Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kaya Jam

Kaya is a coconut jam make from coconut milk, duck or chicken eggs which are flavored by pandan leaf and sweetened with sugar. The spread originated in Southeast Asia, most likely Indonesia or Malaysia. This is reflected by its tropical ingredients santan (coconut milk) and pandan leaf. Kaya is sweet and creamy. The original color reflects the color of the yolks used in the making. It is sometimes available as a golden brown or green colored spread depending on the amount of pandan and extent of caramelization of the sugar. As a popular local jam, kaya is typically spread on toast to make kaya toast and eaten in the morning but is mostly enjoyed throughout the day.

Kaya is used as a topping for several desserts including pulut taitai or pulut tekan, a dessert of sweet glutinous rice coloured blue with butterfly pea flowers (bunga telang), and pulut seri muka, a similar dessert but coloured green with pandan leaves. It is also used with glutinous rice to make kuih seri kaya.

Qu Yuan 屈原

Qu Yuan 屈原 was a member of the royal family of the kingdom of Chu in the time of Warring State. He was also the designated priest for the royal family. He wrote many beautiful poems that still existed till this day. His poems kept many valuable historical information: the mythologies, religious belief, part of funeral ritual of calling back the spirit of the dead, the type of food they eat, etc. He could have kept his position in court, but he could not stand to see the king of Chu being cheated by Qin's sweet words. He kept trying to advise the king not to believe Qin, but the king of Chu did not listen to him. His first Chu king was eventually kidnapped by Qin and died in Qin, and his second king did not listen still. He was exiled. When he was in exile, he met a fisherman. The fisherman asked him, "Aren't you the Dafu of San Lu (administrator of 3 royal clans)? Why are you here (in exile)?" He said, "The world are dirty and I am clean. The world are drunk and I am awake. Therefore, here I am." The fisherman said, "The men with De would not be limited by their environment. If the world is dirty, why don't you float with the dirt? If the world is drunk, why don't you drink with them? Why do you want to think too much and get exiled?" Qu Yuan said, "I have heard that a man who has just washed his hair would clean the dirt from his hat before wearing it, and a man who has just bathed would clean the dirt of his clothes before putting it on. How can I corrupt my clean self with dirt? I would rather jump into the river. How can I cover my pure reputation with the dirt of the world?" The fisherman smiled, turned around and sang, "Canglang river's water is pure, and it could wash the belt on my hat. Canglang river's water is dirty, and it could wash my dirty feet." Afterward, the fisherman left without saying one more word. Eventually, Qu Yuan killed himself by jumping into MiLuo river.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to get in to Sibu?

By Plane
Most visitors arrive Sibu by plane, if you travel directly from oveseas. If you are coming from other city in Sarawak, then you will have the choice of buses.

There is direct flight from KL or JB to Sibu. Malaysian Airlines and Air Asia are the one that you look for. MASWings serves flights between cities and rural areas in East Malaysia, including Sarawak and Sabah.

Travel to Sibu Town
Bus 3A runs to and from town every 1½ hours from 6.30am to 6pm (RM2.50, about 30 minutes). You could also try flagging down any rural bus that passes by. The coupon taxi fare into town is RM28.
The local bus station is on the waterfront. To get to the long-distance bus station, take Lanang Road bus 21 (90 sen) from the local bus station. It leaves roughly hourly between 6.30am and 5.30pm. A taxi costs RM10.

**Resource from LonelyPlanet

By Land

Sarawak has land borders with Brunei, Indonesia and the Malaysian state of Sabah. If you have own transport, you may drive all the way to Sibu

By Bus
This is the most common transport if you are travelling between cities in Sarawak. The travelling times can be long because of the distance.

By Boat
Express boats run from the coast inland along Borneo's larger rivers. They are generally faster than buses and cheaper than planes. Popular routes include Kuching-Sibu (4 hours) and Sibu-Kapit (3 hours). You may read more on Sarawak Transport on Lonely Planet website. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/malaysia/malaysian-borneo-sarawak/sibu/transport/getting-there-away

Sarawak Visa Requirement

Alone among Malaysia's states, Sarawak maintains an autonomy on immigration control, mostly so mainlanders cannot freely immigrate and swamp the thinly populated state. Even if coming in from elsewhere in Malaysia, Malaysians need to bring along their ID and are restricted to a stay of 90 days at a time. Other foreigners need to fill out a second immigration form.

Still, for most travellers this is just a formality and an interesting extra stamp in their passport, as anybody who does not need a visa for Malaysia can get a free 90-day visit permit on arrival. If you do need an advance visa for Malaysia, you'll need one specifically for Sarawak, so be sure to state this when applying at the Malaysian embassy.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Foochow Redwine Chicken Noodles(红酒鸡长寿面线)

You must be very curious, why the title write Red Wine but the picture above show no red at all. This is because there is one ingredient missing, the Hong Zhao.
It is red wine sediment/residue of wine. That is the ingredient that make the dish become red.
I used to cook without Hong Zhao, however would like to try the version of Hong Zhao next time.
This unique blend of red wine is a tradition among Foochow people. In the olden days, family of a pregnant woman will start brew red wine months prior to give birth to a new child.
The ingredients consist of rice, yeast and varieties of herbs. The red wine thus brewed is dense, and is kept in bottles stored in a dry and warm place.
RED WINE is a vital ingredient to longevity noodles/rice vermicelli (chang shou mian)and pre-cooked chicken which is served to friends and relatives who pay congratultory visit to the family with new born baby. Longevity noodles widely used as it symbolize long live.
RED WINE is also consumed by the woman who give birth to the baby in the believe that it will help her to recover health in shorter period of time.
Nowadays RED WINE is commonly used as ingredients for some cooking in many traditional Foochow restaurants.
Besides RED WINE CHICKEN, Sibu is well known for Hong Zhao CHICKEN. 'Zhao' is the residue of wine.

Here are some simple steps to prepare my favourite dish.

Half chicken (kampung chicken is the best)
1 cup of foochow red wine
1 tbsp of foochow Hong Zhao (red wine sediment)
Few pieces of ginger-julienned
3 tbsp of sesame oil
salt to taste
1/2 tbsp of sugar (to replace Ajinamoto)
1 litre of water
3 bunches of longevity noodle
Few pieces of dried mushrooms

1. Cut the chicken into bite size. Marinate it with the ang zhao, leave it for 30 minutes or so.
2. Soak the dried mushrooms in water and leave for 30 minutes.
3. In a wok, heat up the sesame oil, once the wok heated up, add in the ginger and stir fry till fragance.
4. Then add in the chicken and stir fry continuosly till yellowish. Add in the foochow red wine and stir fry again. Add in the salt and sugar and continue to stir fry for a minute or so.
5. Pour in the water & soaked mushrooms and close with a lid. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes till cook.
6. While the dish is simmering, prepare a pot and boil some water to cook the longevity noodle. When it is boiling, add in the noodle and let it cook on high heat. Remember to constantly stir the noodle so that it doesn't stick together.
7. Once the noodle is cook(it will float), then drain it. In a bowl, place the noodle and laddle some red wine chicken and soup onto it.
8. Serve while it's still piping hot. (Please don't let the noodles soaked in the soup for too long as it will affect the tasture)