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Laksa

eG Foodblog: Laksa - Wild man of Borneo

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Hello everybody!

I hope you guys like bananas! 99.9% of my diet consists of bananas. For protein, I pick ticks from my fellow wild men. :raz:

But seriously...

I work as a computer programmer in Poughkeepsie, NY. So what's this crap about being a wild man of Borneo, I hear you ask.

I am really from Borneo. I was born and raised in Sarawak, Malaysia, but my grandparents originally came from Fuzhou, China. From the age of 13 until 26, I lived in Melbourne, Australia. For the last four years, I've been going wild in the jungles of Poughkeepsie. "Wild man gone wild" is now available in VHS and DVD from your local quality video store.

Why is the wild man rambling? I think it gives some background to the type of food you can expect to see in this food blog. That's right, it's gonna be a confusing and incoherent mish mash.

Ok, there will be Chinese, there will be Malaysian, there will be Australian, and there will be Sarawakian. There will be steak because I love steak.

I like cooking only when it's not a "chore", so sometimes we eat out. I bet all the New Yorkers are dying to read about the wonders of Poughkeepsie's restaurant scene.

Here's an attempt at providing some structure to the ideas swirling in my head, in no particular order:

Pork congee - what I'm going to have for lunch today. Pictures to come.

Asian BBQ pork - inspired by the recent eG BBQ pork thread.

Kari Ayam (Malaysian Chicken Curry)

Umai - Sarawakian raw fish salad

Sarawak Laksa (of course... and nothing like the one from Penang)

Tuna casserole (Australian recipe)

Aussie burger with the lot (that means fried egg and beetroot, I'm afraid)

Steak

I'm terrible at making desserts, but I'll have a go at making kueh salat, because I miss it so.

I hope that list meets with your approval, fellow eGulleteers. There's only going to be two of us eating the food, and our main meal is dinner, so the list may be overly ambitious. Forgive me if I don't get around to every item or if I change things around mid-stream.

I can't make any promises, but there is a plan to eat some stinky durian and to incorporate as much stinky shrimp paste in the recipes as possible. Be prepared to hold your noses! :raz:

If any term or ingredient is unfamiliar to you, please feel free to ask. My googling skills are at your disposal! :laugh:

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Laksa, a most interesting list! Looks like another great blog coming... :biggrin:

Did you post your BBQ pork recipe in another thread? If not, please do!

Bananas...do you do frozen bananas?

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oh, this is going to be fun...

johnnybird is from potown, the sil is a dispatcher with township police- i'll put in a word with her to keep you out of trouble :wink:

where are you going to get durian around there? i don't think adam's fairacre farms carries it.

i'm really interested in where you will find some of the products for when we are up visiting.

blog on....

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Yep, I knew you were going to be a good choice! I've actually been to Borneo, well, Kalimantan, and just in Banjarmasin, but still. Oh, and I use pepper from Sarawak sometimes, too. I love the food from that part of the world, including durian and blachan, so this will be especially fun for me.

I'm really looking forward to this week!


Edited by Abra (log)

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Lunch is served!

Mrs Laksa cooked congee (rice gruel?) with ground pork loosely shaped into balls. The preserved bamboo shoots in hot chili oil on top is my own touch.

i11419.jpg

I normally have lunch in the office but since Mrs Laksa is cooking something special today, I drove all of 5 miles home.

The pork balls were seasoned with white pepper, ginger powder, salt and light soy. Thinly sliced fresh ginger root, sesame oil, white pepper, salt, and sliced reconstituted shiitake went into the congee. She cooked everything in the rice cooker.

Half a pound of ground pork to 1 cup of rice. I think the requirement is 7 times as much water as rice. Everything else is agak-agak, or Malaysian for "approximate/to taste".

If you think black egg is unnatural, LOOK AWAY NOW!

Ahh... century egg. It's like sulphurous butter encased in sulphurous black jelly. With a little bit of soy, it goes great with congee. My parents forced me to eat it as a kid, and now I eat it because I cannot not eat it. I've been trained to be a ruthless eating machine. When I have kids, I'm gonna force them to eat it too! It's my obligation as a Chinese.

i11420.jpg

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Did you post your BBQ pork recipe in another thread? If not, please do!

Bananas...do you do frozen bananas?

I'll post the BBQ pork recipe with the pictures later tonight.

Frozen bananas are unknown in the jungles of Borneo because we don't have electricity yet. The other orang-utans, those who've ventured nearer to the cities, speak of frozen bananas and banana daiquiri sometimes but I don't know whether to believe them or not. :raz:

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I used to know what century eggs were, but I've forgotten.

How do you make them, and can you buy them commercially?

Great looking blog so far, Laksa. I've never made congee in a rice cooker. My mom usually makes it in a pot.

Now I have a hankering for congee. :blink:

Soba

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Hey Laksa -- any chance of you frying up some of the ikan bilis we were discussing in the other thread? Haven't had a chance to search an Asian market yet for any down here, but just seeing a picture of some with some nuts and chilis thrown in would get me off.

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Ahh... century egg. It's like sulphurous butter encased in sulphurous black jelly.

Oh I love those things. The taste is hard to describe...mineral is about all that comes to mind right now.

The other thing is that they look so darn cool.

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oh, this is going to be fun...

johnnybird is from potown, the sil is a dispatcher with township police- i'll put in a word with her to keep you out  of trouble :wink:

where are you going to get durian around there? i don't think adam's fairacre farms carries it.

i'm really interested in where you will find some of  the products for when we  are up visiting.

blog on....

If anyone reports a gas leak near Prospect Street in Wappingers Falls, feel free to ignore it as it's probably just me cracking open a durian. :biggrin:

Thankfully, within 10 miles of our apt. there's a Thai grocer, where I usually get my durian and Banh Mi, a Taiwanese grocer, and an Indian grocery that does a roaring lunch box trade, popular with many from my office.

Believe it or not, Super Stop and Shop, a large chain grocer here in the North East, at one time had two durians in ther fruit dept.

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How do you make them, and can you buy them commercially?

Great looking blog so far, Laksa. I've never made congee in a rice cooker. My mom usually makes it in a pot.

Century eggs are duck eggs that are preserved in charcoal and lime, apparently. (Isn't google great?) We bought ours from a store. I think most people don't take the trouble to make them as the commercially available ones are pretty good. Dejah's blog from a couple of week ago had a pastry item made with century egg.

Our rice cooker is non-stick but our stock pot isn't. The hardest part about making congee is the constant stirring so the rice doesn't stick to the pot.

Ok, let me confess now to cheating and taking short-cuts, just to get it out of the way. :laugh:

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Yep, I knew you were going to be a good choice! I've actually been to Borneo, well, Kalimantan, and just in Banjarmasin, but still. Oh, and I use pepper from Sarawak sometimes, too. I love the food from that part of the world, including durian and blachan, so this will be especially fun for me.

I'm really looking forward to this week!

Abra, what were you doing in Banjarmasin? I actually spent 6 months of my life in Banjarmasin when I was around 8 or 9. My dad worked in the timber industry, and he went frequently to Banjarmasin to buy timber.

I have limited but lasting memories of the time there. I had my first taste of frogs legs in Banjarmasin. I remember there was a lot of fresh seafood there. I wish I could remember more.

Is Sarawak pepper difficult to get in the States? Pepper and cocoa are Sarawak's two main exports, if you ignore the wild men of Borneo.

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Hey Laksa -- any chance of you frying up some of the ikan bilis we were discussing in the other thread?

I am at your service, my liege. I just happen to have some raw ikan bilis (dried achovies) in the fridge. Watch this space closely for fried ikan bilis.

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I believe there exists an urban myth that century eggs are made with horse urine. Does anyone know if that's true?

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I believe there exists an urban myth that century eggs are made with horse urine. Does anyone know if that's true?

It sure tastes like it! :wacko: It's the primary reason why I refuse to eat my parent's congee. They put loads of the eggs in it. Yuck! :shock:

The taste isn't too bad, but it's the texture that really bothers me.

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Oh I am drooling already. :biggrin:

edit to say - really, oh Laksa it looks good! We called them thousand year eggs. They're best fresh from the back yard where they've been buried 3 months. Just kidding.

I used to eat these all the time in China and had them a few times once I came back but it never became a habit... Do you eat this a lot, and do you always have congee with them? :smile:

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Loaded question but how different is the food in East M'sia vs Western Peninsula?

Also please post the recipe for Umai and Sarawak Laksa sounds interesting.

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Century eggs are also great as an appetitzer. :blink:

The egg is sliced into 4 or 6 sections, and eaten with pickled ginger.

Some equate the taste to rubber tires. . .


Edited by Dejah (log)

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So I came home today from work and... WHAT IS THAT SMELL?

Mrs Laksa has been following this blog too, and she's, as usual, one step ahead of me. Here's what I caught her doing:

Snipping heads off dried achovies.

i11430.jpg

Boy, these little fishies are rather pungent. It's all gonna be worth it though when we fry them up. Actually, you can buy these already de-headed (be-headed?).

In case you haven't already noticed, this blog may not be to your liking if you're a tad squemish. Ok, if there are enough complaints, I will stop with the gross pictures. Truth be told, I get a perverse kick out of grossing people out.

I have kickboxing class three nights a week. Before class, I usually eat a little snack to stave off the hunger pangs until dinnertime.

Today's snack is boiled peanuts. These were raw peanuts boiled for something like 3 hours in salted water, until they are nice and mushy. Boiled nuts are pretty common in Malaysia, and I hear, also appreciated in the South.

i11433.jpg

Gotta rush to my class now.

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Century eggs are also great as an appetitzer. :blink:

The egg is sliced into 4 or 6 sections, and eaten with pickled ginger.

Some equate the taste to rubber tires. . .

I love these eggs too! They are quite popular in Japan (here they are called piitan) and are normally served appetizer stuler with just soem soy sauce. You can find them in the "other Asia" section of supermarkets, it is definitely an acquired taste, it took me about 7 years!

Can't wait to hear more....

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Great blog so far Laksa.

Looking forward to seeing what an Aussie burger looks like when constructed in the states. (Will yours have a pineapple ring?)

Do you miss much about Australia now that you live over there - the Laksa for instance??

Can't wait to see you make something edible out of those dried headless fish :unsure:

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I was just being a tourist in Banjarmasin, back when touristing in Indonesia was more feasible. I remember the early morning floating market best. All the food was sold and traded from one boat to another. It was wild.

As one who loves congee, I'm interested in learrning how to make it in the rice cooker. Would Mrs. Laksa provide a little more detail?

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I'm looking forward to this! I have an old friend from Kota Kinabalu (he left for lunch one day and decided to fly to New Zealand for the rest of his life instead of heading back to the office...). He's often told me how his family back in Sabah complain that he hasn't brought his kids up right, because they can't take spicy food!

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To quell the doubts of any unbelievers, those little dried anchovies are absolutely delicious! Admittedly, they're an acquired taste, but they're delicious nonetheless. Soba can correct me if I'm wrong, but my family usually eats them plain dipped in a mix of cane vinegar that's flavoured with crushed garlic, chilies and a bit of salt. Accompanied by rice to compensate for all that salt. Dear husband has absolutely forbidden me to fry them in the house due to the godforsaken smell, so I'm relegated to only eating them in the warmer months when I can use the gas burner on our barbecue. However, he then claims that the fumes will cause all the squirrels and birds within a 10-mile radius to drop out of the trees...

Can't wait to read more of this blog and see what you do with those anchovies. More power to you and Mrs. Laksa!

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I'm not Malaysian but I wouldn't doubt you for a second. :wink:

My grandma likes to fry bagoong (which can be either fermented shrimp paste or fermented anchovy paste) in oil, with a HUGE amount of crushed garlic. One teaspoon will flavor an entire bowl of rice. We like to have this as a condiment to go along with kari-kari (peanut, vegetable and oxtail stew).

Soba

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