or experience, we're just tolerating. I want to acknowledge and embrace our differences, which I believe was what our ancestors did. A good example is the Peranakan culture. What is Nyonya food? It is unique in that it's cooking with local spices and ingredient. Some believe that the Peranakan are also born from inter-marriages of different races. This was before we had feel-good TV commercials and newspaper ads during Merdeka Day to remind us about being multi-racial and how tolerant we are.

To me being Malaysian means having the best of all worlds, whether it is the east or west or anywhere in between.

Most Malaysian families speak several dialects or languages. I personally speak Hokkien, Cantonese, speak but do not read Mandarin, understand but do not speak Hakka, speak and write English and Bahasa Malaysia. At home with my parents, we spoke Hokkien. I picked up Cantonese from playing with friends and from school. Was tutored in Mandarin by a super-boring teacher, which may explain why I didn't learn very much of the language. Obviously, English and BM was learnt in school. How did I begin to understand Hakka? That is a mystery to me. My father spoke fluent Hakka, having been born and raised in Kampar. He didn't use to speak it with me. What is more bizarre is my uncle's family. My uncle who is Hokkien, married a lady from a Cantonese family. They have 4 children. My cousins spoke Hokkien with their father and Cantonese with their mother. Oldest two speak to each other in Cantonese, youngest two speak to each other in Hokkien. When they all get together, they speak in Hokkien. Being in the same room with them is quite amazing. They switch from Cantonese to Hokkien depending on whom they were speaking to.

I grew up in a family with Peranakan roots who speaks Penang Hokkien. Both sets of grandmothers wore sarong and kebaya and wore their hair in a sanggul. When I hear Nyonya ladies talk about cooking, it goes something like this. Whole conversation will be in Hokkien but Penang Nyonya style:

"First, you must use batu giling and giling the rempah together. Then you tumis the rempah until it's fragrant. Then you tambah the...." When the food is cooked, it's sometimes served on a piring. Of course, food served with sambal belacan always tastes better. And the Nyonya ladies will agree that the freshest and cheapest food is from the pasaat (pasar=market).

Or when a mother tells her child to take a bath:

"Use sabun to wash yourself. Remember to cebuk huh. Then dry yourself with a tuala."

When a visitor comes to the house, the host or hostess will ask if he wants to drink teh or kopi. Of course the beverage is prepared in a tekoh. With the beverage, the visitor will be served some kuih.

When someone is in need, we tolong the person. If the person is taking a nap, we remember not to kacau. When we want a bit of fresh air, we go for a ride in a motorcar. When we meet someone who is rather eccentric, he/she is referred to as tengah masak. When a child jumps around and makes a lot of noise, that behaviour is like a monkey which had touched belacan (Obviously from the Malay saying, "kera kena belacan"). And boys do not like to be botak.

Alright, I'm going to stop rambling now.

Monday, October 02, 2006

In the Sunday Star today, the headline "Little girl lost and found – thanks to our reporter" caught my eye. The article is about how a Star reporter who was looking for the venue for her assignment saw a 4-year-old by herself trying to cross the busy road and how she was helped by the reporter. I have questions:

1. Where was the little girl's kindergarten teacher? Her father was late only by 10 minutes.

2. Why was the little girl allowed out of the kindergarten compound? Why wasn't she supervised?

3. In reporting the story, why didn't the journalist find out what happened? Very obvious that someone neglected the child's safety.

4. Why hasn't any head roll?

5. Is the kindergarten getting off scot free??

The little girl is 4 years old, for chrissake.