Saturday, September 3, 2016
Thursday, September 1, 2016
Wednesday, 31 August 2016
BY INTAN AMALINA MOHD ALI
THERE are three secrets to Benggali bread, better known as Roti Benggali.
First, pay close attention the next time you dunk your slice of the bread into your coffee, curry, mutton soup, half-boiled eggs or anything else.
After that necessary wait of a second or two for the bread to absorb the liquid, observe how your slice holds firm.
Repeat the experiment with most other kinds of bread and they will probably break apart soggily.
This is why.
Kicker: S. Mohamed Ismail, who set up Ismailia Bakery on Transfer Road, Penang
Many authentic recipes for the bread say that when the dough has risen to twice its volume after yeast is added, you have to pound it to squeeze out some of the carbon dioxide bubbles. This makes the dough dense again and it is why the bread is fluffy and yet stays firm enough after being dipped into gravy.
How much pounding to exert to make it fluffy yet dense is a trade secret, though.
The second secret is its name. Benggali bread does not come from Bengal. In fact, it has nothing to do with Bengal. It comes from Penang.
S. Mohamed Ismail, an Indian Muslim from Madras, India, started a bakery in George Town in 1928 to make this bread.
He was said to have formed a joint venture with his friends to start it up. He called it “panggali” bread.
In Tamil, “panggali” means shareholder or kin.
Over time, people forgot that it was “panggali” bread.
Somewhere along the market penetration process, the vibrant and multiracial fabric of pre-Independence society in Penang fell in love with this bread and they decided to make life easier for everyone by simply calling it Benggali bread.
Here is the final secret.
Mohamed Ismail’s wife was S.M. Shaharom Bee, the youngest sister of S.M. Zainul Abidin (1898-1969), who founded Umno with a few friends in 1946 when he was 48 years old. He became the party’s permanent chairman in 1948.
Zainul Abidin taught for 20 years at Penang Free School before becoming the headmaster of Francis Light School. He taught Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and former Penang Chief Minister Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu too.
He was a teacher, scoutmaster, headmaster, politician and writer.
He became Penang’s Southwest Member of Parliament (Balik Pulau today) in 1955 in the first Malayan Parliament elections after the Tunku invited him to contest.
The Tunku offered him the post of Education Minister, but he declined because it was said he did not want to leave Penang.
Being brother-in-law to the owner of one of the most popular bakeries in town must have been good in one way or another. Zainul Abidin was already 30 when Benggali bread first hit the streets of Penang, but all trace of this connection seems to have gone missing.
Could loaves of freshly baked Benggali bread with mutton curry been the regular fare in those long-ago Umno meetings during the struggle for Independence?
This bread is still baked in that same colonial shop house in Transfer Road. Many parts of the original architecture are still evident inside despite the commercial ovens and stainless steel racks.
The bread recipe remains largely intact, but the blood ties of Mohamed Ismail to Benggali bread is long gone.
The company name went from being British Malaya Bakery to Malaya Bakery to Ismalia Bakery before it closed down for nearly 10 years.
In 2007, a new group of bakers reopened the same premises with the name Maliia Bakery.
Its chief executive officer M. Kumaresan Mariadas said that since the takeover almost a decade ago, the current management has introduced a variety of Benggali bread but their customers would always opt for the original version.
“Between 2012 to 2013, we introduced wholemeal, chocolate and charcoal Benggali bread but the classic white one is still the most popular.
“Customers occasionally try the other flavours but they always go back to the classic,” he added.
He said that outside of Penang, the company distributes to Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.
Benggali bread was sold on bicycles and carts in the old days, but Maliia Bakery now has a fleet of 20 food trucks and numerous vendors on motorcycles throughout Malaysia.
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Wednesday, 31 August 2016
BY IVAN LOH
THERE is nothing quite as relaxing as sitting in a kopitiam in laid-back Ipoh, drinking the city’s famous white coffee and thinking of old times.
Sin Yoon Loong Coffee Shop at Jalan Bandar Timah would be the place to do that. It is now 79 years old and still going strong. It’s also the place where white coffee was born.
Since opening its doors in 1937, the coffeeshop has been a popular eatery as the place is packed to the brim daily with locals and tourists during the weekends.
Sin Yoon Loong was opened by Wong Poh Chew and his brother Poh Ting, who had wanted nothing more than to serve the best cuppa in town.
Both went through many trials and errors before they managed to create the perfect white coffee recipe, which is now a household name throughout the country.
Aside from the white coffee, the shop is also famed for its Chinese-style steamed sponge cakes and other local Chinese fare.
Sin Yoon Loong is now manned by 59-year-old K.M. Wong, a third-generation member of the Wong clan, who said business was better now than when it first started.
“When the shop first opened in 1937, I was told by my parents that it was not so popular. It was just another kopitiam with the usual crowd and regular faces,” he said.
“Since the whole white coffee fad broke out all over town some three decades ago, everyone has been trying to look for the best white coffee in town.”
K.M. said he had good memories of the coffeeshop from his childhood days as it was located in a “happening” area.
“This area used to have a good nightlife scene. There were lots of things to eat with all the roadside stalls and we were also operating at night. It was quite happening back then.
“The local city council then stopped the roadside stalls from operating due to cleanliness issues and the area became quiet, which affected our business,” he said.
“Since then, we have only operated during the day.”
K.M. noted modestly that business at the coffeeshop was okay.
“The economy is still very slow. Business is all right and certainly better than the earlier days when it started,” he said.
Having been born in 1957, the same year the country became independent, K.M. said he had no idea what really occurred then as he was still a baby.
“My parents spoke little about life after our independence. I guess everything was just normal. They also did not talk about the war or the Japanese Occupation.
“All I can remember is going home after school to drop our schoolbags before running to the Ipoh Padang to play football with my friends, including the Malay, Tamil and Punjabi kids,” he said.
“We even shared our money to buy a football whenever we broke one. There was no such thing as racism then, unlike now.”
Wednesday, 31 August 2016
BY WANI MUTHIAH
VISIT any well-known bak kut teh outlet in Klang, and it’s likely to be run by a Lee.
This is because a man named Lee Boon Teh brought bak kut teh to Klang from Fujian, China in the 40s.
He had seven sons who had branched out to set up their own businesses, some of which are now being run by third generation Lees.
Lee set up his bak kut teh stall at an intersection between the Klang train station and the Klang South police station in 1945 to serve the early Chinese immigrants, many of whom had also come from Fujian.
The stall was moved into a nearby shop named Kedai Makanan Teck Teh about 50 years ago and is currently operated by one of his grandsons who has stayed true to the original recipe.
“I have not changed anything and have kept to the same spices and methods of cooking used by my grandfather,’’ said the reserved man, who wanted to be known as only Lee.
The original shop where bak kut teh started, called Kedai Makanan Teck Teh at Jalan Stesen 1, Klang. The old signboard over the entrance is still there.
The old signboard over the entrance is still there.
The shop is dilapidated and run down but it gets a steady flow of regular patrons from early morning until closing time at about 2pm.
Lee, who runs the business alone, said he is not keen on publicity because he worries he would not be able to manage if there were many new customers to his shop.
“My children are all graduates and not involved in the business. They have their own careers,’’ said the 58-year-old.
Although the dish, traditionally comprising various cuts of pork, slowly simmered in fragrant Chinese herbs, has been modified in many ways all over the nation as well as in Singapore over the years, it is only in Klang that you can get the real deal.
At Kedai Makanan Teck Teh, chunks of meat in herbal broth are served in porcelain bowls with a helping of plain white rice just as the founder had served the hardworking Chinese immigrants who came to build new lives in the then Malaya decades ago.
Bak kut teh enthusiast Lee Kew Peng whose family is also in the business, said when the dish was first brought to Klang from China, it was known merely as bak kut (pork bone).
“Since it was brought in by Lee Boon Teh, it was known as bak kut teh, meaning it was his dish.
“Over time, the Teh became part of the dish’s name,” said Kew Peng.
Kedai Makanan Teck Teh is located at Jalan Stesen 1, Klang.
Sunday, March 13, 2016
Saturday, February 13, 2016
This is stirfried preserved dabai ( fruit of Canarium odontophyllum ), a recipe by my makcik from Matu.
Dabai is a very highly perishable fruit. It is available only end of the year, usually from November to December. A few weeks late, and its disapear from the morning market. Many try to preserved it, a lot failed. Few suceeded.
Among the one who succeeded is my makcik from Matu.
First, the dabai is soaked in warm saline water till its softened. Then the flesh and the seed are seperated. The flesh, is then frozen.
Whenever crave for dabai, just unfreeze the frozen. sauté over some minced garlic or anchovies. Serve with rice.
Friday, February 12, 2016
Rasa-nya, manis, masam, pedas, wangi. Nyamai !!!!
1. wash, clean and dry the citrus
2. scratch the citrus skin with a knife. This is a very tedious task, but essential to remove the bitter taste from the skin
3. cut vertically top-down into 6 wedges without parting them
4. press down the citrus to remove the juice and seeds. Keep the juice
5. dry the citrus for 1 day under hot sun
6. steam the pressed citrus till cooked, let it cool
7. in a pan, mix coriander powder, chili powder and turmeric powder in black vineger, heat over pan
9. add sugar and citrus juice
10. stir till thickened, let it cool
11. arrange citrus in glass jar, pour in the sauce
12.keep for 1 week