Monday, November 13, 2006

THE INHERENT COOK IN US

Somebody was curiously asking why iKelah and I kept on blogging on food and depicting photos of our recent raya food. Well, there are several reasons for the spamming of entries with food pictures. You see, I love to see well-taken food pictures that are artfully arranged. Mynn and 23/24 are good at that. Thus whenever feasible, I'd make iKelah take photos of what we've cooked as practice makes perfect, doesn't it? Let's just say that food is a subject close to our hearts (and stomach)!

Between my husband and I, he is the better cook. He thinks so and so do I (especially when my mood for cooking hits the floor!). Apparently he cooks from memory (heart) and only 'experts' can do that. Whenever he chanced upon a fabulous delectable food, he'd savor it heartily and scrutinize the possible ingredients incorporated in it and puts into memory. I guess he has a set of highly charged taste-buds that are able to distinguish the various herbs and spices just by tasting them even when cooked! Later when he has the opportunity, he'd recall the mentally conjured up recipe and tries it in the kitchen. And most of the time, he succeeds. Another important fact to mention is that my FIL is also a good cook. Perhaps that's where my husband got his cooking genes from!


Every time he cooks, when reaching to the final part, as he tastes the food, he'd ask, "cukup garam? Cukup masam? Cukup manis? Cukup pedas?" Whereas when it comes to me, my main concern would be, "cukup manis?" You see, I am a Johorean turned Kelantanese! I have a very sweet tooth but only to savory cooking! I find that whatever gulai cooked, it needs a tinge of sweetness in it to be of my liking. I hate savory cooking that is blandly hot, spicy and salty without any hint of sweetness! But mind you,in contrast, I loathe sweet drinks or cookies/kuih (except for Indian delicacies of course!)! Nowadays, I find drinks of teh tarik or nescafe prepared at shops are so sinfully sweet that many a time I had to ask them to dilute them further!

You can say that besides photography, cooking is another deep passion of ikelah's, but only on a much smaller scale and very much influenced by his fluctuating cooking mood and the time of the year, namely Ramadhan and Syawal. During the fasting month, his signature bubur lambuk is much sought after by us and his close siblings. It is truly authentic as he seems to have a specific mental ratio for the amount of ingredients used, i.e. the various traditional leaves/herbs, dried fish/prawns, boiled fish fillet and perhaps some unknown 'secret' ingredients or mantra as well! Thus it's no wonder when Pang5's wife asked him to buy bubur lambuk Kg Bahru, he scoffed and replied, "I am waiting for Long's bubur lambuk". And when Syawal comes, I'd prefer if he dons the apron and concocts his famous rendang raya, a thick, rich, dark, very spicy slow-cooked dish that brews together beef, spleen, liver and lungs. The rendang goes down well with lemang or ketupat.

As for me, soto has been my personal forte. I don't claim to cook the dish well but the outcomes thus far have been encouraging with various acclaims by certain reliable quarters. And when I say reliable it means trusted and sincere comments made by trusted and sincere souls, :p. I am imparting my recipe so that you can try it and decide its goodness. But I need to forewarn everyone that it doesn't come with accurate measurements as most of the time I cook with my basic taste/smell intuitions.

For the uninitiated, Soto is a dish that probably originated from Jawa. In my recent trip to Jogja, I managed to sample their version but I can vouch (no malice intended here, whatsoever) that Malaysian soto is pretty much better. Soto comprises of nasi himpit (packed cooked rice - often cut into cubes) and spiced soup, topped with pegedil and extra appetizing condiments. To add extra sweet-hot flavor, you are encouraged to sprinkle a generous amount of ketchup-chillie sauce .Now, pegedil is a must accompaniment. To serve soto sans pegedil is an epicurean crime! (at least to my cooking standard). Pegedil is similar to the French croquettes. It's basically mashed potatoes mixed with other ingredients and then, deep-fried. To me, pegedil is the cherry on top of the cake. It enhances the final flavor. To those who have requested for the recipe, here goes:

My Soto
Ingredients
Soup:
Chicken breasts
5 cloves garlic-pounded
10 shallots-pounded
2 inches ginger-pounded
2 big sticks of lemongrass- knocked
Tossed spices (rempah campak)
-6 cardamoms
-1 stick cinnamon
-2 star anise
-10 black peppers
Rempah Sup powder 6 tbs
Rempah sup bunjut
Asam keping
3 Limau nipis (extract juice)
10 Cili Padi
Freshly pounded peppercorns
Salt and pepper for seasoning


the ingredients

Pegedil
2 kg Potatoes quartered and deep fried
1 nutmeg, grated
5 eggs, yolk and white separated
Minced meat
Fried onion
Spring onion sliced thinly
Chinese parsley sliced thinly
Salt and pepper

Condiments
Chicken breast (cooked)- flossed thickly
Chinese parsley sliced
Spring onion sliced
Soh oon fried
Fried onions
Bean sprouts (blanched)
Pounded ground nuts

Dark ketchup Sauce
4 tbsp kicap manis
20 bird chillies (blended)
sugar to taste

Method

Soup:
1) Heat oil and toss in rempah campak. Once fragrant, add in pounded garlic, onions, ginger and lemongrass and fry till brown and fragrant.

2)Mix the 'rempah sup' with bit of water and then add to the sizzling onion mixture.

3)Once the frying mixture has thickened and emitting an aroma, add in the chicken breasts.

4)Add water to fill the pot. Place in the rempah sup bunjut, asam keping and freshly pounded peppercorns.

5)Cover the pot and simmer.

6)Once the water level has lessened a bit, remove the chicken meat and floss for condiments.

7)Add in lime juice and cili padi (whole). Season with salt and pepper.


Pegedil:

1) Mash the already fried potatoes.

2) Add in grated nutmeg, egg yolks, sliced Chinese parsley, spring onions, fried onion, minced meat, salt and pepper. Blend thoroughly till uniform.

3) Shape into flat balls or oblongs.

4) Dip in egg-white and deep fry till brown and crispy outside.


Condiments:

Prepare the various ingredients as indicated


Kicap Sauce:
Blend all the ingredients together

Finally, when serving, arrange several nasi himpit in a bowl.
Dish in the soup. Garnish with the various condiments and top with a pegedil or two (I can't have enough of them!). Lastly sprinkle few teaspoons of the kicap sauce.




13 comments:

Mama Chops said...

Celebrated Raya in Kuantan. We probably passed by your house on 1st Raya! Anyway, is there any difference between pegedil and begedil?

pycnogenol said...

From the way you describe how ikelah cooks, I know he's an expert.
Bakat dia ni datang dari mana ye?

KKL said...

Wow. Your soto is definitely different than mine! Mine is just bog-standard chicken soup without the pegedil *covers face and runs away from DITH*

Hmmm the pegedil is interesting. Why deep-fry the potatos, can we bol them instead? And what is Chinese parsley? Daun sup ke?

I definitely like iKelah's rendang... ohh so tasty. Have yet to try his bubur lambuk, but the bubur lambuk we made, based on his recipe (but adjust sikit) was great. I didn't know Abah is a good cook, I knew Arwah Mummy was, well according to my dad who always raves about her cooking. What is Abah's forte?

mynn said...

i bet puan mama sarah would LOVE reading your post dith when she reads it tomorrow morning.

no wonder all the food pictures on ikelah's blog. before this i thought he just likes to eat (so do i) it turns out that he likes to cook too. i'm learning more and more about the mysterious ikelah :)

it's big of you to admit ikelah cooks better than you dith.

dith said...

Mama Chops- Kindly drop by the next time you are here. We definitely love to have you all visiting us. Pegedil is called begedil by some people.

Pycno- each time there's a flaw in my cooking, he'd say, "you shouldnt have this and that..." I believe he got it from his dad who is a 'critical' cook. Kalau tumbuk sambal tak hancur halus mesti kena perli "tumbuk cili, macam kain perca jek" hehe

KKL- Dont boil coz it wont adhere nicely and breaks when fried.
Yes daun soup ler tu, hehe. Nak bagi bunyi authentic sikit!

Dont get me wrong. Arwah was also a good cook. But Abah is the practical one and very critical like Long. Abah cooks asam pedas ikan well which the locals here call gulai asam.

dith said...

Mynn-

Yes I have to admit it. Each time when I cook and he's around, I'd prefer he gave the final touches. Or if I find my cooking falls flat, I'd shout for his help and most of the time he manages to rescue my failing cooking, hehe.

Hey Mynn, ikelah is not the 'mysterious' one! That's Pycno la! haha

Has said...

Roza, he he he, your classmate Salina mai rumah I yesterday, tempted to mention you but then nanti panjang pula cerita, kah, kah, kah.

thanks for the recipe; ni kena print your entry nih.

you must try curry puff pusing which i will write about sat lagi

Has said...

Roza, ada satu resipi soto yang i baca, dia letak buah keras. what do you think?

easylady said...

kak roza lambat post resepi soto.. kalau tidak boleh buat untuk pot luck afiqa..hehehe..

Mama Sarah said...

love this entry! love, love, LOVE!

fried soh oon and pounded ground nuts tu yang mahal tu. akan diserap dalam resepi soto saya nanti.

dith said...

Has-
Chef Jemi kata buah keras untuk likat kan kuah sup esp kalau masak sup tulang. So kira boleh la tu, :p
Thanks for the curry puff pusing recipe. Kawe pernoh cube dolu, tak menjadi siket pon. Kawe ni kurang sabor. Sekali tak menjadi, malas nok cube lagi, :p. Selain daripada kelihatan menarik, apakah tujuan kulit karipap tu dipusingkan?

Nisak:

Waahh...pandai betul Mynn teka yang you will love this entry! Sehati sejiwa ler katakan! :p

dith said...

Easylady-
Kalau buat soto, kawe rasa tak laku gak sbb budak2 bukan reti makan menda gini. Lain kali goreng nugget mcm ada org suggest tu, hehe

naja said...

Dith,

No wonder la bile saya buat pegedil selalu hancur, next time kene goreng potato tu, bukan rebus. Thanks!!

There was an error in this gadget

Bukit Tinggi 2008

Great Wall 2009

Followers

 

ReMiNiScEnCe....as the garden of memory grows arid... | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Dandy Dandilion Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates