Monday, April 18, 2005

A Despicable Act

A few nights back, while we were watching tv in the living room, we heard a loud bang like something hit our patio door and the curtains swayed a bit maybe from the force of the hit.

I looked at B and him, me. Zareef looked at us both as asked "What's that Mummy?"

I in return, asked B "What's that Daddy?"

To which, B nonchalantly replied "Must be the wind. It's freaking howling out there."

So, we left it there.

The next morning, after returning from work, B told me not to allow Zareef to play in the garden. "Why?" , I asked.

Instead of answering, he showed me through the patio glass. This is what I saw...

The loud bang that we heard last night was actually a brick being thrown at our patio door and with it was a plastic full of shit!! I don't know what shit it was but I have a strong feeling that it was dog's shit.

I am absofcukinglutely mad at the person who did this loathsome act. B and I have a strong hunch that it must have been the job of yobs. I don't care that they tarnished my patio door but what if Zareef was playing outside at that moment and the brick hit him instead of the door?

So whoever you are who threw the brick at my patio door, may you have stinking dog shit coming out from your nostrils and your hands grew bricks so heavy that you are unable to wipe them off!!

B took a few pictures of the incident for record purposes. If it happens again, we'll lodge a police report with enough evidence to incriminate the wrongdoers.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Mee Jawa

Some have asked me for my famous Mee Jawa recipe(muahahaha... I'm such a vain pot!). So, I would like to share with you this delicious noodle recipe handed down by my arwah grandma (abah's side) to mak and now to me. Hope you'll love it as much as I do.



3 onions (bawang besar) - blended
3 tbs blended chilli
30g dried prawn - blended
2 tbs salted soya beans (tauchu) - blended
2 tins of coconut milk ( santan from 2 biji kelapa)
2 mugs of water
1 packet of egg noodle (mee kuning)
beancurd (tauhu)
fried shallots (bawang goreng)
salt and sugar


1. Fry the onions and chilli till fragrant (pecah minyak).
2. Add the dried prawns and stir till well-mixed.
3. Then add the salted soya beans (tauchu) and still till well mixed.
4. When everything is well fried up (must yield a dark red color mix), pour in the coconut milk and water.
5. Don't forget to stir often as you don't want the coconut milk to curdle.
6. Once the gravy starts to boil, turn the heat to medium and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. It it's too thick, add more water. If it's too watery, simmer till it becomes quite thick.
7. Add salt and sugar to taste. It should taste salty and sweet all at once.
8. While the gravy is simmering, boil the eggs and potatoes, celur (what's celur in English?) the beansprouts, fry the beancurds and cut the cucumber into the size of match sticks. Cut the boiled eggs into wedges or slice it (which ever way you prefer, doesn't matter), dice the boiled potates and slice the friend beancurd.
9. To eat, pour the gravy over your noodle and garnish it with the eggs, potatoes, beansprouts, cucumber, beancurd and fried shallot.
10. Slurrrppppp all the way. Ahhhhhh... sungguh nikmat rasanye, hehehhe...

Happy cooking!

Beauty or Vanity?

I had the chance to read through a woman's magazine from back home recently thanks to a friend. As I was leafing through the first 20 pages or so, I couldn't help but notice that it was dominated by beauty adverts concentrating mainly on how one can get a perfect white skin free from any markings with the aid of whitening beauty products.

What made me wonder was why the sudden surge of whitening products instead of the usual parfum, accessories and makeup line-up? Why have the magazine allowed such aggressive advertising of the same products repetitively throughout the whole magazine? Are they trying to ingrain our brain cells with the message that white is beautiful or are they desperate to achieve their monthly target sales? Have we Malaysians become ashamed of our distinctive color? Are we doing it for the sake of achieving timeless beauty or just pure vain vanity?

Our skin tone has never allowed us to be the color of pure snow (as one ad puts it) due to our genetic composition, weather, climate, geographical location and not forgetting our long ancestral lineage. We Malaysians come from a melting pot of skin colors consisting of ivory, beige, almond, mocha, cappuchino and espresso. We can never be pale like the Japanese or Koreans nor can we be white like the Caucasians.

Yes, some of us are lucky enough to have inherited beautiful fair flawless skin thanks to some super mix-ups from our ancestors. I've even heard some ridiculous notion that such skin represents wealth, stature and bloodline. What a crap!

So does that make those who are unfortunate enough to have the skin tones to the likes of mocha, cappuchino or even espresso are poor, bottomless citizens and pariahs? Are they doomed to life by having to live through the day by slathering their faces and bodies with all these whitening lotions and creams just to achieve such said conjecture? Sheesssshhh... who ever made that notion should be shot!

To me, beauty is purely skin deep. Cake yourself with all the whitening products in this world but if you have an attitude problem, you are a nobody.

I'd be lying if I say that I am not concern about beauty. I do but not to the point of it taking over my life. I want to make a good first impression with my appearance but I want to attract people more with my personality, brains, wit and humor.

I am content on being a beautiful warm mocha not needing any whitening products and not a bitchy cold white who have to slobber themselves with a paraphernalia of whitening aids everytime they go out. What about you??

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Art of Cooking

I've never been a fan of cooking until.... I came here.

In fact I hated cooking, so much so Mak never forced me into the kitchen. There was the occasional helping hand given in the form of chopping up the onions or blending the dried chillies which upon completion will see me disappearing from the kitchen. Mak got so used to my disappearing acts from the kitchen that she gave up on teaching her only daughter to cook.

One day she said "Nora, nanti dah kawin kalau tak reti masak nak makan apa?"

To which I slyly replied "Aiii Mak... kedai kan banyak. Order saje la. I think I can manage that quite well, thank you very much"

With that as my answer, Mak glared at me exasperatingly and said "What if you had to cook if your mother in law came?"

To which I replied "Ahhh... I'll just go out and buy something and popped it into the pyrex when I get home. Then, I'll present it to her like I had been slaving myself at the stove for the whole day, hehehhe"

Mak simply gave up and I was a happy lass thinking myself so bright and clever for being able to think such ingenius solutions.

But the smirk on my face didn't last long. The day I stepped my foot on white snowy Purdue Airport, I knew I couldn't rely on takeouts and there weren't any mamaks and apeks at my beck and call. The nearest Malaysian food available was in Chicago, some 2 hours drive away.

People say, necessity is the mother of invention and invented I did. I invented myself to be an amateur cook. The first time that I cooked was at Nong's apartment. I stayed at her pad for a week while waiting for Hawkin's to open up. Having stayed there and contributed nothing to the daily cooking rota, I was feeling a bit embarrassed of myself for imposing on Nong and her housemates. They didn't really expect me to cook with the jet lag and acclimatization to the weather and all but common courtesy ingrained by Mak in me was constantly making me guilty and I didn't want Nong and her housemates to judge me as freeloader and not welcome me into their house anymore.

So, I called Mak. I asked her what was the simplest dish that I could cook which will guarantee a success upon the first attempt? Before Mak bestowed her life-saving recipes, she nagged at me for not learning to cook. Why do moms always do that? It drives me crazy but since I was at her mercy, I just listened with ooo and ahh and ye lah in between.

After she had released all her fury (nahhh... I'm just kidding. She's just scared that her only daughter will starve to death for not being able to cook because she was too stubborn to learn), Mak taught me on the phone 2 simple dishes that she said "Even a blind man can cook" to which I jokingly add "Yeahh... now I'm not just blind, add dumb and deaf as well. So how?". I can hear Mak snorting across the transatlantic line. So, wise Mak dispense upon me the way to cook Instant Tom Yam and Ayam Masak Kicap.

I opted for Tom Yam since I wasn't confident enough to cook the Ayam Masak Kicap plus I had with me cubes after cubes of Tom Yam pastes. I made a one pot dish complete with chicken and veggies consisting of carrots, cauliflower and peppers. Nasib baik tau masak nasik. Kalau tak... ralat jugak. I was happy to see Nong and Co. slurping away happily my first ever Tom Yam.

What tickles me most was when I was chopping the carrots. These US carrots are darn hard! And since it was my first time, it didn't help either. I was making this very loud banging noise in the kitchen when Emi came in and said "Weih... bawak bersabar sket dgn carrot tu. Dari bawah aku boleh dengar" Aduhhhssss!!! Malunya tak tau nak cakap!!!!

A lesson well learnt indeed. Ever since then, I tirelessly called Mak every weekend and asked her for more recipes especially on my favorite sambal tumis udang. I learn to brace myself in the kitchen and try out one recipe after another, always correcting my mistakes along the way. Well, I truly learnt from my mistakes.

Then came the impending doom. It was Raya time and B and housemates wanted to hold an open house. Me being B's girlfriend at that time and the only one who can make passable dishes was given the responsibility of cooking the main dish. I was like "ARE YOU GUYS CRAZY??!!!" I accepted the challenge and faced it head on. I called Mak, again, and asked for my favorite noodle dish, Mee Jawa.

The day came and I was in the kitchen from the day before preparing ingredients for the Mee Jawa. Guests came around noon and tasted it. They have never heard of Mee Jawa nor have they ever tasted it but suffice to say, Alhamdulillah, they liked it and before I knew it, the pot was empty to the point of being spotlessly clean.

Unfortunately, the cooking rendezvous stopped when I came back home after graduating. Either Mak cooks or I eat out. Even after marrying B, I seldom cook. I didn't see the point of cooking when there's only the two of us. Weekends would be spent either in Klang or Subang where Mak or Mama would cook up a storm.

When I was pregnant with Zareef, things got from bad to worse. I had terrible all-day sickness and one of the allergies was not being able to stand the smell of cooking. Even the tiniest whiff of frying would see me dousing my head in the toilet bowl. So, it was off to restaurants, stalls, Mak's or Mama's with the condition that they cook in advance prior to my arrival.

I came here when I was 6 months pregnant. By that time, the sickness was over. There were no Mak or Mama to cook for me so I had to cook or else we'd starve to death. So, I cooked. I looked up recipes from the internet. I enquired from friends whenever I was invited to their house for dinner. I was not afraid to ask nor was I afraid to learn. Suddenly I realized that I like cooking. I like to try out dishes. I like seeing B's satisfied face when he tastes my dishes of labor. B is glad to be my guinea pig and taste the good, bad and ugly dishes that I concocted in my kitchen.

Now, I'm proud to say, I've moved from being an amateur to an intermediate borderline expert. In fact, I have this group of friends who meet up ever so often during the week just to learn to cook and taste each other's specialities. Just yesterday I learned to make Pasembor Penang. Fuhhh... terangkat sehh!!!

So to lasses and mommies out there who thinks that they suck at cooking, please do not despair. There is always hope of becoming a cook. A fine example would be me.

ps: here is an excellent site to turn to when you're short of recipes. Tried and tested, they never fail to make me drool. Go on... take a peek at Yummy Recipes from Mommies.