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.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Cape Town: The Magical Moments

Our journey from the hotel to Nederburg Wines was quite a trek (CAPE TOWN THE NATURE STUNNER). As one of Stellenbosch's oldest vineyards, we received a warm welcome from the staff and were guided through the grape processing and wine conversion process. Honestly, I wasn't the most attentive listener - more interested in sampling the wines! I took cautious sips, avoiding a rush to my head. Truth be told, I couldn't distinguish between the different wine flavors and varieties. Some guests seemed like experts, while others, like me, quietly enjoyed the experience.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Cape Town: The Nature Stunner

Honestly, I had no clue whatsoever what to expect in Cape Town (CAPE TOWN: THE TRAVEL STEALER). Aside from glancing at the itinerary before I left home, I didn’t read up on the city. As always, I preferred to discover places organically (COLOMBO DISCOVERY & KANDY MOMENTS). In Cape Town, I was swept away by the wonders of this part of South Africa, starting with a morning drive from the hotel to the high slopes of the mountains. The adventure had me standing rather than seated, gripping the bars of the coach as it maneuvered through the mountains. Swinging left and right with each turn, I was captivated by the jaw-dropping views of Cape Town's waters and the stunning scenery that unfolded before me (AGRA: TAJ MAHAL & VARANASI SACRED GANGES).

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Cape Town: The Travel Stealer

When my travel buddies asked, "Hey Nava, want to join us for a trip to South Africa? It's 10 days, 7 nights. Are you in?" I didn't hesitate (SEOUL: JOURNEY THROUGH MY EYES & JEJU THROUGH MY LENS). After checking my bank balance, which thankfully cooperated, I eagerly accepted the invitation. Our journey took us from KLIA, with a layover at Singapore Changi Airport, before finally landing at Cape Town International Airport in the morning. The long flight, coupled with the transit in Singapore, made for quite a journey (OSAKA SUNSETS & KYOTO ONSEN BARENESS).

Our first order of business was lunch at Ocean Basket in Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a renowned seafood spot introduced to us by our knowledgeable guide, who has been based in South Africa for over a decade. The restaurant's chic blue-themed decor set a perfect ambiance. We tucked in a satisfying set lunch featuring soup, salad, a seafood platter, dessert, and drinks. The portions were so generous that even sharing was a challenge, leaving us regretting any waste.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Seoul, Korea: A Journey Through My Eyes

On the second last day in Korea, which was spent in Seoul (GANDWON-DO & JEJU THROUGH MY LENS) e skipped the usual hotel buffet breakfast and were taken to an eatery instead. Remember, I told you how it's difficult to figure out the names of eateries in Korea, as the signboards are all in Korean? By the time we walked in, it seemed it was almost the end of breakfast. The tables were a mess, created by previous tour groups who had already eaten and left. It felt like we were helping ourselves to the remnants of the dishes, and the staff seemed uninterested in serving us. Nevertheless, we helped ourselves to pumpkin porridge and spinach porridge, along with Kimchi soup and side dishes. Despite the initial chaos, it was a pleasant meal.

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.

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...