Sunday, November 30, 2008

Feastication IV. The Art of Cake Layering

kek lapis sarawak1Kek Lapis Sarawak or its translation, Sarawak Layered Cake.
Roll over and/or click on images for more hd visual:)

If you said you have seen layered cake, you have not seen enough just yet. These cakes you see above are a well known art by cake bakers from Sarawak, Borneo. I would say, its the Art of Constructing & deConstructing Layered Cake. They are not only beautiful, but deliciously moist and flavorful. These are only a few of many you can see during festive seasons all across Sarawak, Malaysia.

I have experienced the painstaking detail (to me) and its tedious process of making this type of cake. Mixing the ingredients, eggs, lots of them, butter, sugar, flour, then comes the spices or color, depending on what you will flavor your cake. The lists are endless. Then come layering it, one at a time making sure the cake is not over baked or over steamed. yes, some of the recipes requires only steaming. yummm...

Now, the even more creative professional bakers made it even more complicated, like one you see above. As for me? I just layered them plain. Nothing special at all. Blah! They, the professional Kek Lapis bakers, will be constructing it like as if they would weave a mat. I bet Martha Stewart have not seen anything like this yet!:) Making these cakes was, I think a few baking experience that I have not done for a long while.

Those in the pictures above and below, no, I did not make those. These pictures are taken from one of my sister's house during the Eid. I have to ask my sister what they named these cakes, yes, they have names, as creative as the cake itself. All of them, are oh so yummy! Just watch your weight as these cakes do not skim out on ingredients. No, M'am! Eat at your own risk as you can never stop. These are serious cakes! Seriously!:)

kek lapis sarawak2
Layered cakes were first introduced to Sarawak by the Indonesian who layered their cake with ground spices, which was introduced to the Indonesian by the Dutch during its colony. Spekkoek. A Thousand Layer Spice Cake.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

BananaRama- I run for bananas!

Pisang Keling aka Pisang Rastali
Pisang Keling aka Pisang Rastali Pictured above are Pisang Keling or Pisang Rastali.

Pisang. Banana in English. These are fruits that most love and some may not like. I love, love bananas. I started to learn the different names when I was a "banana runner" for my late Great grandmother. She would ask me to run to the small stall to get bananas just for her. Hmm...I love running errands for my mom, running back and forth just for for fun of it. As a 7-8 year old, what the heck. My mom said to obey the elders so I did. In my mind, I would get my "fruitful" reward:)

My great grandmother says bananas. I run! To the stall of course. She would say, "Get me Pisang Madu" - Honey Banana, a small pinky finger sized banana that is super sweet. As sweet as honey. Hence the name. Or Pisang Keling (Pisang Rastali in Bahasa Melayu ) a dark dotted banana which is almost with a slight tartness to it, my other favorite, or Pisang Embun (Embun is Dew in Malay) the closest to most banana species sold in most supermarkets around the world. Then there is Pisang Otel (Pisang Lemak Manis in B. Melayu with English direct translation as Creamy & Sweet Banana) my true favorite. It's small & sweet. Smooth yellow skin, when ripe with a green tip and almost has its own sweet fragrance.

Pisang Pisang.
This banana mostly use for baking, is very good for Cekodok Pisang - fried banana dumpling. Made with just flour, mashed banana & a pinch of salt fried to perfection & Lepat Pisang - a banana kueh, made with mashed ripe banana with flour and a bit sugar and sometimes with grated coconut, wrapped in banana leaves, steamed till cooked. Yes, Add a pinch of salt to enhance the sweetness of this fruit.

Pisang Nangka
- A banana species that taste like that of Nangka - Jackfruit. Interesting enough. Pisang Tandok (Plantain) - Tandok/Tanduk is Horn in Malay as most of these bananas are the size of a water buffalo horns. It is mainly use for cooking, frying will be best. Fried ripe plantain, where its sugar caramelized when fried, oozing through the crunchy fried flour batter. You can see small stalls selling these in the afternoon near roadsides and do ask for Pisang Goreng (Fried Banana.)
Pisang Mas - Sweet but not as good as Pisang Otel to my taste bud, also known as Baby Banana in most Western supermarkets.
Pisang Kapok
(Pisang Kapas in B Melayu & kapas is cotton in Malay) Like that of Plantain and Pisang Pisang, this is best for cooking and be made into fried banana.

There are about 9 names of bananas that I knew and can differentiate when I run banana errands for my late great grandmother. I thank her for this knowledge she had given me, yet I know, even after all these errands, she do not like me much. I assumed of my mischievousness :)
Pisang Otel aka Pisang Lemak ManisPisang Otel aka Pisang Lemak ManisPictured above are Pisang Otel or Pisang Lemak Manis.

Feastication III: Fruits & more Food.

Roll over and/or click on images for more:)
Day 11th. Eid 9th day. Thursday. I was browsing real fast yesterday at the Market when I spotted these. Chempedak. So I thought. Opened them up and oh how I cannot wait to get my hands on these big succulent fruit! Sweet and juicy! hmm..its a bit different but who cares. Its good! Shove it to my sisters face to let her get a taste. she is not too keen on chempedak unless its made into a fritter. Fritter or fresh, I am diggin' it! She got a taste and said, " its Cenangka. A mixture of Cempedak and Nangka."
Delicious mix breed of Cempedak and Nangka - Cenangka"Oof..whaaaa?!Wahaaaat?! hmm..oh yummm....whatever! its good anyway you name it " The aroma of both this super sweet fruit was as mix as the breed. Cempedak is known to be mushy but sweet and Nangka, very sweet and crunchy. a mix even made it better:) I cannot complain. How do I describe this fruit? It almost have an aroma of Mango when its ripe with an almost a mix of vanilla and mango. The fruit itself are amazing. How it holds all those fruit within a fruit and what I meant is that the fruit holds the fleshy (the part that you eat) covered seeds in a casing that should be an inspiration for most fragile product packaging design. Click on the image for a more detail picture and drool:)

Brunch at Sri Shan Curry & Such.
Sri Shan Curry & SuchThis place screams Yummy Good Food! Indian food to be exact. Ahhh...Putu Mayam. My, how I long for this dessert cum breakfast food:) Clean noodle created from rice flour steamed and sprikled with fresh grated coconut and sugar. Oh, how my sweet palette dance with glee. It is such a delectable dessert. Next come Vadai. A fritter made of Dhal - yellow lentilof the legume family, mixed with chilli, cumin, onion and other goodness and spices.

Then, Thosai or Dosai to some. A flat almost crispy yet soft bread served with coconut chutney and curry. My father & I went with the plain. My mother didn't come along as she is fasting today. Bummer:( My sister with something that sounds more interesting than mine. Dosai with Planta (margarine) and sugar. Then my other sister, Dosai Vege. What? did I miss all the goodness? Those two are so good! Anyone who orders Dosai, do the Vege and Planta & Sugar. Oh so good! Even dipped with Curry! Fish Curry to be exact. Man...I miss so much all these time.Wash this all down with Teh Tarik! hmmm...should I write more or let you discover this yourself. This place offers more than what I wrote above.

Sri Shan Curry & Such
No. 383, Persiaran Ban Hock,
93100 Kuching
Sarawak, Malaysia.
Tel: 6082-244118, 6082-421008

Feastication II: Food & more food!

Mee Jawa at Syn Nam HuiRoll over and/or click on images for more:)
Day 10th. Eid 8th day. Wednesday. Its Mee Jawa time. One of my many favorite noodle. How it came to be a well known Sarawak or Kuching dish to be exact, I have to find out more, but I know the source to this noodle comes from Island of Java, hence the name " Mee Jawa - Java Noodle." Indonesian who had resided in Borneo, brought with them this wonderful sweet, savory and a bit on a spicy note to its gravy.

How should I describe more of this unbelievable mixture of Noodle meet Satay? Its yellow noodle with boiled eggs, Chinese celery, sliced fried tofu, fried onion, sliced chillies as garnishing & gravy to die for! The gravy made with base of sweet potatoes or yam, to some part of the globe, that makes this gravy different from most. It is a little bit spicy with a slight light curry taste but not crazy too spicy to kill your appetite for this delicious sweet & savory, exotic dish. Topped it with Satay, a sweet & savory, spiced, herbed, grilled marinated chicken or beef on a stick or both and you can have them on the side, if you like. When I said, topped with satay, meaning, the satay sauce (peanut sauce) goes with it, mixed with the Mee Jawa gravy. Oh yummm..should I describe more or should you get it yourself?

My favorite place and also to most who knows this is one is Syn Nam Hui on Main Bazaar, in Kuching. Across Kuching Waterfront close to the Big Chinese Temple. You won't miss it. You do have to be patient as it is the best in town, unless if anyone else knows of one that I may not.

Grilling SataySatay is serve here and this goes fast and you too have to be quick to order! Patience is key to happy tummy! This place is happening! I really think this is the place my friend Jean was saying:) Thanks Jean:)