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eG Foodblog: Laksa - Wild man of Borneo


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Laksa in da house!

These blogs just get better and better, don't y'all agree?

I'm practically crazy-glued to my computer, don't want to miss further episodes of

the adventures of Wild Man.

Great blog, wongste!

Yetty CintaS

I am spaghetttti

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Thanks to everyone for the encouragement.

I am going to get around to all the questions. First, let me show you what I had for dinner.

The country pork ribs have been marinating in plum sauce, soy sauce, both light and dark, shaoxing wine and sugar for 24 hours. The marinade is on the sweet side, but you could use less sugar or leave it out altogether to suit your taste.


After that, it's into a 450 F oven for about half an hour on a tray or rack so the liquid will drain off. Turn them over and brown the other side under the broiler for the last 10 mins.


Mrs Laksa made a dipping sauce from cincalok (pronounced like chin-char-lock), a Malaysian sauce made from fermented tiny baby shrimps.

The dipping sauce recipe:

4 tablespoons cincalok

1 shallots, sliced finely

juice from 1 lime

sliced Thai chillies


Cincalok is powerful stuff, incredibly pungent and salty, strong enough to ward off evil spirits, I firmly believe. It's a taste I am yet to conquer, I'm sad to report, but Mrs Laksa always keeps a bottle close by.

A cucumber salad made from thinly shaved cucumber slices and dressed in mirin, sugar, light soy, salt, chillies and sesame oil rounds off the meal:


For dessert, a ripe and juicy piece of fruit:


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bleudauvergne: I only ever eat the century eggs with congee, never with anything else. It has become a force of habit. If I have dim sum, I'm compelled to order "pei dan sau yok jok" or congee with pork and century egg. It's like I was hypnotized and the hypnotist has forgotten to snap me out of it.

SG-: I can only speak for Sarawak, I know very little about Sabah food. Apparently they make a killer buffalo soup noodle there but I've never had it. I think Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia in general have much in common food-wise, but there are certain dishes that you can only find in Sarawak. These unique dishes are either Dayak-influenced (the Dayak are the people who are indigenous to Sarawak and Borneo), like whole pig barbequed in a hole in the ground and Umai; or influenced by the predominance of the Foochow immigrants in Sibu and Bintulu, like "kampua mien", a pork lard noodle that is the breakfast staple of every foochow I know. Umai and Laksa recipes will be posted with the pictures, I promise. :biggrin:

misgabi: Oh, I totally forgot about the pineapple! Thanks for reminding me. I wonder how they could fit so much inside a bun! Believe it or not, the things I miss most about Melbourne is this place you could go for congee at 3 am. Even at that time the place would be packed!

Abra: Mrs Laksa has just signed up for her own eGullet account. She's very protective of her recipes, so I'd better let her post it herself. :biggrin:

helenjp: that is the strangest thing I've heard! Your friend might well be the original Wild Man of Borneo.

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horse pee in 1000 year old eggs?

I thought it was a mixture of lime and sulphur - I used to watch (not too closely, spying not encouraged) as they were prepared at the Chinese grocery where I worked part-time as a student.

As for the original wild man of Borneo's sudden departure from his island paradise...I recall the words "horse doping" featured in the explanation somewhere...

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cold shower time

:laugh::laugh: Hey, I learn from the best, right Yetti?

If the camera thinks the peach is pornographic, who am I to argue? All I do is press the shutter. :wink:

Transparent: I'm not a violator of peaches. This peach happens to be the "freestone" variety (as opposed to clingstone), so it separates easily once you cut it in half. One half gets the pit, the other doesn't. Works as a wishbone for vegetarians.

helenjp: let me guess... would the Wild Man now by any chance be a valued resource in the New Zealand horse racing industry?

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Ok folks, I'm sorry that you have to witness this. I'm going to show you what I had for breakfast.

General Mill's Fiber One bran cereal

One serving has 57% of your recommended daily fiber intake.


I know what you're thinking, "are you out of your mind? How can anything with that much fiber taste any good?". Of course you're right. I could be eating the cardboard box the cereal comes in and won't know the difference.

How do I get it down, I hear you ask. Mix it with cocoa puffs!

Now it's more tolerable. Hey, the wild man needs his fiber, and he will stop at nothing to get it!

Incidentally, the cocoa puffs are the new-fangled 75% less sugar type. It still tastes just as sweet because they use Splenda (sucralose) in place of the sugar.

Bran cereal with cocoa puffs. Enjoy!


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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?

Abra, when cooking congee in a rice cooker, nothing needs to be exact. :cool: The rough guideline is 7 parts water to 1 part rice. If your cooker is big enough, you can add all the water in the beginning of cooking. Otherwise you can add less in the beginning, and add the rest in the middle of cooking to avoid bubbling over. Overall, it is always safer to add more water than too little.

These were what went into my rice cooker: 1.5 rice-cups of rice + 7 rice-cups of water. Turn the cooker on to "Cook". Cooking time is 1 hour.

After turning the cooker on, prepare pork balls.

- ½ lb ground pork

- ½ tablespoon white pepper powder

- ½ tablespoon ginger powder

- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce

- salt

Shape ground pork into clumps of ½" diameter.

After 30 minutes into cooking, stir congee about a bit so that it cooks evenly. Add more water as required (2 or 3 rice-cups) at this point. Added seasoning directly into the cooker:

- ½ tablespoon white pepper powder

- 1" sliced fresh ginger root

- 2 sliced reconstituted dry shitake mushrooks

- drizzle of sesame oil

- salt

After another 15 mins, dropped the pork balls into the pot. Stir to distribute evenly. Congee is ready to eat in 15 minutes time.

If the rice cooker settings turned to "Keeping Warm", put it back into "Cooking" setting. Although it didn't happen to my rice-cooker, you should rely on your own judgement, and not the automatic indicator.

Congee cooked in rice cooker will not burn, unlike that in a stock pot, provided there is plenty of liquid. A non-stick rice cooker has the advantage of no solid crust forming at the bottom of the pot.

Water can be substituted with broth for more flavor.

p/s: For the benefit of readers unfamiliar with cooking rice, 1 rice cup = 3/4 regular 8oz cup. The rice cup comes with the rice cooker.

p/s: Like Post-It Notes, this method was developed by accident. When learning to cook rice at age 11, I added too much water when cooking rice. :sad: Luckily all was not lost as the result was congee. :smile::smile:

Have fun!

Ms Congeeniality aka Mrs Laksa

Edited by Ms Congeeniality (log)
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Ms Congeeniality, thank you and welcome!

Although this may be a stupid question, I have never made congee and only eaten it a time or two -- what kind/variety of rice should one use?


Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Ms Congeeniality, thank you and welcome!

Although this may be a stupid question, I have never made congee and only eaten it a time or two -- what kind/variety of rice should one use?


Jake, any long-grain variety will work. We use Thai Jasmine rice that is widely available in Asian groceries.

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Team blogging. I love this.

Will we get his and hers perspectives?

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I'm loving your blog, Laksa! But a question: why are the heads being snipped off the anchovies? It's the first time I've ever seen that... I eat them whole, heads and all. :raz:

Thanks! That's a very good question. (Whenever I say that, it means that I don't know the answer :biggrin: ). My mum has always taken the heads off, and she takes the guts out also.

Congee, did you take out the guts out of those achovies?

And you can also buy those achovies without the heads, so I just assumed...

Maybe someone more knowledgeable than I can shed some light. Is it possible that there might be more mercury in the heads? I'm grasping here... :unsure:

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I'm loving your blog, Laksa! But a question: why are the heads being snipped off the anchovies? It's the first time I've ever seen that... I eat them whole, heads and all.  :raz:

Thanks! That's a very good question. (Whenever I say that, it means that I don't know the answer :biggrin: ). My mum has always taken the heads off, and she takes the guts out also.

Congee, did you take out the guts out of those achovies?

And you can also buy those achovies without the heads, so I just assumed...

Maybe someone more knowledgeable than I can shed some light. Is it possible that there might be more mercury in the heads? I'm grasping here... :unsure:

Well, my mum has always taken the heads off too. Before they were available headless (in Malaysia), my sister and I used to gut & snip them every Chinese New Year, whereby Mum would fry them up as treats.

Sometimes we also stir-fry anchovies with vege (eg. cucumber or cabbage). In that case, we leave the heads intact. Then again, we won't eat the anchovies, because it will be flavorless already; all the flavor went into the dish.

I feel the gut/head is slightly bitter. Does anybody else feel the same?

Edited by Ms Congeeniality (log)
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I was getting really hungry around 11:30am today, and I started contemplating what to have for lunch. I could have some of last night's leftover BBQ pork, or ...

I could get some curry from that Indian grocer I posted about earlier! An excellent opportunity to show some pictures of that. (Any excuse to get some curry, any excuse will do).

Here's the front of the shop:


Cool, they have dosa today, but I really felt like having some rice though. In addition to the dosa, there's a choice of a vegetarian paneer (Indian cheese curd), or a non-veg. chicken curry lunch, which was what I chose.

While waiting for the lunch to be boxed, I noticed these very odd looking vegetables:


They are bitter gourds, but a tad smaller and a whole lot spikier than the Chinese ones I'm used to seeing. They look really really good, and I wanted to get some but alas, we're planning the Tuna Mornay casserole tonight and bitter gourd just doesn't quite go with that. Another day perhaps.

The lunch is served in simple styrofoam container, which utterly belies the princely feast contained within:


Oh baby! For $4.50, you can eat like a king. There's chicken curry, peas and paneer in a (different tasting) curry sauce, lentil curry (different flavor again), basmati rice, with shallots, mango and hot chillies on the side, and as if that's not enough, a nice warm piece of pratha.

The style is a lot more Indian home-cooking, in my opinion. The curries are not as rich (or heavy with ghee) as what I've seen at Indian restaurants. The flavors are straightforward, but comforting and satisfying nonetheless.

As you probably know by now, I'm a greedy pig, so I ordered a samosa as well:


I have a suspicion that their samosas weren't "home-made" like their lunches, but came from somewhere else. They are saltier and a lot spicier than the curries.

I've had very enjoyable Indian sweets before, and I thought it's about time to treat myself to it again. These came from Rajbhog Sweets, in Flushing, NY (that's what the label says).


I have absolutely no clue what each one of them is called. I could fit only two in after that heavy lunch -- they are pretty rich -- but they taste predominantly of coconut. That's in contrast to those I got from Moghul Express in Edison, NJ a couple of months ago, which tasted more of pistachios.

The coconut theme is surprising as I would've equated that more with Southern Indian cuisine. From the label, I get the impression that Rajbhog specializes in Bengali sweets. If memory serves, Bengal is in Northern India. But heck, I am certainly no expert on Indian food. I just eat the stuff, dude! :raz:

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Team blogging.  I love this. 

Will we get his and hers perspectives?

There's actually eGullet precedent.

Fat Guy's blog certainly wasn't absent of the presence of his wife Ellen Shapiro, and slkinsey (Sam to his enemies!) is a matched set with bergerka (the lovely and talented Kathleen). Of course, these blogs have gotten a lot more ambitous since those early days, back when we had no image uploading capability. :raz:

Thank for this guys, it's always a kick to see this perspective.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Lunch was cleared away many hours ago. Dinner hasn't yet started. Your blood sugar level is on a downward trend. It's Friday afternoon and your mind has already drifted into the weekend.

Let's snack!

Here's what I'm having today for a quick pick-me-up:


Clockwise from the top left we have white sesame candy, mung bean cookie, black sesame candy, and my all time favorite candy, crushed peanut candy that flakes and crumbles in your mouth. This one has just a mere hint of sweetness, but intense peanut flavor. Don't leave it out though, especially on a muggy August afternoon in NY, as it'll suck moisture from the air and become completely soggy.

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Damn, I love sesame candy, and don't have any! Ms. Congeeniality (great name!) thanks so much for the recipe. It's looks so easy and delicious, especially with some chili oil. It's fun, having two bloggers in one.

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Uh oh...crushed peanut candy...I haven't had that in YEARS!

I used to love it when I was a kid. The only problem was how to eat it without having it disintegrate into a pile of powder in your hand :biggrin:

Hmm...it's a Friday...I suppose I can sneak out of work a little early to go shopping... :raz:

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What's better than coming home from work and seeing that dinner is well under way? Okay, this is a trick question. What is better is seeing dinner all cooked and ready to eat, hahaha! :laugh:

But I'd told Ms Congee not to put the Tuna Mornay in the oven yet 'cause I need to take photos!

Here's the recipe that she uses for the Tuna Mornay:


Tuna Mornay is down-home Australian cooking. Comfort food in the vein of mac and cheese, but with tuna!

Ms Congee putting the final touches to the dish:


The beginnings of a tomato, onion and avocado salad:


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