Sunday, April 21, 2013

Asam Jawa

Asam Jawa ( Tamarind )  is the Tamarindus indica.  Despite its name, it was not originated from Jawa or India.  It is a leguminous tree indigenous to the tropical Africa.  It reached South Asia most likely prior to the Common Era.  Today, it is widely distributed throughout Africa, South Asia, South East Asia, Southern China,  Northern Australia and even Central America.

In South East Asia, it has became an important ingredient in Malay and Indian cuisine.

The acidic pulp of ripe fruit is used in cooking various type of curry ( kari ), most fish dishes ( ikan masak asam, ikan masam manis, ikan masam pedas ),  etc.  It is said that Asam Jawa is capable to reduce the fishy smell of fish.  The pulps are easily found in hypermarkets, supermarkets or wet markets, usually sold in packages with or without the seeds.

The sweet variety is eaten fresh, or made into juice.   Fresh Asam Jawa can be easily found in markets and roadside stalls in Terengganu, Kelantan and Thailand.

As a child, we had candied Asam Jawa as snack.  The pulp was coated in fine sugar and wrapped individually in transparent plastic sheets.  It has been a while since I see the snack being sold in stalls or grocery stores.  

According to my colleague of Indian descendent, as a child he learned to count with the aid of the seeds of Asam Jawa ( In Tamil, it is called puli ).


Friday, April 5, 2013

苋菜当归粥 Bayam DāngGuī Porridge




: 苋菜不可久煲。长时间加热将破坏红色素,导致失色。

豆豉焖肉 Pork in Fermented Bean Paste

瘦肉/花肉切片,放入豆豉 ( dòu chǐ ) 腌制。( 放冰柜腌过夜也无妨



Thursday, April 4, 2013



清明果又叫成青青果,选取的野草主要也是清明草(又名鼠鞠草) (Gnaphalium affine) 和艾草 (Artemisia princeps)两种。用清明草做的为淡绿色,隐隐有股子清香气;用艾草做的为深绿色,有股浓郁的艾香味。





Steamed Bitter Gourd stuffed with Minced Pork 蒸釀苦瓜

First, cut off both end of a bitter gourd.  Then vertically cut it into a 2cm thick rings.  Without damaging the ring, remove the seeds with the spongy pith with a spoon or a small knife.  Keep aside.

Meanwhile, finely dice some carrot, dried shitake mushroom and onion.  Add into minced pork.  Seasoned it with a bit of salt, pepper, sesame seed oil and corn flour.   

Another lazy way to prepare the mixed minced pork is replace it with frozen beef/chicken burger meat.  It is readily flavoured, yet may not as healthy.

Then, arrange the rings on a ceramic/glass/metal plate.  Stuff the mixed minced pork into in bitter gourd rings.  Steam it for about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Edible Palms of Malaysia

Subfamily : Arecoideae
Cocos nucifera - kelapa

The endosperm, ( commonly known as coconut ‘meat’), is crated and toasted to make ‘kerisik’ for use in cooking and bakery.  Coconut milk ‘santan椰浆is extracted from crated fresh endosperm, while coconut oil ‘minyak kelapa椰油is from dried endosperm.

Coconut water ‘air kelapa椰水is consumed fresh, or fermented into liquor and vinegar.

Sap derived from incising of the flower cluster ‘mayang’ too is consumed fresh as nira, fermented into liquor ‘toddy椰花酒, reduced to make coconut sugar ‘gula Melaka椰糖.

Apical buds of adult coconut tree is harvested and consumed as vegetable ‘umbut kelapa椰心.

Subfamily : Arecoideae

Bactris gasipaes - peach palm

Apical bud is harvested for vegetable.

Subfamily : Nyphoiceae
Nypa fruticans - nipah

Just as coconut, its flower cluster can be taped to yield sweet sap.  The sap can too produced into liquor, vinegar and sugar ‘gula apong’.

The seed of young fruit, ‘attap-zi’  is used as a dessert ingredient.

Buds are harvested and consumed as vegetable.

Subfamily : Coryphoideae
Arenga pinnata – kabong

A sugary sap is harvested from incised flower cluster.  The sap is then reduced to make ‘gula kabong’.

The seed of young fruit is a delicacy.

Subfamily : Calamoideae
Salacca zalacca ( Salacca edulis ) - salak

The sweet and acidic flesh is eaten fresh, or pickled.

Subfamily : Calamoideae
Eleiodoxa conferta  - asam paya

The flesh is very acidic and often used in cooking.  It is also pickled into ‘jeruk kelubi