it’s day one of puasa and i’m nursing a cold. oh well. better now than later. had fish and chips for berbuka. not up to fixing something in the kitchen. need my aspirin and paracetamol/decongestant cocktail, a little music and the duvet. that’ll do the trick.

it’s days like this that make me think of home-cooked food. buka puasa at home also would include kuihs bought from the guy in front of ravoof anuar (his seri muka is zhangggg!), and sirap with biji selasih (aka telur katak… hehe). i guess everyone will claim their own mother would be the best cook in the universe. damn right, too. however, since my mother’s passing, the culinary baton was unofficially passed to my brother when it comes to providing the gastronomic delights at mealtimes. over the years, i’d say he has clinched our late mom’s style of cooking. nowadays, whenever i get home to kl, i’m in for a treat. so, coronary arteries, watch out! we do still eat out, but with the thought of health(ier) eating in mind, doing it oneself is so much better. it’s cheaper to boot, especially when one lives in kl.

i also found that dad’s not too bad in the kitchen himself. he’s a dab hand at making us goreng pisang for afternoon tea. downed with teh O, it’ll make my day. over here in blighty, i just can’t nail the goreng pisang recipe (even with the adabi batter!) as the common or garden embun-type bananas from central america that they have at the supermarket just doesn’t do it (so i say). they aren’t as sweet as the raja or abu, and they seem to soak the oil making ’em ever so fragile. i usually end up making cokodok. i remembered mashing them by hand in my frugal student days, and after being found out by my mom who then sarcastically commented over the phone, “mmm… sedaaaap“. i haven’t lenyek-ed them the same way ever since. hehe.

as for myself, i usually cook the real basic malay fare, or look it up in a book. standard malay cooking for students 101. when i really can’t be arsed, those bottled pastes of rogan josh or creole sauce would do me fine. and when i am really desperate, i experiment. not in creating newly-fangled haute cuisine, but trying to create dishes that one otherwise buys at the pasar malam (which i have a penchant for). i’ve bastardised a buttermilk pancake recipe once to make apam balik, to no avail (can lah… with some imagination). but one d-i-y dish i’m really proud of is my home-made murtabak.

i know that the murtabak is simply an overglorified omelette, so i would beat up an egg with loads of onion and add in some leftover lamb/chicken/beef curry; then goreng. my then housemate recommended that we should use popiah skins as a substitute for the roti canai dough. and it worked like a charm. six years later, i tried it again. i happened to have made a curry out of mince lamb over the weekend. fry it with a couple dashes of the extra virgin in the frying pan. it’ll even look like your run-of-the-mill murtabak, i assure you. and for some funny reason, the popiah skin does have the bog standard murtabak skin consistency and doesn’t actually become garing like the popia goreng.

i had to have more than one. in fact, i had four. with teh tarik.

they do say necessity is the mother of invention.