Friday, 28 February 2014

Langkawi Chronicles: Friday Eats!

Somehow or rather the team decided that we were going to have Laksa Johor for lunch and that I will be the designated chef for the day. How do I get myself in these kinds of situation lah?


An assault plan was quickly drafted and ingredients were sought.

Early today we attacked the ingredients with gusto with my 2 lovely and able assistants (who, incidentally were just as guilty, goading me into cooking for them!). About 2 hours later (well, three if you include all the time preparing the ingredients) were all were a bunch of wolves set upon a fresh kill!
Tadaaaaa! Lunch is served!

Chomp! First bite!
What? Who me?
Decisions, decisions!
Hantam sajalah, janji sedap!

Here is my take on the recipe. Amounts are approximation as I did not weigh anything, because this is a modified version of my Mum's famous Laksa Johor that she handed down to me. Besides, 'Ole skool' chefs measure everything by feel!

Mama Norhan's Modified Laksa Johor!

Laksa Johor in yer face!

Main Ingredients
  • 2 kg Fresh white fleshed fish (Tenggiri, Kembung etc)
  • 300 gm Dried ikan bilis (rinsed and soaked in water)
  • 500 gm Fresh whole small shrimp (shells and all)
  • 300 gm Dried shrimp (rinsed and soaked in water)
  • 100 gm Dried white fleshed fish (Kurau or Talang, flesh only)

*Boil all the above separately in water enough to cover the ingredients. Once boiled, carefully separate and remove all fish bones. Stabby fish bones in any Laksa dish is a bad, bad idea! Puree every thing in some of their own boiling liquid. Reserve some of the boiling liquid to thin gravy later, on as needed basis.

Flavouring Ingredients!
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 6 nos large Onions, sliced thinly
  • 6 pips garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 good sized knob of ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 5 tbsp Beef curry powder
  • 4 stalks Lemongrass, or,
  • 2 stalks Torch ginger flower
  • 6 pcs of Asam gelugur slices
  • 1 Handful of Kesum & Selasih leaves (of the stalks, remove before serving)
  • 500 ml Coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp Salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp Pepper, to taste
  • Beansprouts, rinse and drain
  • Cucumber, remove seed core and sliced into thin 4 cm batonnets
  • Daun Kesum (Vietnamese Mint), pick the leaves only
  • Daun Selasih (Thai Basil), pick the leaves only
  • Whole red onions, sliced thinly
  • Salted white radish, soaked to remove excess salt, then diced
  • Calamansi Limes, sliced into 2 and pips removed
  • 1 Packet of Spaghetti (I prefer San-Remo)
*Cook in oiled and salted water to slightly beyond al-dente (Manufacturer's guidelines, plus an additional 3 to 4 minutes). You need it to be slightly overcooked to help the gravy adhere later. Drain in a colander and portion for 10 persons

  • 100 gm shallots, chopped
  • 100 gm red onion, chopped
  • 200 gm red chillies, chopped
  • 50 gm red bird's eye chillies
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 50 gm belacan, dry toasted and crumbled
* Blend all the above into a Sambal Belacan. Add more bird's eye chillies for heat. Make sure it is thick and not too fine.


Heat oil in a large pot and sauté sliced red onions. When soft, add garlic and ginger. Be careful not to burn. Once all have released their aromas and slightly golden, add in the curry powder. Carefully cook out raw flavours. 

Add in puréed cooked fish, salted fish, ikan bilis, shrimp and dried shrimp into the pot and stir well. It will be thick and gloopy. Laksa Johor should be thick. Toss in the Lemon grass/Torch ginger. Stir well occasionally to prevent catching. 

Over time, the gravy will thicken as the puréed ingredients expand and absorb the cooking liquid. Do not be alarmed as this is desired. Just be sure to stir and scrape the pot bottom to prevent scorching. 

Once simmering, add the coconut cream. The addition of the cream will thin the gravy considerably. Continue cooking. If gravy appears too thick for your liking add in some of the reserved boiling liquid (or plain water) to thin. The gravy now will have a yellowish brown colour to it. 

Add in salt and pepper, and adjust to taste. Note that the salted fish, ikan bilis and dried shrimp from the ingredients already carry a lot of salty flavours. Add in the handful of Kesum & Selasih leaves (or the trimmed stalks, if using). Give a good boil and stir once over and remove from heat. Gravy will thicken as it cools. Add in boiled water and reheat to correct consistency. 

To savour, plonk in a portion of pasta in a deep plate (soup plate, to you and me), add about tablespoon each (or more, of course) of the sliced raw onions, bean-sprouts, cucumber batonnets, diced salted white radish, picked Kesum & Selasih leaves, and lime. Pour over about 3 ladles of thick gravy. Add some Sambal Belacan for heat. To have it ole skool style, give a few shakes of Kicap Manis Cap Udang (it must be Habhal's Kicap Cap Udang, NOTHING else will do!). 

Due to the thick gravy, Johoreans eat this dish with their right hand, like any other rice dish. 

Eat to hearts' content.

* This recipe is free to be shared but I expect it to shared forward so many more will get to enjoy Laksa Johor.

The ties that bind!

I recently acquired a new staff to replace another that was about to leave. Did the screening as per usual and ending with an interview session. The kid seemed like a suitable candidate. Correct previous work experience too. The first few days he was sufficiently capable. Then one day he did not turn up for work. When I contacted him, he said he was unwell and on medical leave. He did seem under the weather the few preceding days.

The next day he came back to work and was again in the swing of things, as we were neck deep with a group based handling. When I asked him about his Medical leave documentations, he stated he did not have one. Apparent he was so ill he could not go to the clinic (then why did you tell me you were on MC?). Disciplined him accordingly and let him continue his work.

Then a few days later, he was absent again, the next day as well. On the third day of absence, I contacted him to ask him if he was interested in continuing his employment.  Alas, my calls went unanswered.  Wrote him off as absent without leave and prepared a motion for dismissal due to absence for 3 days.  I also left him voicemails and SMS so that he could respond in case there were mitigating circumstances.

I also contacted his next of kin but they too did not answer my calls or respond to my voicemail/sms. Submitted the motion for dismissal back to HQ and he was let go. On the 4th day of absence, suddenly at 7.30pm, during Maghrib prayer time, his father contacted me appealing for his son’s continued employment with us.

Somehow, the kid and his family got into a tiff and he had not returned home for 2 days. Dad also asked me to, in his own words, to ‘Tarbiah’ the kid when he returns to work, which I understood as give a dressing down on work ethics. He went further to state that the Kid’s brother had been recently thrown out of their home due to ‘Ketegaq’. His voice suggested to me that he seemed proud of doing so, as if it made him an accomplished disciplinarian. He did not know however that I have already filed for his other son’s dismissal.

Reading between the lines, I made the assumption that this staff of mine may have a hard time at home with a peculiar disciplinarian. I texted the kid to come in and present his case to me and we will see how to proceed from there and to collect his pay due.

The kid dropped by 3 days later and after careful questioning (I have my methods); I came to know that his dad had already kicked him out the first day of the tiff. He had gone out with a few friends and slept at their place, waking up really late for work. He had rushed home to get cleaned up and rush to work. In his haste he had been questioned by his mom and dad and some regretful reactions occurred. Being young and hot-headed, he lashed out and unfortunately, so did his dad, throwing him out.

Despite my mind screaming out not to care, my heart pitied that this kid is like a lost lamb.

I probably should not, but I want to give the kid another chance so that by acquiring a job with us, he can prove to his family that he wants to change for the better.

I have a bitter taste in my mouth, as what kind of father would kick out a 19 year old onto the streets like that, along with his 22 year old brother before him. Both kids have not returned home since. What sin would cause a father and mother to do such a drastic move like this?

What happens if your kids fall into even worse kinds of people and start abusing drugs? Or start committing crimes due to hardship? Or they fall ill or get involved in horrible traffic accident? What would your tears mean by then Dad, Mom? There is a host of possible bad things that can happen to young people of there without supervision, care and love. Sure, stay positive and hope no bad thing will occur. I would rather be prepared and be sure.

And the Darwin award goes to......

I am sure there are many more layers to this story than was implied. I still would err on the side of caution.

So, to parents, if you are not ready to become real parents, stop doing the horizontal tango and burdening yourselves with the responsibility and honour of raising a child. The world will be a better place without you breeding and transferring your pathetic notion of a parent’s infallibility to your progeny.

Don’t hide behind the religious duty of procreating and cultivating humanity when you can’t even understand the flawed, yet fundamentally innocent mind of a child.

Buat malu Mak Bapak saja nanti!

I pray to God I don’t do this to my own kids in the future.

Monday, 24 February 2014

BR1M = Bagi Rasuah 1 Malaysia?

At first reading, the twisted 'Bagi Rasuah 1 Malaysia' wordplay on BR1M elicited a snicker from me. But then after a while, I realised what a cruel statement it actually is. 

So you say the Government is bribing those are entitled. Your statement also by default suggest those who receive the BR1M are corrupt and love receiving bribes.

So if you have an Aunt/Uncle, Granny/Atuk, or who ever, or the poor,or a lonely Anak Yatim who is eking out a living in receipt of the financial aid to also be pemakan rasuah? 

Tolonglah orang melayu ku. Jangan lah mulut jahat sangat. Ataupun adakah hati kita dah jadi terlalu hitam hingga semua yg berbeza dari kita layak di hina. 

Kadang kala rasa macam Melayu semakin mundur. 

Ke, sentap kerana permohonan bantuan untuk diri sendiri ditolak? 

Go and stab yourselves in the eye and rid us of your idiocy!

Friday, 21 February 2014

A Friday Passing

A dear friend is lost this morning due to cancer after a long and painful yet ultimately brave fight.

Many months ago when she visited me in Langkawi, she told me to have 'no more tears for her'. It is hard, but I will keep my promise Noora Akma

Find peace and rest girl, you so richly deserve it. 

Inna lillahi wainna ilaihi ra'jiuun.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Langkawi Chronicles: Steamboat Smorgasbord @ The Phoenix Restaurant, City Bayview Langkawi

I will let the pictures do the talking.

This is what happens when hungry hardworking people meet a steamboat buffet. 


What to do while waiting for the stock to boil? Take pictures! Duhhh!
Two guys feigning nonchalance. Padahal lapar tak terhingga!
Rahim starting the buffet run!
The one person allergic to seafood but still joining us for makan!
The ladies table working on the delights.
Kak Pari and Yat. Enjoying their eats.
Kak An and Cik Pah!
Notice how takda makanan her plate is? Amazing right?
Wan Besar & Wan Kecik!
Best buddies Rahim & Salim.
Selepas mengunyah!
Wan Kecik & Zamri (Who we all call Ali!)

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Terkena Aku Mangkuk!

Shite! Dumb luck as it were, I was coerced into karaoke-ing a song for my Resort guests!


Saturday, 8 February 2014

Easy come, easy go.

So I was given a year end bonus recently by my employer. And just like that it had to be used for something else that may not necessarily benefit me directly. Many more will get to enjoy it though, so that can be seen as a positive thing.

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Langkawi Shellfish Hunt

15 months in Langkawi and I finally relented to go to the beach for some fun and frolic (not a beach person lah, what to do!). The gang suggested we go hunting for some shellfish as it was low-tide season.

Morning light
Golden light ablaze! 
Had loads of fun. Our haul was not that much though, as we were largely concentrating on not falling into the water (and laughing aloud at any given opportunity). We hunted for baby octopi, clams, scallops, mussels and some other odd cockles.
I see you!
Much fun!
Ugh, like wtf is that? Probably a seasquirt of some sort.
This phallic looking thing is a sea cucumber!
Fan worm!
Weird cauliflower looking anemone/soft coral!
Sea star
This lil fucker is an anemone!
Sea star part 2!

posted from Bloggeroid