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Rotiboy Coffee Bun

23 Aug

The Rotiboy Coffee Bun (Photo courtesy: Freddie)

Yes, it’s official. I’m still reeling from the fact that I am no longer in Malaysia *sigh*. Nevertheless, I think it’s only fair to share with the world, the fond memories I have of the people, food and culture of Malaysia.

There are four food smells that always work up your appetite, when you’re in Malaysia.

1. Famous Amos Cookies
2. J Co. Donuts
3. Saint Cinnamon Classic Chocolate Cinnabons
4. Rotiboy’s “downright-amazing-and-freshly-baked” Coffee Buns.

If you travelled to Malaysia and didn’t try EACH of these… you need a solid refund!

Nevertheless, today I’m going to talk about Rotiboy’s Coffee Buns. Available at all the Rotiboy outlets perforating Kaula Lumpur, my favourite outlet was the one at the magnificent Petronas Towers Shopping Mall… Suria KLCC. Petronas Towers… you might’ve heard of them. If not…here they are…on the map.

I still remember, as soon as you enter KLCC, you’re welcomed by the heavenly smell of coffee. For someone who gets migranes because of coffee, it’s bad news. But this smell is different. It’s the smell of fresh coffee, sugar, cream and butter. And of course, my favourite smell in the world… freshly baked bread. If I were given the chance, I’d love to set up my very own business of baked goodies…I’m guessing that’s what heaven would smell like. Anyway, I remember, on my way back from work, I’d queue up for 30 minutes, to grab two coffee buns, which used to be for approximately RM2.0 each, which is like less than a dollar. I’d watch the “rotiboys and rotigirls” work behind counters, envying them for being able to put smiles on so many faces.

The bun itself is quite big, albeit light and fluffy. Ond bite into the deep brown bun, and you’d break through the fragile yet crisp surface. The bun, as dark as it is on the outside, is almost a light tone of nude on the inside. It’s so fluffy that you can almost press the entire bun within the palm of you hand. But if you do so, how else would you enjoy it’s light, yet absolutely divine texture. The wafer-thin crust, the soft interior that smells like butter yet tastes like coffee *sigh*!

Rotiboy Coffee Bun is one of the best baked items found in Malaysia. The Buttermilk Boy is another favourite. Those who’ve tried it will nod in agreement…and those who haven’t…well…tsk tsk.

RECIPE: Ayam Kicap (Soya Sauce Chicken)

22 Aug

I know It doesn't look great, but believe me... it tastes awesome!

Finally…. I cooked Ayam Kicap over the weekend. I didn’t think it fair to upload a recipe of something I hadn’t recently made. The last two times that I made it, my sister was the only one who wasn’t a believer in the wholesome goodness of Ayam Kicap. But when I cooked it last night, she too turned *yeahee me!* So here it is…

Ingredients

  • One whole chicken (with skin), cut into 8 pieces. You can go with skinless if you like.
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • Salt to taste (This recipe makes use of concentrated  soya sauce, which is quite salty… so please be careful)
  • 1tbsp ginger (chopped)
  • 1tbsp garlic (chopped)
  • 4tbsp onions (chopped)
  • 2 medium-sized onions (cut into thick rings)
  • 4 tbsp white sugar or 3tbsp brown sugar
  • 1tbsp vinegar
  • 6tbsp thick soya sauce. If you don’t have the thick kind, just reduce a cup of the regular soya sauce over low heat. I did this, much to the dismay of everyone at home (everything smelled like soya sauce)… but it was worth it.

Instructions

  • Massage the chicken with salt and tumeric. Heat a cup of cooking oil and fry the pieces until they’re golden and well cooked.
  • Remove the chicken from the oil and let it rest on the side. In the same oil, add the chopped onions, garlic and ginger. Cook till brown.
  • Add the chicken and cook some more. Add about a cup of water and reduce. The onion, garlic and ginger mixture should have a paste-like consistency.
  • Add the soya sauce and cook well. Now add the sugar and vinegar and cook some more. This is where the advantage of using chicken with skin comes in. Its texture, upon being caramelized, is what makes the difference.
  • At this point, the chicken will be slightly brown and dry. Add another cup of water and when you get the required consistency, then add the onion rings.
  • Let it cook for a while, then remove from flame and serve. I usually like the chicken to be slightly dark, gleaming with oil and smelling sweet. You could add more water, but that softens the chicken, completely undoing the crunchy texture. So I would advise against it.

Enjoy and let me know how it turns out for you.

RECIPE: Ais Kacang (Malaysian shaved ice)

18 Aug

Photo credit: ecofrenone.wordpress.com

For this recipe, it’s an absolute must that you have an ice shaving machine.

You need:

As much shaved ice as you want :P. But please make sure it’s made from clean water.

For the syrups
Go nuts with as many concentrates as you like, as long as the favours go well together. My suggestions are :

  • Rooh Afza
  • Ice cream soda juice concentrate
  • Condensed milk

The best part:

  • Coursely pureed mango bits
  • Canned, unflavoured red beans
  • Canned sweet corn, cream-style
  • Different flavour grass jelly, cut into small pieces (I would suggest that you don’t substitute grass jelly with normal jelly. The latter has very solid flavours, unlike those in grass jelly, which has more mild flavours that don’t overpower the ABC)
  • Vanilla flavoured ice cream
  • Roasted and chopped peanuts
  • Finely sliced and roasted bananas

Method:

Just throw everything as you like and eat as soon as you can, without getting a brain-freeze :P! Also, don’t churn the ice and the toppings/syrups together… it’s not a stew!

Ais Kacang/ABC

18 Aug

When I was living in Malaysia, one of my many guilty pleasures was the infamous coolant, Ais Kacang (pronounced “Kachaang”), which is Bahasa Indonesia or Bahasa Melayu for Ice Beans. Many people recognise it as flavoured shaved ice, but unlike the shaved ice available in Pakistan (or gola ganda), Ais Kacang is a revelation to most foreigners.

One of the first things that hit you when you eat anything in Malaysia, is that the food here is ALWAYS sweet. Even it’s Nasi Biryani (or as we Pakistanis plainly call it, Biryani), there is a hint of sweetness in it. This is of course, because the local palate is accustomed to sweet food, which, considering my unhealthy and positively abysmal craving for sweets, is not a bad thing. The second culinary shock that we Pakistanis would receive is the fact that Malays like to have Red Beans as dessert. For my Malaysian friends, of course, I was the shock-bearer when I told them that we have red bean curry. I’m guessing they haven’t heard of the traditional full English breakfast either (which is also my favourite, minus the beans… which I am allergic to).

Anyway, coming back to Ais Kacang… so yeah, I first found out about Ais Kacang on my second trip to Malaysia in 2006. After spending many hours trying to figure out the public transport system, my mom, my sister and I found ourselves in Mid-Valley, now one of my favourite malls in Malaysia (mainly because I have such bitter-sweet memories of the place). For those who have never been to Malaysia, but intend to go there, it’s pretty easy on the map:

On the top floor of the mall, is the food court, which served me my very first Ais Kacang. Initially, it looked to me like regular shaved ice, with various toppings thrown in together. But to my delight, there’s so much more to an Ais Kacang than mere shaved ice, and flavoured concentrates. Buried at the bottom of the bowl is a spectrum of interesting flavours that only the culinary daredevils would experiment with in Pakistan. There is the bright yellow of the creamy sweet corn, the deep purple of the cincau (pronounced “chin-chaw”), which I now know is grass jelly. Add to that some pureed mango pulp, nata de coco, red beans and peanuts. The shaved ice above is topped off with heaped spoonfuls of what lies beneath it, as well as some ice cream, multi-coloured concentrates and condensed milk.

Yes, I know… it sounds like a dieter’s disaster, but I think it’s such a comforting sight to see such colours and flavours brought together in such harmony… that a bowl of ABC is extremely difficult to pass. It’s like a work of art that you can see, smell and taste. Perhaps, I will soon upload Here’s a recipe for those interested.

For those who haven’t been to Malaysia… I don’t want to sound all dark and everything, but it’s one of the places you simply must visit at least once before you die. The beauty of Malaysia, can never be truly captured in a blog. You have to see it, and be surrounded by it, to believe it.

UPDATE: Yes, am still allergic to red beans… but that doesn’t stop me from having ABC. I delegate a family member/friend to finish the bean-y bit 😛

Ayam Kicap (Soya Sauce Chicken)

17 Aug

Photo courtesy: Fun-Travel-Malaysia.com

Last year, my beautiful friend Freddie and I went on a trip to Malaysia for two weeks. There’s one word to describe that vacation… ‘Magical’. Magical because it marked many firsts of our lives. It was the…

  • First time Freddie and I had been together for so long since our college days (we used to be roomies).
  • First heavy expense since we both started earning.
  • First time I was going on a self-financed trip with a friend.
  • First time I used a credit card online.
  • First time I watched a movie in 3D.
  • First time I went on a night jungle-walk.
  • First time I saw a field mouse in my hotel bedroom.
  • First time I flew Air Asia.
  • First time I rode a jet ski.
  • First time I went so deep into the sea.
  • First time I went inside a bat cave.
  • First time I walked a canopy bridge.

So you see, it was a special time for me. This was the first time I was doing everything on my own expenses…it was an adrenaline rush. Nevertheless, I should clarify that it wasn’t my first time in Malaysia. It wasn’t even my second, or third, or fourth. Long story short… I had been to Malaysia several times before, but this time I experienced a lot of new things.

I still remember, it was our first day in Taman Negara, which is Malay for National Forest, and we had just been on a bus for almost 5 hours and on a boat for another one.

This is where we were:

We were exhausted and absolutely famished. Finally we reached our home for the next two nights. It was a beautiful resort, with a bunch of wooden huts in the wilderness. For us city girls, this was as exciting as it could get. Here we were, in the middle of nowhere, with absolute strangers, in what was one of the thickest and oldest rain forests in the world. Now that I think of it, it’s scary; but back then, it was awesome.

Our cabin at Taman Negara

Anyway, after a somewhat dramatic entrance into our motel room (involving fat lizards, my reluctance to touch anything in the room or enter the shower, and freddie pulling our beds AWAY from the walls),  freddie & I cleaned up. We were supposed to be at the Mama Chop Floating Restaurant after dinner. This was our group’s assembling point. Dinner was supposed to be at the resort.

Photo Courtesy: Muffledsolitude.com

So there we were, all set to be fed to the fill, when’ we were greeted by a not-so-appetizing-looking Chicken dish. For a chicken lover like me, that’s saying something, but considering how hungry I was, I could have eaten my friend if I had to. Anyway, the dish was Ayam Kicap… and believe you me, it was amazing. Never before have I tasted something that looked so unappealing yet tasted soooo good.

Photo courtesy: Linapg.blogspot.com

Ayam Kicap (pronounced “Kichaap”) or Soya Sauce Chicken is a purely chicken and onion dish, which, from the looks of it, kinda reminded me of the Bengali dish, Murgh Dopiaza (that means Chicken with Onions). However, the taste is quite different. The dish, like most Malaysian food, is kind of sweet; most prominent flavours being of the rustic, earthy brown sugar, some thick sweet soya sauce, garlic and a bite of vinegar. Onions, in this dish, unlike in Pakistani cuisine, are not halved, finely sliced and fried until golden brown. They are cut into thick onion rings that can withstand the entire cooking process. The chicken, at the end, tastes almost as though it has been caramelised… which is NEVER a bad thing. The dish was accompanied by the staple Malaysian side dishes… nasi goreng (fried rice) and sauteéd vegetables. We thoroughly enjoyed everything on the table, my favourite part being when I would mix some vegetable stock from the sauteéd veggies, with the rice and chicken…and gorge on a mouthful. Though we were in the wild, everything was serene at that moment.

So, while we had much to complain about (in the context of our room), when our group assembled at Mama Chop’s, we had nothing but good things to say about the meal that made up for everything else.

Note to self, must plan a girls-only trip again!

UPDATE: Just remembered, I cooked Ayam Kicap twice after returning to Pakistan. Needless to say, it was great. Will upload recipe and original camera shots soon.

Photo courtesy for un-captioned images: Freddie Kruger