Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Golden Triangle Boat Ride (Chiang Rai - Thailand)

Myanmar (Myanmar Across The Border Of Mae Sai) literally ran over me like a big hot furnest bulldozer. Massive traffic in all directions between the cluttered roads, motorbikes and cycles, dust flying all over and weather really got to me. Sweat dripping soaking wet within the few hours, no, no, don't get me wrong. I am not sulking nor complaining. After all, what is travelling if you can't put up with expecting the expected or unexpected? There's by the way no guarantee to none while travelling, I guess we have to make do with it for the best or worst which in return does do a whole lot of good by exposing us to seeing and understanding how different parts of the world is functioning differently than ours. But if by any chance you are not someone who is apt for exploring the not nice context of travelling, I suggest you sit at home Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai Day 2 & Chiang Mai Day 1) and grow old as a grumpy pot. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pulut Inti (Glutinous Rice With Sweet Coconut)

It is one thing for cooking, the other is whether you must have all the ingredients? What then? What happens when you can't get certain specific ingredients? You are going to ditched aside the idea of making the dish? Or my question is, are you still going to go ahead by making do? Making do basically meaning, are we going to go ahead with the dish. If you are asking me, I am quite a good cooking runner. I always make do. Take this pulut inti for an example. By right, you need banana leaves, then again? So what? What about re-looking at how can we still make without the leaves. I definitely did fine. My pyrex showed me the way and I hand-crafted Pulut Inti for the serving style. See, I already told you? Nothing is absolute and you can still be a food hero in your own way. What is Pulut Inti? Clue already given. Glutinous rice with sweet coconut which must placed alongside our kuih-muih or local delicacies (Chrysanthemum Goji Jelly, Kuih Kosui & Malaysian Sago Pudding). Our Kuih-muih (Bingka Pisang, Bubur Chacha & Honeydew Sago Dessert)? The treasures of Malaysia and will forever remain as our propelling sweet treat, sweet delight and our sweet moment  (Wajik PulutKuih Buah MelakaKuih Sagu Kukus & Pumpkin Sago Dessert).

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Myanmar - Across the Border From Mae Sai

Pretty much an effortless crossing over to Myanmar from the border of Mae Sai. Thanks to our adorable tour guide, we paid her I think RM200.00 and she did the rest. Pass for crossing over and where and where we should head to for the next few hours, all of it sorted out by this lady. While she got moving to getting the pass, we waited, and within the next less than 1/2 an hour, we walked from the arch that separates Chiang Mai and Myanmar (Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai Day 2 & Chiang Mai Day 1). My-my, what a interesting travelling moment. Crossing over to another country by walking. Hundreds of others were also walking from and across the border, I hardly noticed any tourists though, subsequently, we hopped into our van and there we were already on the busy and quite a messy any way is your traffic way in Tachilek, Myanmar. Weather on this particular day lemme tell was killer heat. Really really hot. Literally unbearable and the dust simply flying at its whims and fancy made it even worst. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Chiang Mai (Day 2) - Thailand

What a start for the day. Couldn't have been any better (Chiang Mai Day One). No better in fact for a traveller like me who love nature all things nice, our first stop for the day in Bai Orchid And Butterfly Farm was akin Nava K tinkle bell nature. Awesomeness. Utterly. Still memorable till this day. Rows and rows of colorful and different species orchids which were in my imagination smiling and greeting me naturally brightly. Though, honestly, I have never so far had any luck in growing orchids. Orchids I grow eventually depart to heaven happily or sadly. Strange that for someone like me who is into some serious stuff of gardening in my tiny plot of garden, I am yet to horn my orchid growing skills. I suppose its one of those things you still can't gasp despite trying over and over, until I think I have given up on growing orchids. Therefore, this trip of ours to Bai Orchid And Butterfly Farm sincerely was a fantastic eye opener to propagating orchids and what else you can do with the orchids flowers you have lovingly cultivated. Those hair clips and accessories you can buy indeed caught up on me until I couldn't resist picking up a few pieces for remembrance as well.   




  
Butterfly farm in Bai Orchid too was another interesting nature discovery, but it wasn't something totally new to me (Malacca Butterfly & Reptile Sanctuary). Having said that, nature splendour is still an appreciated splendour wherever it may be. Departing from Bai Orchid & Butterfly Farm, we then arrived in Chiang Mai Karen Hilltop Long Neck Village. I can't tell you if there's other long neck villages in Chiang Mai or if this is the only one, maybe yes, maybe no, I really can't confirm though, what became a tiny bit of question mark in Karen Hilltop Long Neck Village is paying RM50.00 as the unofficial entrance fee. Didn't make sense, honestly, I wasn't expecting it, then again for the benefit of the doubt, considering that its a source of income for the people, we didn't mind paying. After all, tourism is a big money chunking business in Thailand, additionally, nothing is free when you travel? Karen Hilltop Long Neck Village by the way I must admit was quite an intriguing culture of discovery the moment we started walking right to the further end. Not really a big area though, but definitely the ladies and young girls donning the long heavy gold metal piece on their necks I reckon are the spoken must do attraction in Chiang Mai. Of course, you are allowed to picture alongside them, and the scarfs and handicrafts are a buying pleasure of yours.   



An hour most to most in Karen Hilltop Long Neck Village, actually more than ample time, next on our itinerary was Maetaeng Elephant Park. Elephants bathing, elephants that won't stop eating bananas you feed them and elephant playing football and painting. Marvelous. We enjoyed every bit of our visit to Maetaeng Elephant Park, for the first time ever I tried the elephant ride which of course no doubt trilled and excited me, but stopping you every now and then for buying sugar cane and bananas for feeding I thought was corny money ripping. Subsequently, we browsed through the products in the souvenir shop, we had lunch in one of the restaurants and off we left for Chiang Mai Snake & Monkey show.   




Monkey show and snake show I believe will be included if you are in a tour, but honestly, since I have done it before (Krabi, Thailand), my enthusiasm while watching the monkey tricks and man to snakes wrestling didn't pierce right into my travelling heart neither mind. If you have not done it before, I suppose you won't stop being impressed.    

Two more stops for the day, touristy stops I must say. Silver and royal jelly and birds nest cottage industry visits. Pressure to buying was not so bad in the silver outlet, but at the latter, royal jelly and birds nest both in one outlet, the young doll sales staff was quite a forceful smiling humble thing until my guy friend didn't mind paying a couple of hundreds. Anyway I am in no way disputing the health power of royal jelly or birds nest. Go ahead, buy all you want, pay a couple of hundreds for healthy is wealth attraction in Chiang Mai. 
  

Day 2 in Chiang Mai ended with dinner and back to the hotel. Quite a fun-fantastic day I must say. In store for us tomorrow is Chiang Rai here we are coming to get you. 

To be continued................









Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Chiang Mai (Thailand)

I suppose nothing comes easy our way. Literally none. Ask me and I will tell you, but I can't speak on behalf of any of you. I won't and I choose not to anyway because to each our own bundle of life stories. My story without a doubt have been a roller coaster ride and yo-yo string up and down for as long as I remember. Years of struggling for settling in a career I am passionate about, one marriage failure after 16 years and the rest is more and more pain and misery history until my Indian hero came by. Honestly, if you asking me, he is god send for rescuing me. Whether you agree or not, I really believe there's a soul mate out there for each of us. I met mine when I was dangling in many question marks at 37 years old. The rest is history in making whereby we together worked our butts out for a comfortable life (more at Verona & Milan). Additionally, unlike the current generation, the lucky generation who are showered with lotsa money by their parents for travelling, I had to save. Thanks also to my other half-half for kick starting me hard towards my first ever heroic solo travel (Bangkok Thailand - Through My Canon). Thereafter, I did my solo tour group travel to Vietnam & Cambodia, followed by all expenses paid for knowledge thirsting in Perth and next was another solo travel by way of cruising (Krabi & Perth). 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Nasi Minyak

Nasi Minyak? Got you wondering? What is Nasi Minyak? Our Malaysian, specifically Malay style (Pucuk Ubi Masak Lemak) rice dish cooked alongside quite a whole list of ingredients. Mainly of course our local herbs and spices, and nasi minyak if I am not wrong, must be regarded as another rice dish trending near, far or close to Briyani (Burmese Briyani, Hyderabadi Vegetable Briyani & Vegetable Briyani). Why? Pretty much the main elements speaking for themselves. The main elements of ghee (Ghee Rice), spices, nuts, raisin, and of course any kinda of rice dish which is quite outstanding must be made with Basmati rice. We in Malaysia are also not short of our other famed rice dishes (Nasi Kerabu, Nasi Bunga TelangNasi Ulam & Nasi Dagang). Each and every one of it is a representation of our Malaysian food colors (Nasi Pudina & Nasi Kunyit) and Nasi Minyak on the whole, a rich, filling, aromatic and like a must have for special occasions rice dish. Furthermore, the pairing for Nasi Minyak is endless. Mostly spicy dishes, or as you wish, as you like (Roti Jala Kari Kambing, Ayam Buah Keluak, Salad Bunga Kantan & Sambal Udang). 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pucuk Ubi Masak Lemak (Tapioca leaf In Coconut Gravy)

The other door to a Malay style coconut stew (Masak Lemak Ikan Masin Nenas & Sardin Masak Lemak Cili Padi). In fact, a close cousin to our Indian Sodhi. The main vegetable key to this version of masak lemak? Pretty much tapioca leaf/pucuk ubi which trust me, can be effortlessly grown. Just plant the roots after cooking and within time, you have it all. The rest of the ingredients? How far further can we get when its a Malay coconut stew? The, more or less within the context of our pantry friendly ingredients and maybe you need to buy them. Pucuk Ubi Masak Lemak (Tapioca leaf In Coconut Gravy). Malay style truly a sensational delight. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Chrysanthemum Goji Jelly

Have you heard of Chrysanthemum Goji Jelly? You know? Or you don't know what I am talking about? If you are Chinese (Honeydew Sago), I think you should know. Nevermind, if all of us are as blank as each other. But I am not blank. I quite know it. Otherwise, how could I have made? Back then, years ago, Chrysanthemum Goji Jelly was a popularity. Don't know if it is still, but I can still remember and today, my food and cooking mission is to show you how we can make Chrysanthemum Goji Jelly. Actually, come to think of it, I don't think I should dwell too much. Everything you need to know and see? Clearly listed below. Follow me and you can't go or do any wrong. Chrysanthemum Goji Jelly. The yesteryears sweet delight. Outstanding for its uniqueness.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Vazha Koombu Thoran

The last time we meet, we hit it at Sri Lanka cuisine (Miris Malu). Today, we are hitting back to another round of Kerala cuisine. Kerala cuisine (Mathi Achar, Nadan Meen Curry, Meen Puttu, Parippu Pradhaman)? I quite know it right? Well, I must admit I quite have it at the back and in front of my cooking hands (Malabar Fish Curry & Kerala Fish Curry). What is Vazha Koombu Thoran? Vazha Koombu is vazhaipoo, or banana flower or banana blossom. How about thoran? Basically, a stir fry (Tuna Thoran, Beans Thoran & Cabbage Thoran). To make Vazha Koombu Thoran? All clearly listed below and quite a simplicity, but cleaning the banana flower? You better get ready with time and some oil for rubbing and removing its stickiness while, maybe at removing the flowers and thereafter for cleaning your hands and fingers. Other than that, Vazha Koombu Thoran is our yesteryears and forever appeciated by my generation side dish delightfulness alongside rice (Carrot Poriyal & Tapioca Stir Fry).  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Miris Malu

Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan food deliciousness again (Sri Lankan Carrot SaladMalu Kirata & Kiri Hodi). That's right ladies and gentlemen. Me, quite a Lankan home chef. What's store in for us today? Miris Malu. Miris Malu? Sri Lankan Fish Curry and my version from my Malaysian kitchen. Malaysian kitchen (Mathi Achar, Meen Puttu, Indian Spiced Salmon & Bengali Yogurt Fish Curry)? Indeed. Me giving a twist to the originality of Miris Malu for my version. In other words, Nava-K's version. But, lemme me assure you that nothing is compromised. Not spiciness, and definitely not sourness, but? Natural sourness from mango (Malabar Fish Curry) instead of Lankan tamarind (Meen Muringakka Kulambu & Assam Curry Fish). Should be fine right? Why not? Because, like I have already told you, without compromising on the quintessential fish curry proudness and profoundness on how a typical and authentic Lankan fish curry must be. Furthermore, when cooked in claypot like in Sri Lanka?  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Bunga Kantan/Ginger Torch Bud Pineapple Cucumber Salad

I love all things Malaysian herbs and spices. Must I also mention that I am a typical Malaysian who will never ever compromise our Malaysian food (Mutton Rendang, Nasi Kerabu & Nasi Ulam) for anything else in this world? Our Malaysian cuisine? They are such a tremendous delight and on the whole, when we speak about our Malaysian salad? Generally, in the family of Malay salads. How can we go wrong? We can't in fact. Our Malaysian raw salad (Kerabu Taugeh, Kerabu Kacang Botol & Kerabu Mangga) is so easy to put together. In fact for a fact, most raw salads (Vegetable Raita, Asian Watermelon Salad, Mango Cucumber Salad, Apple Cucumber Salad & Cucumber Yogurt Salad). Bunga Kantan/Ginger Torch Bud Pineapple Cucumber Salad? The central master key for the scent and aroma is obviously, bunga kantan (ginger torch bud) which I am still struggling in growing. Just can't get right no matter what so far. Nevermind, we can still buy? A dollar most probably for one. Making this salad? Ingredients listed below, but no hard and soft rules to the amount of ingredients. As little or as much as you like. Bunga Kantan/Ginger Torch Bud Pineapple Cucumber Salad? Crunchiness, tadbit of spiciness, tanginess and wondrous aroma of ginger torch bud. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mutton Rendang

Do I? Must I? Should I? About what? Introduce rendang to all you Malaysians? No need right? I bet you know. Unless of course if you are still blur (Rendang Ayam & Vegetarian Mutton Rendang). Aside to rendang, the other that need no introduction is? Mutton by itself. Don't we Indians just so love our mutton (Shahi Mutton Curry, Aloo Gosht, Mutton Parathal & Masala Mutton Curry)? I don't know about you, but definitely in my house, a mutton dish must hit our dining table, let's say every fortnight or at least once a month (Mutton Keema, Devil's Curry, Mutton Bone Marrow Curry, Easy Mutton Curry & Mutton Kurma). And when we dine in Indian restaurants, what shall I say? Somehow, as much as we hold ourselves back, a plate of mutton dish? Mostly for us. Alright. Let's get down to making Mutton Rendang. Not a mind boggling matter like some people make it sound. Quite simplified actually if you are asking me. Follow this recipe of mine and I bet you won't be disappointed. Mutton Rendang? What a delight. The mutton way to our famed Malaysian rendang. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Jiu Hu Char (Stir Fried Jicama)

 
The central ingredient for Jiu Hu Char? Jicama, aka, yam beans and in our local Malay language, sengkuang. Thus? Obviously? The birth of Jiu Hu Char which is by far one of the looked forward to dish during or while tucking into a Nyonya meal. Yep. Me and my Nyonya cooking (Ikan Buah Keluak, Nasi Kerabu, Kerabu Taugeh, Nyonya Mee Siam & Nyonya Hot Sour Noodles in Fish Soup)? Usually, as far as I know, the other key ingredient for Jiu Hu Char is cuttlefish. But I decided to do it my way with dried shrimps. Furthermore, I gave Jiu Hu Char a twist by adding button mushrooms. Why can't we? After all, like I always say, its our cooking and its the comfort of the ingredients we want instead of replicating recipes blindly? Sure. Of course (Nyonya Lam Mee & Nyonya Curry Laksa). The pairing for this delightful Nyonya style to Jicama or yam beans? Trust me, you need our power lashing Sambal Belacan or Sambal Terasi. Just so sensational for immediately waking up your palates (Kangkung Belacan). 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ikan Buah Keluak

Buah Keluak? We spoke about before? We sure did (Ayam Buah Keluak). So, let's just skip the topic to buah keluak and get down to the business of this next recipe. Ikan Buah Keluak. Fish cooked alongside the dark or really brown, inside and outside nuts. The cooking style? Another curry version and what's with fish and keluak as a food couple? Well, I thought I can get my other half-half to taste keluak. Fish (Thai Crispy Fish, Malaysian Fish Sambal & Malaysian Fish Head Curry) according to him is, he claims is brain food for all of us. Duh! Actually I have concluded fish is brain lubricating food for him (Ikan Goreng Kunyit & Ikan Goreng Asam). 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Roti Jala Kari Kambing

Roti Jala? How should I pretty much translate roti jala? Maybe best said as our Malaysian roti and a Malay style (Ayam Buah Keluak, Nasi Kerabu Biru, Sambal Belimbing Ikan BilisKerabu Taugeh & Ikan Goreng Asam) roti or savory flat pancake. Making roti jala, meaning, the roti batter is not a brain cracker. But for me personally, since I made these roti jala for the first time, oh-god, what a killer. Not the batter lemme repeat again, the streaming of it out of the cup actually. The cup you need and this cup with like long teeth below where the batter will be stream out. The first few roti jala I made? Definitely out of shape. Then, after a few rounds, not bad, but still not perfection. And when it came to the much remaining batter thereafter, I decided roti jala will be made as thin pancakes. Ohhhh! Roti Jala by far must be paired alongside a spicy curry and what can be like the match in heaven for roti jala but kari kambing, aka mutton curry (Shahi Mutton Curry, Lamb Rogan Josh, Mutton Kurma & Mutton Keema). Sensational? Ah sensational? Yep. When you dip roti jala in the spicy Indian style curry, millions of knocks on food haven. Delicious. Utterly. Trust me. So, how about you making Roti Jala Kari Kambing? 

For roti jala
1 cup all purpose flour/tepung gandum/wheat flour (mine is all purpose)
1 egg
1 1/2 cup milk (carton milk)
1/2 tsp turmeric/kunyit powder
Water as needed
A pinch of salt.

Method
Add all the ingredients in a bowl except water. 
Whisk together while pouring water bit by bit and continue to whisk for a smooth consistency to stream down the cup.
Heat a flat pan.
Rub a little butter.
Stream the batter from the cup while circling out. 
Cook on both sides.
Careful when you lift the roti as not to break. 
Then either fold or gently roll the roti. 
Do the same to the balance of the batter.
For kari kambing/mutton curry
400g mutton - cut into bite sizes
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp plain chilli powder
** mix mutton with turmeric powder and chilli powder. Keep aside.
Note: you may consider pressure cooking to soften mutton. 
1 large onion - sliced 
Spices - 1 cinnamon, 3 clove, 1 star anize and 3 lightly crushed cardamom
1/2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp crushed black pepper
2 or 3 dried chillies - snipped
3 potatoes - sliced
2 sprigs coriander leaves - sliced
Salt for taste
1/4 cup oil

Method
Sauté onion, spices and dried chillies.
Add mutton and stir in.
Add coriander powder, and cumin powder.
Stir in.
Pour enough water for gravy.
Stir and simmer to 1/2 soften mutton.
Add potatoes. 
Stir and simmer to soften potatoes.
Add black pepper and season with salt.
Stir, off the heat and combine in coriander leaves. 



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