Monday, December 14, 2020

Mughlai Style Vegetarian Korma

Ever crave a different twist on a familiar dish? I know I do! In my house, we can't keep cooking the same style of dishes all the time - it gets boring! So, this time, instead of my usual Korma or Kurma Curry, I decided to shake things up with a Muglai Style Vegetarian Korma.

 

Korma, or Kurma, is a beloved dish in the Indian community and has gained popularity far beyond the Indian subcontinent. It's also a favorite in Malaysia, even among the Malay community. Let me not even mention how much Indians love Kurma, whether it's chicken, mutton, or the vegetarian version. Typically, Kurma makes its appearance during festival seasons and wedding functions, rather than as a daily meal, though it does show up occasionally.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Vegetarian Bayam Masak Lemak (Spinach Coconut Stew)


Isn’t it fantastic when you have people like Ms. Nava who can convert even Malay dishes to a vegetarian version (VEGETARIAN ASAM PEDAS)? I can’t tell you exactly how many among the Malays are vegetarians, though within the Malay community, dried shrimp, dried anchovies, and eggs might be considered vegetarian and added into their cooking, such as in masak lemak. That said, they do enjoy a lot of raw salads with sambal belacan, which I love too. 

Among the Chinese, more people are becoming vegetarians, and among Indians, it's quite common. For religious occasions or specific days, many Indians choose to be vegetarian as a way to honor their gods. It’s like a trend - one person becomes vegetarian and influences another. There's also a belief that being vegetarian makes you more religious and that you'll go to heaven, unlike Ms. Nava, who humorously says she might head to hell. But? You can decide what to say after the "but" because I’m done talking.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Sabah (East Malaysia) - Nava K's Discovery (Part 3)

Day 5 in Sabah. Off for another two, facing the beach sight viewing (Sabah Part 2 & Sabah Part 1). How did it go? By this day. Hah! I somehow managed to put the Sabah jigsaw puzzle into perspective for getting a clearer picture of what is going on. Without a doubt. My smartness. Yea. Mine alright. My smartness concluded that, my so called advisers didn't do their homework about any damn thing in Sabah. Apart from wrong projections on land prices, they had almost nil knowledge about land transactions, nor any clue what soever about the business indicators in Sabah. Damnit! On the contrary, I must thank some of the good people I came in contact with. They actually making it a point in sharing their expertise unselfishly on the hidden, unspoken and nitty-gritty business insights in Sabah. Furthermore, aha, I had also done my fair share of homework before leaving home, particularly on native land purchasing and how complicated it can be. Anyway. Anyhow. As frustrated as I was. I felt like a hero for my learning curve and knowledge on how, to a certain extent, doing business in Sabah can be complicated. Done. Over. Full stop. By day 5, I knew. I must give up. Either temporary or permanently on my future vision and mission in Sabah.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Sabah (East Malaysia) - Nava K's Discovery (Part 2)

Day 3 in Sabah (Sabah Part 1). Hello Kota Kinabalu by 6.30am. Well! Oh well, well, well! Sleeping in a hotel room. Even if its the best room in the world? Even how tired I am. Never been like the best sleep, because, the best sleep for me, has to be my humble bed at home. Furthermore. Over the last  year or so, I've developed the habit to, like some, or all of you, who believe in, early to rise, early to shine is the key to starting your day promisingly. Also, the first thing for me when I wake up. Even before brushing my teeth. Of course. After a glass of warm water. The health is wealth trend. Next will be. Has to be. Must be. The aroma and taste of a cuppa of coffee for a fabulous, positive happy morning start up. Folllowed by, least to least, one full circle and cycle of "Surya Namaskar (Yoga Sun Salutation) gratiifying gratitude to the morning sun. Therefore, this day starting off on the same note. Water, coffee culture, and me the yoga practitioner respecting the sun. Then of course shower, and out of the hotel by 9.30am, for a basic, simple and no frill breakfast. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Sabah (East Malaysia) - Nava K's Discovery (Part 1)

Finally! Me and Sabah? Yes. Indeed. Me in Sabah at the earliest date in the month of February. Finally!! Yes. Can you believe it? After Nava K being on or in this earth for the last 56 years. Before. Even before, or whilst Covid 19 was getting upbeat and ready for showing its true colors, and before this virus crushing, crumbling and tumbling on my travelling life and style. Now, what's with me tripping in, on, over, above, under and about Sabah? Aha! The big dreams of mine. The future goals of mine. Which mind you, ending up as a major massive, thundering disappointment. To tell you the truth, I was utterly shattered. I was utterly broken into pieces. Until, I felt like, each and every part of me, including my inner wings of emotional strength, were like, torn and tattered into pieces. Duh! Doomer to whatever I wanted to achieve in Sabah for my future. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Chinese Herbal Pork Soup


Are you thinking, "An Indian lady cooking Chinese Herbal Pork Soup?" Yes, she does! I'm one of those Indians who loves pork, even though my husband doesn't. He doesn't mind me cooking it for myself. What's better than a Chinese soup packed with nourishment and goodness? Chinese Herbal Pork Soup sounds fabulous, don't you agree? Plus, it's super easy to cook. I usually use pre-packed herbs from the store, and wow, there are so many choices these days. Just pick your favorite, and let's cook up some soup! I also have a recipe for Chinese Pork Old Cucumber Soup, but let's start with this one - Chinese Herbal Pork Soup.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Vegetarian Asam Pedas (Asam Pedas Sayur)


Let's clear the air before we get cooking. People love to judge at first sight - some see me as a lady of leisure, a glamour queen, and the ultimate non-cook. After I got married, every time I walked into my in-laws' gatherings and mentioned cooking, I'd get sly smiles and those nasty, scrutinizing looks as if they were checking up on my culinary skills. Oh, the expressions on their faces - priceless! Apparently, my appearance didn't fit their cooking connoisseur checklist. How should a lady who cooks look? If only I resembled them, right? Weeeeeee!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Ikan Goreng Asam Jawa (Tamarind Fried Fish)


Ikan Goreng Asam, literally meaning Tamarind Fried Fish, showcases the delightful tanginess of tamarind juice. While Asam Fish can be prepared in various ways, such as in a tamarind sauce, steamed, or as a curry, this recipe focuses on a traditional Malay method of marinating and frying the fish. The tangy flavor of tamarind juice is a key ingredient, giving the dish its characteristic sourness.

 

For tamarind fried fish, the process is simple: soak the fish in tamarind juice with added salt and then fry it to perfection. The accompanying cecah (dip) is equally simple yet unique, featuring kaffir lime leaves for an aromatic twist. For those who prefer visual instructions, a YouTube video is provided.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Malaysian Egg Curry/Kari Telur Malaysia

You might be wondering why this curry is known as Malaysian Egg Curry. When it's cooked in my kitchen by an authentic Malaysian like me, it has to be a Malaysian version. Plus, this is a recipe I put together myself, so it makes sense, right? Curries are also healthy. Did you know that? Spices contribute to healthiness, and chilies can help increase your metabolism and burn calories. Maybe that's why I can still maintain my shape and size? But remember, too much curry can increase your body heat, so drink plenty of water. The moral of cooking and eating is that too much of any kind of food can be unhealthy, so moderation is key. Shall we get to the recipe now?

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Kari Kambing Malaysia (Malaysian Mutton Curry)


In an Indian household, a meal without a mutton dish feels incomplete. Let's avoid the health debate; it tends to spark lengthy discussions or heated arguments. Mutton is a must for us at least twice a month, especially for my Indian husband, who avoids chicken and pork. So, I've cooked various mutton dishes, mostly in spicy gravy or masala. That's what Indian taste buds crave. And during social gatherings, spicy mutton is a hit across all races.

 

There are various ways to prepare spicy or masala mutton, from making the spice paste from scratch. But for this Malaysian version, Kari Kambing Malaysia (Malaysian Mutton Curry), we'll use store-bought spice powders, embracing the convenience of ready-made options in our fast-paced lives, where cooking time is limited. I usually stock up on spice powders, storing them in the fridge to prevent molding and mustiness.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Gangwon-do, South Korea: From Mount Sorak to Pyeongchang

Mount Sorak, or Seoraksan, located in the northeastern part of South Korea, marked the start of our adventure-filled day (NAMI ISLAND & JEJU THROUGH MY LENS). This majestic mountain, part of the Taebaek range within Seoraksan National Park, spans the provinces of Gangwon-do, including Sokcho, Inje, and Yangyang. Renowned for its rugged peaks, dense forests, and stunning waterfalls, the park offered us a serene and picturesque setting.

Our group, moving like one happy family, enjoyed fun moments as we walked through the park, passing by towering red pine trees. Our first stop was the Bronze Jwabul Statue, also known as the Tongil Daebul, erected in 1997. Standing 14.6 meters tall, this statue symbolizes the hope for the reunification of North and South Korea and represents the moment of the Buddha's enlightenment. Nearby, we visited Sinheungsa Temple, one of Korea's oldest Zen Buddhist temples, dating back to the 7th century. Joining in the prayers for a few minutes, I felt a profound sense of calm and zen spirituality (KYOTO ZENFUL SIGHTS & VARANASI SACRED GANGES).

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Nami Island & Petite France: A Korean-French Experience

Leaving Jeju Island behind (JEJU THROUGH MY LENS), we were off to Nami Island, located 63km northeast of Seoul. After breakfast and packing our bags, we headed to the airport and arrived in Seoul just in time for lunch. Seeing Korean steamboat yet again almost did me in - was it always steamboat or hotplate on these tours? I wondered. Fortunately, Korean side dishes and rice saved the day with their flavors.

Within the hour, we journeyed to Nami Island. This scenic oasis in the heart of South Korea's Bukhan River is celebrated for its natural beauty and cultural charm. Shaped like a half-moon after the construction of the Cheongpyeong Dam, Nami Island captivates visitors with its tree-lined pathways, lush landscapes, and serene lakeside views.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Jeju Island Through My Lens

Our day began with a different kind of start, skipping the usual hotel buffet breakfast for a meal across the harbor in a small restaurant. Ah! The challenge of figuring out the names of eateries in South Korea when everything is in Korean (SEOUL TO JEJU), including this one. Breakfast commenced with toast, butter, jam, and a soft-boiled egg, with the highlight being the abalone porridge. Or at least, it was supposed to be. Noticing the absence of abalone in the porridge and informing the guide, he got worked up as if I was pulling his leg, until the rest echoed. Soon enough, we were served additional bowls of porridge, this time with discernible pieces of abalone. The porridge paired with the soft-boiled egg was an appreciated start to the rainy day.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

From Seoul to Jeju: A Solo Traveler's Korean Venture

A complete package tour to South Korea, yet another solo adventure for me, this time with 14 strangers. Without a local Malaysian guide, the tour company representative met me at the airport for a quick check-in and briefing before we took to the skies (OSAKA SUNSETS & KYOTO ONSEN BARENESS) , arriving at Incheon International Airport by 9:00am. Our Korean guide was already there, and I was the first to greet him. Mysteriously, the remaining 13 took an additional 45 minutes.

Our journey commenced at Gyeongbokgung Palace, a magnificent symbol of Korean history and culture located in northern Seoul. Built in 1395 during the Joseon Dynasty, this grand palace, whose name translates to "Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven," showcases Korea's rich architectural heritage and royal lifestyle. The sprawling grounds are adorned with meticulously restored halls, pavilions, and gardens. Highlights include the imposing Geunjeongjeon Hall, used for royal ceremonies, and the National Palace Museum of Korea, displaying artifacts that narrate the country's royal history (NEW DELHI REVELATION & RAJASTHAN MAGIC).

Friday, January 31, 2020

Osaka, Japan - From Sacred Deer to Sky-High Sunsets

Feeling rather sentimental (OSAKA TRAVEL WINS) as always, the bittersweet realization that it's time to head back home tomorrow hits hard (KOBE EXPERIENCES UNFOLD & ARASHIYAMA ZEN). Ah, the classic case of Ms. Nava! The end of a journey always stirs up mixed emotions. Returning home means diving back into reality. But then again, who can travel 365 days a year? Unless money starts falling from the sky- oh, wouldn't that be lovely! Ahahahah!

My second last day began on a delightful note with the love of my life: a Japanese buffet breakfast. Aren't they just the prettiest? Just look at the spread I had!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Osaka, Japan - Unexpected Travel Wins

Waking up to the delightful hotel buffet breakfast in Japan never failed to tantalize my taste buds in the most sensational and smooth way (KYOTO ONSEN BARENESS & KOBE EXPERIENCES UNFOLD). Each morning brought a new culinary adventure, where I eagerly explored the array of dishes on offer. Crispy fried bacon, Japanese steamed cakes, and half-boiled eggs drizzled with Japanese soy sauce were just a few of the pleasures that started my day on a high note. One intriguing discovery was the small bottle of oil nestled among the hot beverages.

Curiosity piqued, I learned from the attentive staff that it was coconut oil meant to enhance the flavor of coffee - an unexpected delight that I couldn't resist trying. The blend of Coffee Coconut Oil added a layer of richness to my breakfast experience, a perfect complement to the flavors of Japan.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Kobe, Japan - Where Experiences Unfold

From Osaka (KYOTO: ONSEN BARENESS), it took us around 50 minutes to reach Kobe. Kobe, a port city in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, has a rich history dating back to the 8th century when it served as an important hub for maritime trade (SAPPORO AWAITS & HOKKAIDO WANDERLUST). The city was one of the first to open to foreign trade in the 19th century, playing a significant role during the Meiji Restoration and transforming into a modern industrial center.

Upon arrival, we headed to the Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum. Visiting the museum was a profoundly moving experience. As I explored the exhibits and learned about the events that unfolded during the Great Hanshin Earthquake of January 17, 1995, I felt a deep emotional impact. The displays vividly portrayed how this unexpected natural disaster devastated lives, leaving profound mental and physical scars. I felt a sharp pain in my soul, and there were moments when I was left speechless and frozen.

Kyoto, Japan: Kyoto: Zenful Sights and Cuisine

One of the most delightful experiences in Japan is the hotel buffet breakfast. Unlike the pre-arranged tour lunches and dinners, the morning buffet offers (ONSEN BARENESS & ARASHIYAMA ZEN) an array of choices that feel like a feast from the heavens. There's a special pleasure in settling for light porridge, accompanied by an assortment of flavorful condiments, Japanese-style eggs, crisp salads, delicate tofu dishes, and the smooth, exquisite hotel desserts. This spread is a testament to the subtle and refined Japanese culinary delights, and it’s precisely what I indulged in this morning.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Kyoto, Japan: Gion District to Onsen Bareness

In the afternoon (ARASHIYAMA ZEN TRANQUIL), it was Gion District's time to shine! This iconic slice of Kyoto is steeped in history as the city's beloved geisha hub. Dating back to the Middle Ages, Gion boasts traditional machiya houses, lantern-lit alleys, and teahouses where geiko and maiko dazzle with dance, music, and games. Visitors flock here for a peek into Japan's rich cultural heritage, hoping to glimpse elegantly adorned geiko and maiko as they gracefully glide between engagements. Gion is also a culinary delight, offering Kyoto's refined cuisine in nostalgic settings that transport you back in time.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Kyoto, Arashiyama: Discovering Zen in Tranquil Moments

Though I had quite an experience in Hokkaido during winter (HOKKAIDO WANDERLUST & HOKKAIDO WINTER TALES), I couldn’t resist when the same tour group invited me to join them for a trip to Kyoto and Osaka. Missing out on this adventure with my fun and soulful tour buddies felt like it would be a regret. Eager to reunite with them and explore another part of Japan, I said, “Let’s go!” Six days and five nights, with all arrangements (NEW DELHI SOULFUL WINTER) and expenses covered (except for shopping, of course).

Our night flight landed at Kansai International Airport, and we kicked off our tour in the Arashiyama District. Stepping off the coach, I immediately felt the chill of winter. After a briefing from our local guide, we had two hours to explore Arashiyama. I headed straight for the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge (literally Moon Crossing Bridge, aka Sagano Bridge). Amidst the bustling crowd, notably filled with many Chinese tourists, I realized I was the only Indian there. Yippiee!

Monday, January 20, 2020

New Delhi - North India: A Soulful Revelation

On the last two days in New Delhi (TAJ MAHAL & VARANASI) before returning home, I enjoyed a relaxed morning on the second-to-last day. After breakfast, I stayed in my room, sipping coffee and having a light meal from the buffet. While the rest of the group went shopping, I took advantage of the hotel's fast Wi-Fi to catch up on social media (COLOMBO DISCOVERY & HOKKAIDO WANDERLUST).

For lunch, we headed to "Flavour Of Southvala" in Karol Bagh. Despite the cramped seating, the food was exceptional. We shared a Paper Tosai, a Non-Vegetarian Thali Set, and India's beloved Bru Coffee. The curries were rich and flavorful, thanks to the spices used, and the presentation was appetizing - unlike some eateries that overlook the importance of plating. This meal was a clear winner, making up for the less enjoyable dining experiences elsewhere (CHENNAI & KODAIKANAL).

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Taj Mahal Agra - (North India)


The journey from Jaipur (JAIPUR LOVE CITY & VARANASI SACRED GANGES) to our destination was about five and a half hours, and I was glad to have the company of some lively ladies on this tour. With jokes and laughter filling the bus, time flew by until our first comfort break. These breaks can happen anywhere, often at roadside shops where a bathroom stop is a must. Here’s the thing: you have to brace yourself. Sometimes there's water, sometimes not, so always carry tissues. Out in the outskirts, you can't afford to fuss; no one’s going to hear you anyway.

For men in India, bathroom breaks are even more informal. They relieve themselves wherever they please, and it's a sight that's hard to miss. I'd seen enough in North India to know it wasn't just a South Indian phenomenon (MYSURU & CHENNAI) . At some sightseeing spots, the smell is impossible to avoid as you walk in.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Jaipur, Rajasthan - The Love City (North India)

My first day in Jaipur was heart-melting and soul-touching (JAIPUR: TIMELESS TRAVEL). The city, famously known as the Pink City, is renowned for its distinctive pink-colored buildings and architecture. This unique hue dates back to 1876 when Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh ordered the city to be painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). Pink, symbolizing hospitality, continues to dominate the old city's landscape, preserving its historic charm.

For me, Jaipur is the Love City. The day began with a visit to the Birla Mandir, also known as the Lakshmi Narayan Temple. Built by the Birla family in 1988, this modern architectural marvel is made entirely of pristine white marble and dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. Nestled at the base of Moti Dungri Hill, the temple's intricate carvings depict scenes from Hindu mythology, saints, philosophers, and historical figures (VARANASI: SACRED GANGES)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Jaipur, Rajasthan: Timeless Travel Magic

Bidding farewell to Varanasi (VARANASI SACRED GANGES) was a deeply sentimental moment for me; it's one of those places that etched a profound meaning into my soul. But reality dictates that we must move on, so from Varanasi Airport, we flew back to New Delhi, landing at the bustling Delhi Airport before heading to Hotel Sohi Residency for our one-night stay. I wish I had more positive things to say about this hotel, but when you’re informed that accommodations will be three-star, expectations are modest. While I am far from being a travel diva, the bedsheets, pillow covers, and blanket left me questioning the cleanliness. The one redeeming feature was the super clean bathroom, a small consolation.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Varanasi - North India: Mystical Journeys Along the Sacred Ganges

One more place to go for the day (VARANASI - EXPERIENCING SACREDNESS), and it’s said to be the best highlight: the Night Aarti at Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple (Golden Temple). Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the twelve holiest Jyotirlingas. Its golden spire stands out against Varanasi's skyline, symbolizing divine light. The night aarti, a revered ritual, draws devotees and tourists with its elaborate chants, hymns, and offerings, creating an atmosphere of profound devotion. Constructed in 1780 on the Ganges' western bank, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a key stop on Varanasi's Heritage Walk, attracting thousands to its nightly ceremony.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Varanasi - North India: The Gateway to Experiencing Sacredness

Having explored South India (CHENNAI & KODAIKANAL) before, this time my journey took me to North India. It was another solo trip, joining a tour group (COLOMBO & KANDY, SRI LANKA) organized by the same friend, though comprised of strangers. Despite the option to share a room and cut costs, I chose, as always, to pay extra for the privacy of my own room.

We arrived at Hotel Arch in New Delhi around 2 AM, greeted by the early winter chill. My room, though small, was clean and comfortable, including the bathroom. The next morning, breakfast was served before 7 AM, a thoughtful gesture despite the limited choices. The highlight was undoubtedly the Bru coffee, a beloved staple in any part of India, whether at street stalls or in hotels.

A Taste of Burma: Masoor Dal and More Lentil Delights

Lentils and dal are essential staples in my kitchen, celebrated globally ( PERTH CULINARY EXPERIENCES ) for their versatility and nutritiona...