What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 2-8-2013



On 2-August 2013,


Today, we are having Siamese Laksa for dinner.

First of all, I have to clarify that Siamese Laksa is different from Mee Siam, another common noodle dish in Singapore and Malaysia.

This noodle dish is rather common in Northern Peninsular Malaysia near the border of Thailand. However, it is not common in Southern Peninsular Malaysia, East Malaysia and Singapore. I come from the State of Sarawak, East Malaysia, theoretically I shouldn’t know about this dish. However, it is such a coincidence that one of my secondary school teacher who is also a friend of my late mother is from Penang. She taught my mother how to cook this. Before my mother passed away, she cooked this laksa pretty often and I really love it. If you like Assam Laksa and Curry Laksa, it is something like a mixture of both, creamy and slightly sour and spicy. It is both tamarind base and coconut milk based.

As this dish is not popular in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, I don’t really ever eaten it besides those that were cooked by my mum. When I do a recipe check, I found out that the ingredients used are common ingredients that were also used by my mum, therefore, the taste should be quite close and similar. My wife who has never eaten this noodle dish before also concurred that the dish is delicious.

What puzzled me now is why is it not popular in Southern Peninsular Malaysia as the taste is not uniquely special. In fact, there is not much information on this laksa’s origin. I am still contemplating whether or not I should share my own recipe. If on the grounds that as long as the food is delicious, whether authentic or not, recipe should be shared then I should share and may be shall I called it Guaishushu’s Siamese Laksa. Haha

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Very briefly, fishes were boiled and flaked. After slow frying the spice mix (galangal, turmeric, lemon grass, shallots, ginger, garlics), fish broth , kafir lime leaves, daun kesom and rojak flower were added and bring to boil under high heat. Belachan, tamarind juice and fish meat were then added to the broth. When boiled, coconut milk were added. It was usually thick rice vermicelli served with julienned cucumbers, pineapples, beansprouts and garnished with mint leaves and lime.


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For lunch, I have cooked this noodle dish for my kids as it is easier to prepare and I knew they would like it. They like it because it is sweet and that is also the reason I like it…Haha

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Sarawak have a very unique noodle dish called bean sprout noodles (豆芽面)。

The basic ingredients can be as simple as only yellow noodles, bean sprout, sweet thickened dark soya sauce, garlic. The thick sweetened dark soya sauce were made of dark soya sauce and nipah palm sugar (Gula Apong). Minced garlic was stir fried until brownish, add in dark sweet soya sauce. Stirred fried until well mixed, add in bean sprout just 1 minutes before you off the heat!

That is the simplest form we have and is called Tauge Mee Kosong (Plain Bean Sprout Noodles). However, with the affluence of the society and influence from West Malaysia, there are more and more variations of the noodles that include eggs, cockles, fish cakes and etc. It resemble the Penang Char Kway tiao. The only difference is that Penang char Kway teow is a savory dish whereas Sarawak Tauge Mee is a sweet noodle dish.


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My third cooking adventure of the day is making a butter cake, or more precise Mrs. NgSK’s butter cake from http://wendyinkk.blogspot.sg. This name is rather funny right? Well, most bakers are not able to make a butter cake following traditional butter cake recipes that yields a flat top non crack butter cake. This rather famous blogger take the courage to ask one of her church members why every time her cake is so perfect,  flat and  without any cracks. Apparently, the church member (Mrs. NgSK) is very helpful and provide her the recipe. She followed the recipe and come out the perfect  cake that she wanted. She therefore shared the recipe on her blog and requested this recipe be named as Mrs. NgSK’s butter cake. She concluded that:

“Obviously, I am not jinxed for butter crack cakes. It is the recipe, not me, LOL”

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Early in the day when I looked at my friend’s timeline, one of my blogger friends mentioned about this Mrs. NgSK’s butter cake and the funny name of the cake caught my immediate attention. So, I goggled and find the above blog. I did not read in detail but what really impressed me is her cake, cake that is flat and crack  less. I read the ingredients, nothing special and I want to try whether or not this preparation method can give me a butter cake that I admired.

In the afternoon, I start the preparation but I have chosen not to follow her recipe exactly. I alter the volume of raw  ingredients used. I used the very basic traditional pound cake recipe of 1 butter: 1 egg ; 1 flour : 1 sugar.  However, for the preparation method, I have follow her method by separate beating of egg whites and egg yolks. Everything look perfect even the uncooked batter. From my experience, it is going to be a good cake.

I send the cake into the oven and everything goes well in the first 15 minutes, then it suddenly start to shape like a volcano and with small cracks. The colour is perfect and I thought it is gone because I can’t get a flat top butter cake without cracks. I tested the batter, obviously it is not cooked since the middle is still very wet.  As the middle is still uncooked, I make a wrong decision to up the temperature hopefully it can speed up the process of baking the cake. 5 minutes after when I looked at the cake, the cake was slightly burn in the top, I tested again and it is cooked.

I become very disappointed as I have wasted my half day’s effort. I took it out from the oven and in a matter of 15 minutes, it start to “shrink” and become a flat cake. I shouldn’t have increased the temperature. I am not confident enough that the cake will turn out good. Overall, the cake looks ok, I scrapped off some of the burnt skin and I have decided to share my simple recipe in Guaishushu’s Facebook page later. What do you think? Shall I share the recipe?

Cheers and have a nice day ahead.



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